Even though the Detroit Lions lost Sunday after a furious comeback, bettors still took advantage of NFL betting in Michigan.
Michigan had the third-highest number of sports betting transactions over the weekend nationwide, trailing sports betting stalwarts New Jersey and Pennsylvania, whose markets are far more established than Michigan, according to a report from geolocation security company GeoComply.
This is the first full season of NFL action that Michigan online sports betting is live. Online sports betting and online casino launched on Jan. 22 in Michigan while New Jersey (June 2018) and Pennsylvania (November 2018) have been taking bets for several years.
Another newcomer to the sports betting scene, Arizona, which just launched its market on Sept. 9, was fourth behind Michigan, which seemed to take advantage of betting on the Lions.
Lindsay Slader, GeoComply managing director of gaming, said in a news release that legal states had high demand for sports betting during the NFL’s opening weekend. There were 58.2 million transactions across 18 states and the District of Columbia. There were 7.5 million transactions in Michigan over the weekend, according to Geocomply.
Slader acknowledge that the company “haven’t seen anything quite like” Arizona’s sports betting start. It had more than 6.1 million geolocation transactions from more than 271,000 newly-created accounts since Thursday.
NJ, PA Still the Leaders
New Jersey had 12.5 million bets placed over the weekend, up from 9 million a year ago during the first weekend of the NFL. Pennsylvania had 11.5 million bets placed, up from 7.9 million a year ago.
After Michigan and Arizona, Illinois was fifth with 4.8 million bets placed over the weekend.
The Lions, who came into the game as 7.5-point underdogs at DraftKings Michigan and BetMGM Michigan, scored 16 points in the fourth quarter but ultimately fell short against the 49ers. San Francisco had a 31-10 lead at halftime and a 41-17 lead in the fourth quarter.
New Lions starting quarterback Jared Goff completed 38 of 57 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns Sunday. It was also the debut of new Detroit head coach Dan Campbell.
Lions Big Underdogs in Week 2
The Lions face their NFC North rival, the Green Bay Packers, on Monday Night Football at Lambeau Field in Green Bay. The Packers are 10.5-point favorites despite getting pounded by the New Orleans Saints, 38-3, on Sunday.
The big weekend should be a good sign for Michigan sports betting. In July, the state failed to reach the $200 million mark in online sports betting handle for the first time in a full month since launching in January. Online came in around $188 million while retail sports betting was $18.2 million in July.
It wasn’t that unusual as Michigan followed a nationwide trend of states reporting lower handles for the summer months because there were relatively few sports. Expect the numbers to increase when August numbers are posted thanks to NFL preseason, and certainly in September.