Sports betting’s autumn landscape changed dramatically Tuesday as the Big Ten and Pac-12 postponed their fall sports seasons. As the decisions were announced mid-afternoon, sportsbook operators largely took down College Football Championship future odds.
NCAA football is the fourth-most popular sport to bet on, behind the NFL, NBA and MLB, according to HPL Sport. Gambling.com Vice President of U.S. Business Max Bichsel said at least $1 billion in bets could be lost without college football across the top four legalized markets: Indiana, New Jersey, Nevada and Pennsylvania. Those four markets brought in more than $4 billion in the last four months of 2019.
Sportsbooks were hoping for a full slate of college football and NFL games to return to pre-pandemic betting levels and help make up for inactivity during the sports shutdown. An absence of college football wouldn’t necessarily be a death knell, however, as Bischel said pent-up demand could lead to record-breaking NFL numbers.