One week into the 2021 NFL season, a Michigan bettor took a chance on the Cincinnati Bengals to win the AFC North. The bettor placed a $20,000 wager on the Bengals to capture the division at 20-1 odds (+2000).
It more than paid off on Sunday when the Bengals clinched the AFC North with a 34-31 upset of the Kansas City Chiefs in Cincinnati. The Bengals went into the game as 3.5-point underdogs on MI sports betting apps.
The bet, placed with Caesars Sportsbook in Michigan, paid $400,000, according to Caesars Sportsbook. Caesars has not identified the bettor.
When the NFL bet was placed on Sept. 16, the Bengals had just beaten the Minnesota Vikings 27-24 in overtime in Week 1. Cincinnati won the AFC North this season by dominating the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers. They went 4-0 against them and none of the final scores were closer than two touchdowns.
Cincinnati lost to Cleveland on Oct. 24, but the Browns were eliminated from playoff consideration after the Bengals won on Sunday. Cleveland lost to the Steelers on Monday night. Pittsburgh and Baltimore, who face each other on Sunday, both have a slight chance to make the playoffs by winning that game and getting help from other teams in the AFC.
The regular season wraps up this weekend with the playoffs scheduled to begin on Jan. 15. The Bengals, as division champs, will host a wild-card team that weekend.
Unfortunately for Michigan bettors, the Detroit Lions won’t be in the playoffs. The Lions are 2-13-1 heading into the final game at home against the Green Bay Packers, but have a good shot at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
On September 16th, a #CaesarsSportsbook bettor in Michigan wagered $20,000 on the Bengals at +2000 to win the AFC North.— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) January 2, 2022
With the Cincinnati win, they clinched and the bettor just won $400,000!#WinLikeACaesar pic.twitter.com/vHL6QVxRf4
Strong Sports Betting Market in Michigan
Michigan online sports betting launched on Jan. 22 and it has become one of the strongest sports betting markets in the U.S.
In November, Michigan set a state record with $500.5 million in total handle, the first time it had cleared the $500 million mark in a month.
The November total adjusted gross gaming revenue from sports betting was $38.8 million ($34.5 million online, $4.3 million retail), easily a record for Michigan. The old record was $21.9 million, set in March, which was just the second full month of online sports betting in the state.
Big Caesars Winner in VA Earlier
In mid-December, a Virginia bettor turned a $50 parlay with Caesars Sportsbook into $454,563.27, the operator posted on Twitter. It was a 14-leg parlay in Week 14.
William Hill launched in February in Virginia, but the sportsbook rebranded to Caesars in August in the U.S. as part of Caesars’ purchase of William Hill.
Michigan and Virginia launched online sports betting one day apart in January. Virginia went live on Jan. 21 while Michigan was a day later.
The Virginia sports betting market is currently all online, which Michigan has three retail sportsbooks in Detroit casinos. The handle for Virginia in November was $402.6 million, just off the record it set in October ($427.3 million).