With the 2019 NFL season about to kick-off, Redzone.bet’s Co-Founder Stephen Baumohl tells SBC how taking a very different approach to the sport from other UK operators has proved successful.
An avid fan of the sport, he also names his rising stars to watch and offers his predictions for the new campaign, which opens with Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears on 5 September.
SBC: How big a part of Redzone.bet’s business are the NFL and the Big Four US sports in general, and why have you chosen to focus on them?
Stephen Baumohl: We have set ourselves up as American sports specialists which means we want to offer the sort of service on these sports that is usually enjoyed by the bigger sports such as soccer, racing and tennis. We have felt for a while that American sports are hugely popular in the UK and Ireland and continuing to grow, yet are generally given poor treatment by bookmakers here.
We want to fill that gap by doing our own pricing, having bigger limits, taking small margins and putting up more markets than other bookmakers, and so far we have been very happy with the results.
NFL accounted for roughly half of all turnover during the 2018 NFL season and was more than twice the turnover of soccer during that same time, so it is a huge part of our business and we feel there is even more to come. The other major US sports do not come close to NFL in terms of turnover, but they still make an important impact on the business and are also on an upward trajectory.
SBC: What NFL markets do Redzone.bet offer and which are the most popular with UK punters?
SB: We want to offer interesting markets that clients can have opinions on; offering numerous versions of the same boring derivative is very off-putting, in our opinion, and that space can be used much more efficiently.
We slightly break the mould of modern bookmakers in that we compile our own odds for US sports rather than taking an odds ‘feed’, but this allows us to create markets that we know are popular and different.
One area that has seen huge growth is betting on players and last season player markets attracted almost 50% of total bets on NFL. We offer player yardages and touchdowns for almost all the skill position players in every game and many unique player specials. We also have our request a bet service, ‘Yourzone’, which is generally full of requests for slightly more unusual player propositions.
SBC: What makes NFL such an interesting event to bet on?
SB: There are a number of reasons that make NFL the best sport in the world for betting, beginning with the nature of the sport itself which is, more often than not, incredibly exciting. With possession of the ball meaning so much, each play is important as you are cheering for small victories such as a first down or a defensive stop. There is very little dead time.
The stop-start nature of the game allows time for opinions to form and bets to be placed in play, while the ‘chess match’ type strategy of the coaches means that the gameplan is often changing and a comeback is rarely ruled out. The myriad of widely accessible statistics makes it easy to research and make assessments, and the popularity of fantasy games means that people are already familiar with the players and their expected production.
SBC: What would represent a bad NFL season for bookmakers?
SB: From our point of view, any Super Bowl with New England involved is a bad result. It must be pure stubbornness that we refuse to believe that Tom Brady can keep competing at the level that he does, and we always build a sizeable position against them.
For this season, the most backed teams are Cleveland, Philadelphia and San Francisco while hugely popular teams such as Kansas and the Rams will be costly every time they beat the handicap.
SBC: You’ve attended some NFL training camps this summer, have you spotted any exciting new players for fans to look out for this season?
Most people who follow the sport won’t need me to tell them that Kyler Murray is going to be very exciting to watch, but seeing him run this offense in camp was pretty spectacular. Whether the Cardinals are a good team or not, he will certainly put up some fun highlights.
On the other side of the ball, New England look like they have found a great defensive prospect in Chase Winovich who has been absolutely tearing it up in camp and preseason games, and looks likely to spend the year terrorising quarterbacks.
Stephen Baumohl’s 2019 NFL season predictions
Super Bowl LIV participants: Dallas v LA Chargers
AFC East: New England
AFC West: LA Chargers
AFC North: Pittsburgh
AFC South: Jacksonville
NFC East: Dallas
NFC West: LA Rams
NFC North: Green Bay
NFC South: New Orleans
Most regular season passing yards: Patrick Mahomes
Most regular season passing touchdowns: Patrick Mahomes
Most regular season rushing yards: Nick Chubb
Most regular season rushing touchdowns: Saquon Barkley
Most regular season receiving touchdowns: Davante Adams