NFL Betting in Michigan

In many ways, the NFL has taken the mantle of America’s Game away from baseball, given that it is the most-watched sport, as well as the sport most bet on. But before you go and put down any money on the NFL, be sure to read our guide so you are fully prepared.

About the odds

If you aren’t sure exactly what these odds mean, let’s break it down. 

For the spread (the more common system), the team with the minus is predicted to win by that many points.  So if the Bengals are playing the Browns, the spread might be Bengals (-4.5).  If you believe the Bengals will win by 5 points or more, bet on them.  If you believe the Browns will win, or that they will only lose by 4 points or less, pick the Browns.

The other most common way to bet on the NFL is called moneyline betting.  In that case, you are simply choosing the winner of the game. For moneyline betting, if there is a positive number next to the team, that is the amount of money you would win if you bet $100 on that team.  If the number is negative, that is how much you have to bet to win $100.

A real-life example may help clarify. For the 2020 AFC Championship game, the moneyline odds were Bills (+150), Chiefs (-178).  So if you were to bet $100 on the Bills, and they won, you would get back $250, a $150 profit.  If you bet $200, you would get back $500, a $300 profit, etc.  If you picked the Chiefs, you would bet $178.  If they won, you would receive back $278, a profit of $100.

One other type of NFL betting is called futures betting. In this type of betting, you are predicting the outcome of a season, not one particular game.  For example, before the season begins, you can pick the team that you believe will win the Super Bowl.  The payout structure is the same as moneyline betting.

Please realize that odds for games are constantly in flux. If a large percentage of the public bets for one team, the oddsmakers will realize that the current number isn’t enticing enough to encourage relatively even betting, and the odds will change. Also, breaking news (e.g. a major injury) can change the odds.

Also, know that different sportsbooks may offer different odds.  So it is helpful to look at different ones to determine where you want to place your bet.

How to sign up and bet on NFL in Michigan

As of December 20, 2019, NFL betting is legal in Michigan. In order to take part in the fun, you simply need to be physically located within the state’s boundaries while accessing the betting sites. Then, follow the steps below.

Sign up

First, you have to sign up on the site you want to use. The questions are pretty standard, where you will generally be asked for your name, birthdate, email, etc. Most sites will ask you to verify your email or phone number.

Make a deposit

Next, you need to make a deposit to your account. Sites will have a minimum amount for your deposit, usually ranging from $5-$20. Many sites will also offer a bonus where they will match your first deposit. At times, you will need a promo code in order to get the bonus, but these codes are readily available.

Fill the Bet Slip

At this point, you need to make your bet. Click through the website (or use the search tool) to find the game or league you are hoping to bet on. Click on the bet you are hoping to make and choose the money amount you are betting. When you are done, you will be asked to verify your choices, and then you click “Place Bet.” Then, go root for your outcome!

Betting Strategies on NFL

  1. Do Your Homework: The key to success in NFL betting is to understand the game deeply so you can make accurate predictions.  Watch games and read information to help you.
  2. Be Selective with Your Bets: Some bets feel too close to call while others feel much more like locks.  Be on the lookout for those bets that all of the stats and all of the betting predictors support.
  3. Timing is Everything: Odds change as events get closer.  Sometimes it makes sense to make a bet early, while a key factor that will change the odds is still unknown (such as weather or an injury update). Similarly, the odds will change very quickly after a big update (such as an injury or a suspension) is announced. It also sometimes makes sense to wait until closer to kickoff to know all of the key information before betting.
  4. Where to Bet: Really, any betting site approved in Michigan will be a reputable site.  However, some have better bonuses or may have different odds, so that is important to consider.

Most common NFL betting markets

Above, we explained three of the most common NFL betting markets (point spreads, money lines, and futures).  However, there are many other fun ways to bet on the NFL as well:

Totals: If you bet on the point total for a game, you either bet that you believe the final score for both teams added together will be above or below the betting total.  For example, if a game has a total of 60.5, you can bet that the final point total will be above or below that.  If the final score is 35-30, that adds up to 65 points, and the over would win.  If the final score is 28-20, the under would win.

