7 Sports Betting Stocks Worth a Gamble as Football Season Kicks Off

Stocks to buy

With the 2023 NFL season underway, sports bets are surging. In fact, according to the Associated Press, GeoComply Solutions — used to verify a customer’s location — said it recorded 242.3 million geolocation transactions from legal U.S. sportsbooks. That’s a 56% jump year-over-year, and numbers are only expected to soar. That should be great news for these top seven sports betting stocks.

“The data records the amount of times the company was called on to verify a customer’s location. It is considered a good indicator for at least a minimum level of sports betting activity, more than 80% of which is done online in the U.S.,” added the AP. In addition, “over 1.1 million new player accounts were created in the first week of this year’s NFL season, an increase of over 40% from the same period a year ago.”

And that’s just week one.

As noted by the American Gaming Association, 73.5 million Americans plan to bet on the 2023 season — up from about 46 million last year. The best part: As the NFL betting excitement builds, these sports betting stocks should thrive.

Sports Betting Stocks: DraftKings (DKNG)

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The last time I mentioned DraftKings (NASDAQ:DKNG), it traded at around $27 on Aug. 17. It’s now up to $31, and if it can break above resistance around $34, it could run to $40. Also, as I noted on Aug. 17, CEO Jason Robins noted this is the “most important time of year for us…This is when we acquire the most customers when we have the biggest opportunity to gain more market share, and when we generate the most revenue and the most EBITDA.” Barclays likes the DKNG stock here, raising its price target to $32 from $30 a share.

Helping, in August, Truist analyst Barry Jonas upgraded the DKNG stock to a Buy rating with a $44 price target. The analyst cited DKNG’s second-quarter numbers and raised guidance for the hike. In fact, the company posted a positive EBITDA of $73 million, which beat analyst estimates of $20.6 million. It was also a sizable jump from the $118 million EBITDA loss posted a year earlier.

Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (BETZ)

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On Aug. 17, I also mentioned Roundhill Sports Betting & iGaming ETF (NYSEARCA:BETZ) because it allows for strong diversification at a low cost. At the time, BETZ traded at around $17. It hit a high of $17.63 and pulled back to $17.25, where it again found strong support.

With an expense ratio of 0.75%, it holds a position in DraftKings, Flutter Entertainment (OTCMKTS:PDYPY), MGM Resorts (NYSE:MGM), and Penn Entertainment (NASDAQ:PENN). Also, given the numbers already generated by betting companies, I’d like to eventually see BETZ run back to $19 a share.

Sports Betting Stocks: Penn Entertainment (PENN)

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After a dismal pullback, Penn Entertainment is showing big signs of life. In fact, on Thursday, the stock jumped about $1.90 a share on a volume spike to over 8 million shares, as compared to a daily average volume of a little more than 5 million. All after Deutsche Bank put out a short-term Buy rating on PENN, with a $29 price target.

Analyst Carlo Santarelli said, “Over the near term, we believe a catalyst stack of events, coupled with an inexpensive valuation, relatively elevated short interest and limited investor interest on the long side, create a favorable setup for shares.”

Helping, Penn Entertainment’s ESPN BET will launch in November. The rebrand will include a mobile app, site and retail locations. With earnings, the company recently reported revenues of $1.67 billion — a 2.9% year-over-year improvement. It also posted a net income of $78.1 million and a net income margin of 4.7%. A year earlier, net income came in at $26.1 million with a net income margin of just 1.6%.

Gambling.com Group (GAMB)

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Gambling.com Group (NASDAQ:GAMB) has been just as hot. Since June, GAMB popped from a low of about $9.50 to a recent high of $14.83. Helping, Jefferies recently raised its price target to $18 from $15. B. Riley raised its target to $17 from $14. Truist raised its target to $17 from $14. And Craig-Hallum raised to $18 from $15. Even better, the company crushed earnings.

Revenues soared 63% to $25.97 million. North American revenue was up 115% to $13.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was up 161% to $9.42 million. And new customer counts jumped 60% year over year to 91,000. Then GAMB raised its full-year revenue guidance to between $100 million and $104 million and said it expects to see adjusted EBITDA between $36 million and $40 million.

Sports Betting Stocks: VanEck Gaming ETF (BJK)

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Another hot gaming ETF to consider is the VanEck Gaming ETF (NASDAQ:BJK), which tracks companies involved in casinos and hotels, sports betting, lottery services, gaming services and gaming technology. With an expense ratio of 0.65%, some of its top holdings include Flutter Entertainment, Vici Properties (NYSE:VICI), Las Vegas Sands (NYSE:LVS), DraftKings, and Wynn Resorts (NASDAQ:WYNN).

After a recent pullback to double-bottom support at around $42, the BJK ETF is starting to pivot higher. Based on current NFL gambling numbers and solid momentum, I’d like to see the ETF again challenge its prior high of $47.50 shortly.

Flutter Entertainment (PDYPY)

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Or, take a look at Flutter Entertainment, which is just starting to pivot from around $87 a share. Now, if it can break above prior resistance around $92, the stock could potentially retest $100 shortly. Even better, Flutter’s FanDuel has a 50% stake in the U.S. sports betting market, according to Action Network, after holding a 42% share in September.

In addition, the company swung to a profit in the first half of the year as its U.S. business reached profitability. As noted by Morningstar, “Pretax profit for the half year ended June 30 was 82.7 million pounds ($105.4 million) compared with a loss of GBP51.4 million for the comparable period last year.”

MGM Resorts (MGM)

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There’s also MGM Resorts, which recently found strong support at $41.58 a share. Helping, its sports betting revenue hit $944 million during the first six months of the year and could head to $2 billion for the full year.

Also, in its most recent earnings report, the company’s EPS jumped to 59 cents from 4 cents the previous year. BetMGM saw first-quarter net gaming income jump $467 million. It did achieve positive EBITDA in the second quarter and anticipates second-half profitability.

As noted by Bill Hornbuckle, CEO and president of MGM Resorts, “We are encouraged by the pacing of both Formula 1 and the Super Bowl and the announced relocation of the A’s, which will further solidify Las Vegas as the sports and entertainment capital of the world.”

On the date of publication, Ian Cooper did not hold (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.

Ian Cooper, a contributor to InvestorPlace.com, has been analyzing stocks and options for web-based advisories since 1999.

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