New NFL start times a blessing to bettors and books
For such an anti-gambling league, the NFL is sure doing sports bettors a solid with their recent decision to bump the start of the second game of doubleheaders ahead 10 minutes.
The NFL announced Thursday that the second game of doubleheaders featured on CBS or FOX will have their start times changed from 4:15 p.m. ET to 4:25 p.m. ET - a world of difference for anyone who has ever stood in line to place a bet and watched the clock tick down to kickoff.
The move is to prevent games from running into each other and fans missing the end of a close contest because the late-afternoon tilt began. However, for NFL bettors, it’s an extra 10 minutes to cash your bets and get down on the second slice of Sunday’s action.
“It’s never a bad thing to have more time,” Jimmy Vaccaro, oddsmaker for Lucky’s Sports and Race Book, told Covers. “With the adrenaline that’s in the audience, every once in a while you have someone that’s waiting on an overtime to cash a ticket. You would miss out on that. Now they have 10 more minutes to cash it, have a beer with their buddy and bet the other game.”
Vaccaro says the extra 10 minutes won’t have a huge impact on the overall handle for NFL Sundays, but did estimate a one or two percent increase because bettors will be able to cash a winner on the early game and get down on the late afternoon action.
Bert Osborne, sportsbook manager at South Point, agrees that the extra 10 minutes will take the pressure off bettors and books, especially with those long lines between afternoon contests.
“It’ll help, but how much I don’t know,” Osborne told Covers. “It’ll take a couple weeks, and we’ll compare to last year’s numbers to find out how much. But it’s going to help, that’s for sure.”
According to the Associated Press, 44 games have overlapped since the 2009 season, splitting the national audience. Under the new 4:25 p.m. ET kickoff time, that number would have been reduced to 15.
Late games not on the networks’ doubleheader will kick off at 4:05 p.m. ET.