Despite playing as well as just about any team in the NFL in the latter half of the 2022 season, the Detroit Lions couldn’t quite qualify for the playoffs. They were eliminated about 50 minutes before their final game kicked off when the Seattle Seahawks beat the L.A. Rams in overtime.
That doesn’t mean Michiganders have tuned out the NFL postseason and put away their betting apps until next season.
In fact, in the weeks and days leading up to Super Bowl LVII, bettors in Michigan have made some of the most massive, outrageous, or otherwise notable bets from around the country, such as this one shared on Twitter by ESPN’s David Payne Purdum:
There’s so much to unpack here. First of all, why $5,025? Is it this bettor’s lucky number? Or, perhaps the last four digits of their phone number or Social Security number? Was it the remaining balance in their account, and they were simply overcome with a strong hunch that tails would land, so they let it ride?
It’s fun to imagine a syndicate of sharps out there diving into researching the coin flip. We know, for example, that the coins used for the pre-game flip are manufactured at Highland Mint, a small factory in Melbourne, Florida, that has been cranking out the commemorative coins for the NFL since 1994. We don’t know, however, what quality control is like at the mint. How many times does some tester with a sore thumb flip it before the company is convinced it’s perfectly balanced and not favoring one side or the other? It feels like, if that information is knowable, someone, somewhere is trying to dig it up.
Then, there’s this:
Those certainly look like tantalizing odds on a talented young running back who is being featured more and more in the Eagles’ attack in recent weeks. Against the Giants in the divisional round of the playoffs, with the game in hand, Gainwell got opportunities and went off, running for 112 yards and a touchdown.
But there’s a reason this bet is being offered at odds of 125/1. Start with the fact that a running back hasn’t won Super Bowl MVP since Terrell Davis did it in 1997. All told, there have only been six running backs to take home the trophy, starting with Larry Csonka in 1973, and, if anything, it’s even harder to do these days in the pass-happy NFL.
Then, consider that Gainwell has yet to reach 50 yards rushing or receiving in any game other than that explosion against the Giants in his two seasons in the NFL, and this begins to come across as the lottery-ticket play its odds imply. Then again, if it hits, forget you read that last comment here.
More notable bets from Michiganders
But Michigan bettors aren’t just masters of the arcane. They’re also willing to put a big chunk of their funds on an outcome they believe in. From Dominic Holden at Caesars Sportsbook, we have this nugget: A Michigan customer risked $220,000 on under-51 total points, the biggest bet Caesars had taken from a Michigan account on the game as of Friday morning.
Good luck to that person. Nothing more stressful than having a big ticket on the under since it never feels like you’re in the clear, especially not in a game with this much game-breaking speed. But there is some logic at work here, with the last four Super Bowls finishing under the total. However, the last time the Big Game went over, the Eagles were also involved, when they beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in 2018.
At DraftKings, one Michigan bettor made a smart move way back in August and slapped down $20,000 on the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. If that person hasn’t hedged, they’re looking at a $520,000 payout. Also, if you’re reading this and you’re the one who placed that bet, please be sure to let us know who will be in the 2023 NBA Finals.
Not every bettor in Michigan is pulling for the Eagles. One gambler risked $100,000 on the Chiefs +1.5 at DraftKings. Was it your neighbor? If so, congratulations, you apparently live in a pretty swanky neighborhood, where people fire off six-figure bets on contests brimming with potential chaos.
With the biggest football game in the world just two days away, Michigan bettors will be sweating it out as nervously as residents of any other state — with the possible exceptions of those in Missouri, Kansas, and Pennsylvania.
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