How a Hot Streak for NFL Favorites Led to Sportsbook Revenue Declines

A small set of NFL games were key in the US legal sports betting industry posting a poultry paltry revenue total in November.

According to the Gaming Today sports betting revenue tracker, $871,244,015 was generated by legal sportsbooks in the United States during the month, down 29% from October. In November, a national-record $13,479,237,954 was wagered in these legal sportsbooks, up from $12,802,131,373 in October.

Revenue reports for all states with legal sports betting are not yet available for December, but revenue is well on pace to rebound.

It was a turkey of a month for several sportsbooks, with DraftKings and FanDuel executives noting the NFL’s impact in Q4 earnings reports. As usual, the good and bad times had everything to do with NFL betting.

Jefferies investment analysts noted in an investor analysis that negative hold weekends in mid-November likely cost DraftKings around $100 million. Despite the expected December recovery, Jefferies lowered its Q4 DraftKings revenue estimate to $1.15 billion.

National market share leader FanDuel wasn’t immune. The US revenues for FanDuel parent company Flutter took a $343 million November hit, but revenues still grew by 19%, partly CEO Peter Jackson said, because of parlays.

“I think Q4 was a good reminder for us that sports margins can be both very positive and negative,” Jackson told investors.

November 2023 sports betting revenue drops

Weeks 11 and 12 of the NFL Season the Culprit

While one sportsbook director attributed the November wane to the “ebb and flow” of a season, several games in particular during Weeks 11 and 12 had major impacts by drawing copious wagers on heavy favorites who covered.

NFL Week 11

  • Nov. 19 – Dallas 33, Carolina 10: The Cowboys (then 6-3) covered as 11-point favorites, dropping the Panthers to 1-9. The Over of 43 was a push.
  • Nov. 19 – Jacksonville 34, Tennessee 14: The home-standing Jaguars entered at 6-3 as -6.5-point favorites and easily dropped the Will Levis-led Titans to 3-7. The Over of 40 was reached easily.
  • Nov. 19 – Buffalo 32, Jets 6: The Bills rolled back to .500 at 6-6, covering a -7.5-point line. The total missed by a point.

NFL Week 11 impact: 11 of 14 favorites won.

NFL Week 12

  • Nov. 26 – Los Angeles Rams 37, Arizona 14: About to become a red-hot darling, the Rams improved to 5-6 as a -2.5-point favorite over the woeful Cardinals. The Rams almost brought in the Over total of 45 by themselves.
  • Nov. 26 – Denver 29, Cleveland 12: Winning their fifth in a row, the Broncos won as 1-point favorites at home and the Over of 37 hit.

NFL Week 12 impact:  12 of 16 favorites won.

Nationally, the hold percentage slumped to 6.5% in November, well below its 9.1% for the first 11 months of 2023.

Some other games that worked out well for sportsbooks in November:

At Tipico:

  • Nov. 13: The Broncos beating the Bills, 24-22, and the Packers beating the Lions, 29-22 on Nov. 23 were, according to a spokesperson “both upset victories where around 70% of the handle in the money line and spread markets were on the favorites (Lions and Bills).”
  • Also in November, Eagles-Chiefs, Broncos-Bills, Steelers-Bengals came in under, which worked out for bettors.
About the Author
Brant James

Brant James

Senior Writer
Brant James is a senior writer who covers the sports betting industry and legislation at Gaming Today. An alum of the Tampa Bay Times, ESPN.com, espnW, SI.com, and USA Today, he's covered motorsports and the NHL as beats. He also once made a tail-hook landing on an aircraft carrier with Dale Earnhardt Jr. and rode to the top of Mt. Washington with Travis Pastrana. John Tortorella has yelled at him numerous times.

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