Online sportsbooks across the country are ready for their busiest time of the year. The stretch from October to January typically sees the highest volume of wagers. March Madness gives a huge boost in the Spring but for sheer sustained volume of sporting action nothing beats the Fall/Winter sports calendar.

As legal sports betting expands and the annual sporting schedule returns to normal, the betting handle records could soon push on to new heights.


An Unusual 2020

This time last year it was a different story. The sports schedule had been turned upside down by various COVID disruptions.

The NHL season came to a climax in September instead of the usual June. The NBA saw its playoffs take place in August through October after an enforced five-month delay in the middle of the regular season.

It meant a nice boost for sportsbooks and betting fans in August and September. It was quite a novelty seeing Stanley Cup finals, baseball playoffs and NBA playoffs taking place at the same time. But it also meant there was an unusual gap in the calendar, particularly in November. For example, the NBA didn’t begin their 2020-21 regular season until around Christmas time – two months later than normal. That left sports fans relying mainly on football throughout October and November of 2020.

This year there should be no such shortage of action through the Fall period.


Jam-Packed October And November

NFL and college football are already in full swing. The baseball playoffs start on October 5th and run through the entire month with the World Series spilling over into early November. The first game of the NBA campaign is on October 19th. And if that weren’t enough, NHL begins regular season play on October 12th.

If October looks fairly full, November will be positively bursting at the seams with games. NFL, NBA, NCAA football and basketball and NHL will all be on the go simultaneously. It’s even possible the World Series will be decided in November depending on whether or not it gets past a Game 5.

Take this glut of sports action and then factor in the expansion of legal sports betting over the past 12 months and you are looking at betting handle records already under threat in October. And November will likely see many of the legal states shatter their previous high-water marks.


New Jersey Leads The Way

Let’s take a look at what that means across some of the states who have been fully active for at least the last 12 months. We start with New Jersey which is consistently the leading state for legal sports betting.

In October of 2020, New Jersey operators processed a total of $803 million in legal sports wagers. In November, that figure rose to $931 million. Subsequently, the current record was set in December when NJ came just shy of the magical $1 billion mark with a total handle of $996 million.

The upwards trend continued into the new year in other established legal states. Next door neighbor Pennsylvania set its own record in January 2021 with a total of $615 million. Indiana peaked with $348 million handle in that same month. The story was similar in Colorado where January 2021 saw $327 million worth of bets placed.


Bumper End To 2021

But this year could see those numbers hit earlier as the US sports calendar returns to normal. There is also the addition of Michigan, Virginia, Arizona and Wyoming to the legal online betting party.

Bear in mind, it takes a few weeks after the month ends before each state reports the handle figures.

But when the numbers do come in you can expect new ground to be broken in US legal sports betting volume this Fall. October promises to be a big month but November could see previous highs shattered completely.