Props: A prop bet is a bet on some outcome in a game.  For example, in a Packers game, you might be able to bet on whether Aaron Rodgers will throw for more or less than 300 yards.  Some sportsbooks will let you bet on which position (WR, RB, etc.) will be the first to score.  Others even let you bet on the outcome of the coin toss.

Season Win Totals: Before the season begins, you can bet on whether a team will win more or fewer games than the number the sportsbook provides.  For example, if the sportsbook puts the number of wins for the Lions at 7.5, you can bet on whether their win total will be over or under 7.5.

NFL Draft Betting: Many sportsbooks will allow you to make bets on the NFL Draft, predicting which players will be selected by which teams.

Halftimes and Quarters: This is the same as the other types of betting listed, except you are betting on the outcome for a quarter or a half rather than the full game.

Parlays: A parlay bet is where an individual links more than one bet together.  Both parts of the bet have to come through for you to win.  Obviously, this is more challenging than just getting a single outcome correct.  However, the payouts are higher as well.

MVP: Another common bet for the NFL is predicting who will be named the MVP of the league. These odds are constantly changing throughout the season as more information is obtained and more games are played, so they can be very fun.  They can also be very profitable if you pick a long shot very early in the season.

NFL Betting’s key numbers

At its core, NFL betting is really a numbers game. Here are a few of the most important.

The spread: This is the number of points that the favorite is expected to win by.

The total: This is the number of points expected to be scored in the game.  A bettor chooses under or over. 

The last-minute changes: Unfortunately, football often features plays at the end of the game that don’t change who wins or loses but that can impact if the winning team “covers” the point spread or whether or not the total goes over.  When these last-second changes occur, they are called “bad beats.”

Other key NFL Betting Terms

Opening lines vs closing lines: The opening line is the initial moneyline or spread number that the sportsbook offers.  As the event gets closer, changes in information can cause those numbers to shift.  Similarly, too much betting for one side or the other will cause sportsbooks to adjust the number.  The closing line, then, is what the final betting number was at kickoff.

Steam: In betting circles, steam refers to a sudden shift in a betting line as a result of an unusually large amount of bets being placed for one side.  This is usually a result of a betting group or syndicate.

NFL Live Streaming

Some of Michigan’s online sportsbooks allow you to watch games live on your tablet, phone, computer, etc., so you can follow the action and root for your outcome. Currently, the two sites that allow this are BetMGM and BetRivers, and you can access the live streams by visiting their websites.

NFL In-play

Another fun way to get involved with NFL betting is to gamble on certain outcomes while the game is happening. For example, a sportsbook might allow you to bet on whether or not a team will score a TD on their next drive. Currently, all of Michigan’s online sportsbooks offer in-game betting, so if you are on the site during the game, keep checking for more opportunities to win.

NFL Calendar and Annual Events

NFL Draft: April 28th, 2022 - April 30th, 2022
Preseason: August 4th, 2022 - August 28th, 2022
Regular Season: September 8th, 2022 - January 8th, 2023
Playoffs: January 15th, 2023 - February 12th, 2023
The Pro Bowl Games: Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Super Bowl: Sunday, February 12th, 2023

Michigan NFL Teams and Opponents

Detroit Lions

History of the Detroit Lions

2021-22 was another tough season for the Lions, whose 3-13 record, once again, saw Detroit finish dead last in the NFC North.

Entering 2022-23, oddsmakers were understandably skeptical of the Lions’ prospects, with Detroit's preseason Super Bowl odds sitting at a lowly +25000, trailing only the Houston Texas for worst in the NFL.

Then again, Jared Goff will be entering his second season at the helm of Dan Campbell’s offense, and with dynamic running back D’Andre Swift looking to capitalize on the momentum earned by his extraordinary finish to 2021, bettors would be wise not to count the Lions out.

Lions Best Opponents

Another reason for optimism about the 2022 Lions is, in contrast to last season’s brutal schedule, this year they’ll face the fifth easiest competition in the NFL.

This is largely due to the expected regression of the NFC North, in which the Chicago Bears are likely to struggle, and juggernaut Green Bay Packers will face a tough task compensating for the loss of All-Pro wideout Davante Adams.

