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: Thursday, April 29, 2021
Preseason: Begins August 5th, 2021
Regular Season: September 9th, 2021-January 9th, 2022
Playoffs: January 15th-February 13th, 2022
Pro Bowl: Sunday, February 6th, 2022
Super Bowl: Sunday, February 13th, 2022

Michigan NFL Teams and Opponents

Detroit Lions

History of the Detroit Lions

Last season, the Lions brought their streak of seasons without making the playoffs up to 4, finishing at 5-11, last in the NFC North.

Oddsmakers are not predicting great results for Detroit this season, giving them the 4th-lowest odds of winning a championship and setting their win total number at 5, the lowest in the league.

However, there is cause for hope this season, with new coach Dan Campbell and new QB Jared Goff set to lead the team to greater heights.

Lions Best Opponents

Unfortunately, this season will not be easy for Detroit, as they will face the NFL’s 6th-toughest schedule. Besides their own tough division, which features the Vikings, Packers, and Bears, the Lions will also face the Steelers, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, and Ravens. All of those teams made the playoffs last season. In addition, the Lions will contend with the 49ers and Cardinals, two teams that also look to be playoff contenders.

Unfortunately, this season will not be easy for Detroit, as they will face the NFL’s 6th-toughest schedule. Besides their own tough division, which features the Vikings, Packers, and Bears, the Lions will also face the Steelers, Rams, Seahawks, Browns, and Ravens. All of those teams made the playoffs last season. In addition, the Lions will contend with the 49ers and Cardinals, two teams that also look to be playoff contenders.

NFL News outside of Detroit

As always, there are a lot of great storylines in the NFL for the 2021 season.

The Kansas City Chiefs remain the favorites for the Super Bowl, given their explosive offense, led by Patrick Mahomes.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers bring back all their starters from last season and are looking to repeat.

The Bills’ young core hopes to bring their first Super Bowl title to Buffalo.

The Baltimore Ravens are always exciting, thanks to Lamar Jackson.

This could be the last season for Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. Can he end it with a title?

The Los Angeles Rams combine last season’s strong defense with new quarterback Matthew Stafford. Can he bring them the Lombardi Trophy?

What will the New England Patriots look like after their major rebuild?

Can the Miami Dolphins take the next step?

Every Touchdown of the 2020-2021 NFL Playoffs

Looking ahead to the 2021-2022 season

How to bet on the NFL Preseason

The preseason (which begins August 5th) really functions as an exhibition that allows coaches to evaluate some of their younger players. It is hard to predict how much playing time the stars will get, especially now that the NFL has reduced the preseason to only three games. Betting on the preseason is really only for the diehards.

Betting on the NFL Regular Season

The regular season is where the real action begins, starting on September 9th. Though there are many changes to be had before the kickoff arrives, injuries feel like the only obstacle that could hinder Kansas City from winning the most regular season games in the league.

Betting on the NFL Playoffs

When the playoffs begin on January 15th, the field is already narrowed down to 14 out of 32 teams. You are left with the best the NFL has to offer. At that point, all home stadiums are expected to have fans, and many of them will be at or near capacity. So you can expect that the home teams will continue to have the advantage (home teams have won 60% of playoff games since 2004.)

Betting on the Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of the NFL season and the most-watched television event in America. This season, it will occur on February 13th, 2022, at SoFi stadium just outside of Los Angeles.

Futures betting is already available to predict the winner of the big game. Currently, Kansas City is the betting favorite, followed by Green Bay, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, Buffalo, and Los Angeles. The biggest long shots are the Jaguars, the Texans, and the Jets.