September Football Hold Setting Up Well for Books, Says Analyst

Posted on: September 20, 2022, 01:35h. 

Last updated on: September 21, 2022, 02:24h.

September football hold for sportsbook operators is setting up nicely, with upsets predictably playing a big part in that equation.

September hold
A FanDuel sportsbook in Maryland, seen above. September trends look encouraging for operators. (Image: Maryland Matters)

In sports wagering, “hold” refers to what sportsbook operators keep as a percentage of every dollar bet. In simple terms, it’s what the gaming companies have left over after all winning tickets are paid.

In a note to clients, Macquarie analyst Chad Beynon forecast a hold of 8.6% for the week of action ending Sunday, Sept. 18. That estimate includes a projected hold of 14% from NFL games and -1% from week three of college football. The research firm’s model cuts off on Sunday, so Monday Night Football is always counted on the following week.

“Month-to-date, we estimate football hold is now tracking at 10%, which implies a football hold of 8.9% for the entire month of September assuming average hold of 7% in the final week of the month,” wrote Beynon.

September Hold Looking Strong

Beynon said September hold for New York is on an encouraging pace, which is relevant to gaming companies and investors alike due to that market’s heft and burdensome taxes on sports betting.

The Macquarie analyst noted New York reported overall sports betting hold of 10% for the week ending September 11, implying a football hold of 12%. Using that week as a template, the Macquarie model projects a total week hold for the week ending September 18 of 8%.

“Month-to-date, we estimate total sports betting hold is now tracking at 9%, which implies total sports betting hold of 8.3% for the entire month of September, assuming normal hold of 7% in the final week of the month. Put differently, we currently estimate sports betting GGR should come in 130bps above the long-term average of 7% for the month of September,” noted the analyst.

The Macquarie model assumes that when no underdogs win outright in a week, sportsbook operators won’t be profitable in that span. If one or two dogs win in that week, the average hold should be about 7%, and if three to five or more moneyline upsets occur, the hold will be above average.

While four of the five biggest NFL underdogs lost last week, sportsbook operators likely received support from the Denver Broncos not covering the spread and the Cleveland Browns blowing a lead against the New York Jets in a historically bad fashion.

September Hold Trends Could Be Positive for Stocks

After enduring more than seven months of dismal performances, sports betting equities showed signs of life in advance of the 2022 football season. The aforementioned hold trends indicate that momentum could continue.

Since Aug 1 of this year, the US online group has outperformed the S&P 500 by 11% as we entered high season. We expect a more rational promo environment and better net gaming revenue/ gross gaming revenue (NGR/GGR) ratios to be the next catalyst for the group,” observed Beynon.

He has “outperform” ratings on Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ: CZR), DraftKings (NASDAQ: DKNG), MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), Penn Entertainment (NASDAQ: PENN), and Rush Street Interactive (NYSE: RSI).