In the wake of the US Supreme Court decision that tossed out the federal ban on sports betting, states have been scrambling to legalize sports wagering. The nascent industry has quickly moved from the drawing board to the real deal, with sportsbooks accepting bets on everything from the first touchdown scored to which team will win a game — as long as the activity is legal in your state. But one of the most significant challenges facing the industry is the issue of official data. The leagues are pushing for a requirement that operators use official data for certain types of bets, which they argue is necessary to protect the integrity of their games. But there is a growing consensus that these mandates are not in the best interests of sports bettors.
A look at the current landscape of official betting data
In their initial public stances against legal sports betting, the major US sports leagues warned that a massive expansion of legalized sports wagering would lead to more attempts to fix games for gambling purposes. While there is no evidence that the leagues have uncovered any fixing attempts, they fear that legalized sports betting will create incentives for people to try to rig events in order to make money on them. They argued that they needed to control the flow of data in order to prevent these distortions.
The NBA, MLB and NHL have taken the lead among the major sports leagues in forging commercial data deals with distribution partners like Sportradar. Each of these major sports has a separate contract with Sportradar, and some have also struck partnerships with Genius Sports, another leading real-time data provider. These relationships will likely continue to expand alongside the demand for legal sports betting, as the major US sports leagues seek to monetize their data for the first time in a new era of legalized sports gambling.
These new data arrangements will allow for side-by-side comparisons of official and unofficial data. Sources within the sports betting industry suggest that the initial terms being offered by the leagues are not commercially reasonable, but there is no precedent on which to judge what those rates should be. The leagues are reportedly asking for a rate of about 0.2% of total handle, which is much higher than the fees paid by Nevada during its decades of sports betting.
Sports betting odds for the NFL playoffs
The NFL has a unique opportunity to capitalize on its brand in its debut season in legalized sports betting, with an innovative playoff system that creates a bracketed path for two teams to meet in the Super Bowl. This structure opens the door for a unique once-a-year betting market, and offers an intriguing alternative to traditional futures bets. The key to making a successful lay bet during the NFL playoffs is having access to reliable data and understanding how betting lines are calculated. A good place to start is by looking at the underlying statistics of each team, as well as the matchups on which you’re placing your bets.