It’s now been a year since the state of Tennessee started allowing legal sports betting. Since then, bettors have taken full advantage of their new favorite pastime. Online bookmakers like DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars have seen handle figures beyond their most optimistic projections. To say that sports betting in the state has been a smashing success would be nothing short of an understatement.

If there is any doubt about this, here are some recent numbers reported by the Tennessee Education Lottery and Sports Wagering Advisory Council.

In September of 2021, Tennessee sports bettors pushed $257.3 million in bets through online bookmakers. That’s an amazing increase of 78.1% from the $144.5 million reported for August of 2021. For comparison, Tennessee reported just over $131 million in handle back in November of 2020, the first month of the state’s sports betting operations.

That September sports betting handle of $257.3 million represented new territory for the Volunteer State. With a hold rate (sports betting gross revenue) of just under 10%, the state’s tax coffers are getting a significant boost.


Betting Handle Record Smashed Again

Clearly, these numbers were driven by September’s bustling sports calendar. It was the first month that TN sports bettors had access to a full slate of NFL and college football games. It showed how much Tennessee sports bettors are willing to back their Tennessee Volunteers/Memphis Tigers (college football) and Tennessee Titans (NFL).

The October numbers only further hammered home this point.

Tennessee sports bettors wagered a whopping $375.3 million in October of 2021. College football and NFL were in full swing and towards the end of the month NBA action started. The Memphis Grizzlies definitely bring some extra interest for basketball fans in Tennessee. However, the biggest contributing factor for loyal fans of their local teams would have to be the hot start of the Tennessee Titans.


NFL Drives Betting Action

In the sports betting industry in the US, as goes the NFL, so goes sports betting revenue. NFL games are the dominant force in driving the legal wagering market by a solid percentage.

For Tennessee’s online sportsbooks, the early success of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans has been a boon. With 10 weeks of the season already in the books, the Titans are tied with the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals for the league’s best record at 8-2. And the success of the Titans is music to the ears of both the state’s online sportsbooks and bettors. The latter are flocking to the apps in record numbers each week to make their bets.

The Titans currently have a three game lead in the AFC South division over the Indianapolis Colts (5-5). With the Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans already out of contention, that leaves the Titans tantalizingly close to clinching the division title and their confirmed place in the playoffs. Caesars Sportsbook currently lists the Titans at -10,000 to win the AFC South and +500 to win the AFC Conference. That of course would mean a trip to the Super Bowl.


Titans Recent Consistency

This early success comes as no surprise. After four straight seasons at 9-7 (2016-2019), the Titans had a breakthrough last year. They ended up winning the South Division with a record of 11-5. Unfortunately that’s as good as it got. They went on to lose to the Baltimore Ravens in an AFC Wildcard Game.

Consequently, it was clear the Titans could be a force to be reckoned with heading into the 2021 season. Oddsmakers pegged the Titans as Super Bowl winners at approximately +3000 to open the season. That number that has since dropped to around +1000, depending on the online bookmaker.

Of the team’s remaining 7 games, only 2 are against teams with a winning record. The two are the New England Patriots at 6-4 and the Pittsburgh Steelers at 5-3-1. Furthermore, as winners of 6 straight games heading into week #11, Titans fans and sports bettors can start thinking ahead to a playoff run.


Sports Betting Popularity

In an interesting twist, the Titans are actually a difficult team to handicap. Other than RB Derrick Henry’s 927 yards rushing and 10 TDs through the first 8 games, no one else has really stepped up to capture headlines. To complicate things further, Henry is out for the season with a right ankle injury that required surgery. In response to his absence, the Titans promptly went out and beat a good Los Angeles Rams team on the road 28-36. They then followed up with a home win over the New Orleans Saints 23-21.

The sports betting story in Tennessee is becoming a common one. States that have high profile sports teams are seeing tremendous betting support among residents. With New York online sports betting expected to kick off around Super Bowl time, we will get further evidence of just how much US residents have longed for the right to legally wager on sports in their home states.

Further down the road, when the likes of Florida, Texas and California join the sports betting community, this pattern may well be repeated on an exponential level.