NFL Live Betting Is Still Too Beatable, Says Genius Sports

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Genius Sports

US sportsbooks are still struggling to model NFL live betting, according to Genius Sports.

The data provider hosted an investor day Thursday where it said it would be profitable by 2022.

As part of its forecast, Genius said it would make more money from NFL betting as operator modeling improved.

How the NFL live betting ecosystem works

Genius provides the official NFL data feed to sportsbook operators. Sportsbooks put that feed into their models, which then spit out in-play betting prices.

Genius gets a cut of the revenue from those bets: around 5% of in-play bets and 1.5% of pre-game.

However, US books have been holding just 4% on live NFL bets this season. That compared to Genius’ expectation of around 10% based on other markets.

Slow evolution

Genius chief commercial officer Jack Davidson said ultimately it was a product issue:

“In-play models in other sports like soccer and tennis have been battle-hardened and tested very well over many years. Whereas the NFL is a tough sport for modeling. Operators are finding that harder than other sports. That’s the reality. We have no doubt you’ll see improvement.”

The low hold meant in-play accounted for 25% of NFL betting handle but just 13% of revenue.

Genius said hold would trend toward the 10% mark as the market matured and models were battle-tested. Operators will also add in-play player props and in-play, same-game parlays that could help hold.

Bumpy rookie season for Genius Sports NFL feed

Last year was the first for Genius as the official NFL data provider. Sportsbook execs told LSR the feed improved after a shaky start.

Indeed, Genius is the second company this week to admit it might be vulnerable on in-play NFL betting. 

PointsBet said it could also be picked off as it looked to improve its in-play product.

Genius Sports says it will be profitable next year

As part of the presentation, Genius announced a 2022 financial outlook of approximately $340 million in revenue and $15 million in adjusted EBITDA.

The company saw its stock tank after its last earnings, in part because of concerns around profitability.

The company’s share price was down 3% to $6 on Thursday after the call. The stock is down more than 75% since September 2021.