But it’s not all good news for the Lions, who will face a brutal out of conference matchup on November 24th against the Buffalo Bills, not to mention having to contend with the new look Vikings twice, first in Minnesota on September 25th, then in Detroit on December 11th.

NFL News outside of Detroit

Say what you will for the 2022 NFL season. One thing is for sure: there is no shortage of intrigue.

Following a devastating AFC Championship loss to Kansas City last year, for Josh Allen’s hugely talented Buffalo Bills, 2022-23 is Super Bowl or bust.

In Los Angeles, the defending champion Rams will look to back up their extraordinary 2021 Super Bowl run, but face a tough task simply making it out of the NFC West, particularly given the Rams’ personnel losses on both sides of the ball, notably those of receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and stud defensive lineman Von Miller.

Similarly, Lamar Jackson’s Ravens will be forced to overcome the loss of talented wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. The Arizona Cardinals, where Brown now plays, need to deliver, given the expectations surrounding an offense with Hollywood Brown and Deandre Hopkins at wide receiver, and quarterback Kyler Murrary under center.

The San Francisco 49ers and Miami Dolphins are two more teams to watch, both counting on athletic, young quarterbacks to take them to the promised land.

With a league as wide open as the 2022-23 NFL, all that’s left for bettors is to sit back and watch.

Every Touchdown of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs

    Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 season

    How to bet on the NFL Preseason

    The 2022 NFL preseason begins on August 4th, and, as always, will provide an informative, though limited, window into the prospects of this year’s respective NFL rosters. Teams with new head coaches, notably the Broncos and Dolphins, will be of particular interest. However, due to the inconsistency with which NFL coaches deploy their best players in the preseason, we would advise caution to those laying money on the NFL before the regular season begins.

    Betting on the NFL Regular Season

    On Thursday, September 8th, the 2022-23 NFL regular season kicked offs. With new quarterbacks or head coaches, the San Francisco 49ers, New York Giants, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Miami Dolphins number amongst the league’s biggest question marks. Bettors will feel much more confident after at least two or three weeks of the season have expired, by which point the necessary sample size will be available to make informed NFL wagers all year long.

    Betting on the NFL Playoffs

    Beginning on January 15th, the NFL playoffs look to be every bit as exciting in 2022-23 as recent seasons have conditioned us to expect. As always, the most thrilling, and challenging playoff betting opportunity will come in the Divisional Round. Like the preceding Wild Card Round, the Divisional Round includes four matchups; however, by this point the low hanging fruit will have been picked, and every team remaining should be considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

    Betting on the Super Bowl

    Every year, the Super Bowl is the most watched television event in the United States, and, following last season’s thrilling, unexpected Rams victory in LA, the 2023 Super Bowl, which takes place on February 12th, had better deliver. Fortunately, that’s exactly what oddsmakers expect, with presumptive favorites Buffalo and Kansas City carrying very similar Super Bowl odds. The Philadelphia Eagles are another dark horse contender, and one on which bettors may find more favorable spreads, as in spite of carrying a highly talented roster into 2022, the Eagles have been middling in recent years, and neither oddsmakers nor bettors are yet conditioned to see them in the same light as proven powerhouses like the Buffalo Bills or Kansas City Chiefs.


    Is it legal to bet online in Michigan?

    Yes. As of December 20, 2019, online betting has been legalized in the Wolverine State.

    Do I have to be a Michigan resident to bet?

    No. However, you do have to physically be located within the state’s boundaries in order to legally access any of Michigan’s online betting sites.

    How do partnerships between online and land-based casinos work?

    Any online gambling/betting site in Michigan must be partnered with a land-based Michigan casino (commercial or tribal). Each online brand may partner with only one retail casino. Each land-based casino may partner with only one online brand.

    What are some of the major online sportsbooks in Michigan?

    What is the revenue from online gaming used to support?

    The revenue raised from online gaming and sports betting goes to two important places. One is the Michigan School Aid Fund. The other is the First Responder Presumed Coverage Fund (FRPCF), which provides benefits to first responders that develop cancer.