Morning Consult Reports 18% of U.S. Adults Will Bet On The NFL This Season

To say that sports betting is on the rise is a massive understatement. Not only has legislation grown significantly in the past few years, but general awareness of sports betting has also hit the mainstream. It’s not uncommon to watch SportsCenter nowadays and hear the hosts mentioning odds, flashing game lines, or even giving predictions on who will cover the spread. All of this has paved the way for more prominent sports wagering than ever. In fact, a fairly large percentage of U.S. adults are expected to place at least one bet on this year’s football season.

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18% of Adults in the U.S. Will Bet on NFL This Year

According to the research firm Morning Consult, 45.2 million adults will place at least one bet on a pro football game this season. This estimate comes from an online survey conducted by Morning Consult, in which 2,200 adults were asked about their wagering plans in light of the 2021 NFL season. The projected 45.2 million adults represent 18% of the U.S. adult population. Additionally, the total amount of adults planning on betting NFL games is a 36% increase from the 2020 season.

Mobile Betting Is The Key to Growth

The convenience of mobile online sports betting is undoubtedly a factor in this rapid growth. In fact, according to the American Gaming Association (who collaborated with Morning Consult on the online survey), 19.5 million Americans plan to place a bet on sports through online methods this year. If you think that number’s lofty, keep in mind that’s up 73% from 2020. With major sportsbooks like Caesars, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetMGM focusing heavily on their mobile apps and online offerings, placing a bet through your smartphone is now as simple as checking your email.

One interesting side to this overall growth is the decline of bettors seeking out the help of illegal bookies and offshore sites for sports wagers. In fact, the American Gaming Association claims that, while 6.7 million adults in the U.S. are expected to work with a bookie this season, growth has been stagnant.

There’s Plenty of Opportunities to Place a Bet

The 2021 NFL season officially kicks off Thursday night in a matchup featuring the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Dallas Cowboys. Not only is the game notable for being the first of the season, but the September 9th date is also the same day sports betting is officially legalized in Arizona. And one can assume that an entirely new state legalizing sports wagering is only going to contribute to the projected millions of people that will bet on football this year.

Outside of the kickoff game, a lot of marquee matchups are expected to bring in plenty of Week 1 bets. The AFC Champion Kansas City Chiefs host the up-and-coming Cleveland Browns in a game expected to stay within a touchdown. Plus, millions will tune in to check out some of the primetime games on the schedule, such as the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams and the Monday Night Football kickoff between the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.

Anthony Elio is a CU Boulder graduate with a degree in creative writing and advertising. He is the lead Industry Betting Writer at, where he has spent over a year covering industry news in sports betting, casino, and poker.

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