College Football: The New King of Sports Betting?

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 2, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 2, 2017 1:26 PM UTC

The NFL has been America’s top sports betting option for years, but over the past few weeks more people have been making college football picks instead. Is this real life?

Dave Tuley knows a thing or two about sports betting. So when the man behind View from Vegas reported last week that college football has started outstripping the NFL in terms of handle, you could almost feel the earth move. The NFL has been the King of Sports Betting for so many years, it’s hard to imagine anything else, but Tuley dug deep, peeled back the layers and found that college football has generated more action for the past three consecutive weeks at the South Point Hotel sportsbook. If it’s happening there, it’s probably happening everywhere.

It was inevitable. Profit margins on the NFL odds board have gotten very small over the years, but there are much larger forces at work here. Forces like Donald Trump and Colin Kaepernick. NFL ratings are down five percent from last year – which is actually good news compared to the rest of the television landscape. College football might not be pulling in the same number of eyeballs per game, but with so many games being broadcast now, football fans are gradually making the shift from Sunday to Saturday.

On the Turning Away

It’s not just college football that’s benefiting from the NFL’s troubles. For the second straight year, handle is up for the World Series; Game 5 absolutely crushed Sunday Night Football in the TV ratings, too. Even the NHL is putting a dent in the Shield, thanks in large part to the arrival of the Vegas Golden Knights.

But there’s something specific about all these people making college football picks instead of betting on the NFL. They’re not just turning away from pro football at the behest of Trump; they’re flocking to a business that is literally taking over college campuses across America. There have been almost no flag-related protests of note, or any civil rights action, because these “student-athletes” have almost no power. They’re indentured servants. Many other people are benefiting from their labor, including fans, broadcasters and sports bettors. This is where the profit margin is now. And it’s only going to keep steamrolling from here – until someone important enough finally takes a knee.

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