These Are The NFL Teams Americans Bet On The Most

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Photo: David Fulmer via Flickr

The sports gambling business— legal and illegal — is worth several hundred billion dollars worldwide. Of that, only $2.6 billion is wagered legitimately in the U.S. through the sports desks at Las Vegas casinos. According to 24/7 Wall St. research, most of the bets are placed on just 22 of the 122 teams in the four major leagues.

Click here to see the NFL teams >
The NFL seems to be the gamblers’ favourite, with 65% of the total $2.6 billion bet on football teams, according to data gathered by 24/7 Wall St. as well as interviews conducted with people in the sports gambling industry. Most of the balance goes to wagers on college football and teams in the MLB, NHL, and NBA.

The amount and number of these bets is a closely kept secret. Even the Nevada State Gaming Control Board, which regulates betting in the state, has only partial figures on major league sports gambling. 24/7 Wall St interviewed regulators, casino sports desk management, and people in the online bookmaking and Internet gambling businessesto find out which professional teams drew the most gambling action in the last full season of the four major leagues. Jay Rood, VP of Race and Sports at the MGM Resorts Intl, was a particularly helpful source.

Football betting action is bigger than the three other sports combined for several reasons. First, many of the league’s games are nationally televised. Second, the Super Bowl is broadcast around the world and was seen by 109 million U.S. viewers last year. The event draws nearly $100 million in legal bets through Las Vegas alone. Football is also a larger sport financially than the others based on ticket pricesand television contracts. Finally, a number of teams, such as the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and New England Patriots, have significant national fan bases.

The four major leagues have 122 teams among them. Sporting desk managers define gambling action based on the total volume of bets made for or against any given team. They do not track illegal sports gambling and there are no reasonable estimates of illegal betting amounts. 24/7 was able to compile a list of the major league teams Americans bet on most: five NFL teams, five NBA teams, six NHL teams and six MLB teams.

24/7 Wall St. also wanted to see if there is a correlation between the level of betting on a team and any other statistics about the organisation. Betting action was most correlated with team valuations, which came from Forbes, win-loss records, and attendance trends, which came from the leagues and each of the teams. The teams that draw the most gambling are, in almost all cases, organisations that have high revenue within their sports, teams with decade-long track records of winning, and, in some cases, several years of improvements in attendance.

Most of the teams that have highest betting activity are iconic organisations. The New York Yankees are at the top of the baseball list. The Los Angeles Lakers, and the Minneapolis Lakers, have the most impressive championship record in the NBA. Tradition and excellence, it seems, even extend to the interests of gamblers.

Check out the top teams for other sports:

  • The Five NFL Teams Americans Bet On The Most
  • The Six NBA Teams Americans Bet On The Most
  • The Six MLB Teams Americans Bet On The Most
  • The Five NHL Teams Americans Bet On The Most

Click here to see the NFL teams >
This post originally appeared on 24/7 Wall St.

5. Oakland Raiders

> Team value: #31
> Attendance 2010: 371,448 (the lowest)
> Pct. change attendance 2001 -- 2010: -21.32% (3rd biggest decline)
> W-L Last 10 Years: 58-102-0 (2nd worst)

Oakland is among the most storied franchises in the NFL. For nearly its entire history, the team had been either coached or owned and managed by Al Davis, who recently passed away. John Madden also coached the team for a decade. The team is the only NFL franchise to play in Super Bowls in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. More recently, the team has fallen on hard times, posting the second-worst record in the NFL between 2000 and 2010, behind only the Detroit Lions. The team has not had a season above .500 since 2002. Nevertheless, because of its history, it remains one of the most popular teams to bet on in football.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

4. Green Bay Packers

> Team value: #9
> Attendance 2010: 566,362 (9th highest)
> Pct. change attendance 2001 -- 2010: +18.38% (5th biggest increase)
> W-L Last 10 Years: 96-64-0 (5th best)

The Green Bay Packers play in a smaller market than most NFL teams, but the team is one of the most popular sports franchises in history. Legendary coach Vince Lombardi won the first two Super Bowls with the team, and the Pack has played in three more since, winning two, including last year's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Future Hall of Famer Brett Favre was quarterback and leader of the team for 17 years. When he left in 2008 many thought some of the wind would be taken out of the team's sails. Instead, after one shaky year, QB Aaron Rodgers has led the team to consecutive highly successful seasons, and the team is currently the only undefeated franchise left in the NFL. Between 2000 and 2010, Green Bay had the fifth best record in the NFL.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

> Team value: #13
> Attendance 2010: 504,669 (12th lowest)
> Pct. change attendance 2001 -- 2010: +1.1% (15th biggest increase)
> W-L Last 10 Years: 106-53-1 (3rd best)

The Pittsburgh Steelers have won six Super Bowls -- the most in the NFL. They have competed in eight, just one less than Dallas. Pittsburgh won four of those in the six-year period in the 1970s under Terry Bradshaw, and has been highly successful in the past decade, winning two more under Ben Roethlisberger in 2005 and 2008. The team had the third best record over the last 10 full seasons, winning roughly two games for every one it has lost.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

2. Dallas Cowboys

> Team value: #1
> Attendance 2010: 696,377 (the highest)
> Pct. change attendance 2001 -- 2010: +37.76% (the biggest increase)
> W-L Last 10 Years: 83-77-0 (14th best)

Since the late 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys have been known as America's Team. Dallas won two Super Bowls in the 70s and three in the 1990s under Hall of Famer QB Troy Aikman. The team had a poor season last year, going 6 and 10. Nevertheless, it has managed to be the subject of more bets than all but one other NFL team.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

1. New England Patriots

> Team value: #3
> Attendance 2010: 550,048 (13th highest)
> Pct. change attendance 2001 -- 2010: +14.04% (6th biggest increase)
> W-L Last 10 Years: 121-39-0 (the best)

The New England Patriots joined the league in 1970, and while they have not had the historical success of teams like Green Bay, Dallas, and Pittsburgh, they are now one of the NFL's most dominant teams. Under star quarterback Tom Brady, the team won three Super Bowls in four years between 2001 and 2004, and lost one in 2007 to the New York Giants after a perfect season and playoffs, going 18-1. The team had the best record in football last year, and recorded the best winning percentage over the last decade, losing just 39 times in 160 games.

Source: 24/7 Wall St.

Check out the top teams for the MLB, NBA, NHL.

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