There’s No Michigan Sports Betting Offseason, So Watch These Big Events Through May

Written By Derek Helling on April 13, 2021 - Last Updated on October 26, 2023
Sports Betting Events Spring 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs

Let’s get real, here: March Madness didn’t go according to Michiganders’ hopes this year. Now, many MI bettors may be wondering what big sports betting events available over the coming weeks.

There’s no need to delete any MI sports betting apps from your phone, however, as there are several sports betting events worthy of consideration. (And if you need a different itch scratched there’s always the Oscars …)

These events involve some of the most popular domestic and international athletes, leagues and teams. In reality, there’s no reason to call the period from early April through late May a snooze. Clever bettors know it’s actually a time to shine.

Some of these contests are already ongoing at MI sportsbooks. The calendar also has some local relevance. No matter what sports you’re looking to bet, there’s something for you to research.

Bet on women … literally

Currently, the National Women’s Soccer League is playing its second annual Challenge Cup tournament. Many MI books have several different types of markets on individual matches and futures. The tourney continues through May 8, with all 10 clubs playing at least four matches.

Additionally, the WNBA is holding its annual draft Thursday. MI books have yet to get lines up, but sports betting apps around the country booked this event last year. The league hasn’t released its 2021 regular-season schedule. It should start before Memorial Day, though, and you can bet on championship futures right now.

Another player entry event hits at the end of April.

Where will Kwity Paye land in the NFL?

The first round of the 2021 NFL Draft takes place April 29, a Thursday. Among the different ways to navigate unique sports betting events like these involve at what pick or round MI prospects such as former Michigan Wolverines edge rusher Kwity Paye will come off the board. You can also bet on which position the Detroit Lions will take at seventh overall (barring trades).

That talk leads into a type of a prop bet you can make: How many trades will happen in the first round, and what teams will be involved?

The variety keeps going, with lines on how many players from each position group will be first-round selections. Some books may even have action on whether draftees will hug NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell or shake his hand.

NFL teams hope to find players to guide them to more wins in the 2021-22 season and beyond.

The race for the Triple Crown starts soon

After COVID-19 delays in 2020, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes return to their usual May dates this year. That means the Kentucky Derby is on Saturday, May 1, and the Preakness will be two weeks later, on May 15. It isn’t too early to start looking into which horse you like to win each race. You can usually find a lot of footage of past performances online for free.

Picking a winner isn’t the only way to bet these events, though. Racebooks actually give you a lot of different options. For instance, you can opt for an exacta bet, in which you attempt to pick the top two horses. A trifecta has the same idea but extends your ticket to the top three finishers.

The superfecta bet adds yet another horse to the game, taking you four-deep. There are also two different ways to bet an exacta, superfecta or trifecta. You can opt to do it “ice cold,” or straight, which means you try to predict the exact order of finish. You can also go the safer route and choose to not have the order matter. A straight wager will have a better payout, of course.

PGA provides bettors with a Carolinian diversion

From May 20-23, professional golf’s best will vie for the PGA Championship and the Wanamaker Trophy at Kiawah Island Golf Resort in South Carolina. Much like with horse racing, a popular way to bet golf is to try to pick a winner out of the field. There are many more options, though, in the second major of the year.

MI bettors can stake money on whether individual players make or miss the cut, for example. That isn’t always a foregone conclusion, even among favorites (as Dustin Johnson recently demonstrated at the Masters). Props on whether any player will score an albatross (3-under par on a hole) and whether the event will require a playoff to determine a winner should be available.

Michiganders can also back golfers to finish in the top five, 10, and 20 of the field. Although these bets aren’t going to pay as well, they’re popular among golf bettors because they afford some room for rough patches.

Stanley Cup playoffs sizzle, even if Detroit Red Wings don’t

With 34 points through 43 games, the Detroit Red Wings need to put together a lot more overtime and regulation wins to nab a spot in the NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs. Either way, the NHL postseason is currently set to start on or around May 20, with the recent extension of the regular season.

On May 18, the NBA playoffs get going with a new four-team play-in tournament. That runs through the 22nd, with the traditional 16-team bracket following. This change provides even more postseason games for basketball bettors in MI, which is why basketball is such a popular sport for gambling purposes.

Once the brackets are set in the NBA and NHL, you’ll see new championship futures odds with the narrowed field of teams. You’ll also be able to bet on which teams will win each series and the number of games each series will go.

This is also when the markets for regular-season awards such as the Conn Smythe Trophy and NBA MVP really heat up. Of course, both basketball and ice hockey have a lot of in-game bets and prop markets.

Ne dormez pas sur le tennis! (Don’t sleep on tennis!)

With it pushed back one week because of coronavirus protocols, the 2021 French Open now starts the day before Memorial Day — Sunday, May 30. The top players from both the men’s and women’s game will meet in tennis’ second Grand Slam event of the season, with main singles draws featuring fields of 128 competitors.

Iga Swiatek and Rafael Nadal will try to defend their singles titles here, having won this event back in October, which was also pushed back in the throes of the pandemic. If they are able to do so, they will become the first woman and man to win two titles in this event within a single 12-month span.

Of course, you can try to pick full tournament winners here, should you desire to. You can bet each match on either side as the players progress through the brackets, too. Within each game, you can bet point by point. The in-game betting options are part of what makes tennis so exciting.

That excitement is an overall encapsulation of why sports betting is so fun and popular. Even though March Madness is over and the start of the 2021-22 NFL regular season is still months away, there are plenty of sports betting events where you can grow your bankroll before the summertime.

Photo by Karl B. DeBlaker/AP
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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