On one hand, Saturday’s showdown in East Lansing showed how much interest a good, old-fashioned, in-state rivalry battle can get.
On the other hand, a bird’s-eye view of how the Michigan and Michigan State betting handle stacked up proved yet again that professional football is king.
One of the top Michigan online sports betting operators said the Spartans’ 37-33 victory over the Wolverines was its most wagered-on college football game of the season.
But it still doesn’t quite hold a candle to the National Football League.
BetMGM: Michigan vs. Michigan State had most college football action this season
Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker III wasn’t the only one putting up big numbers on Saturday.
According to BetMGM Sportsbook, the top-10 showdown was the most wagered-on college football game of the season nationally.
Naturally, it was the also operator’s most wagered-on game of the season for Michigan bettors, too, and there’s a big correlation there.
BetMGM made a big investment in Michigan, and it has paid off. In some ways, Michigan helped lift BetMGM into the upper tier of national sportsbooks. Thus, several of BetMGM’s national markets are heavily swayed by Michigan action.
By the way, BetMGM also reported before Saturday’s kickoff that Michigan State had the highest number of bets placed on them for any college football team on Saturday. However, Michigan had the most money wagered on them of anyone in the country.
BetMGM said 60% of spread bets placed for the game were on Michigan State, while 59% of the money wagered was on Michigan.
It was also bad news for bettors, who had 82% of over-under money wagered on the under. The game-time 50.5-point total was easily dispatched by Walker and others.
College football betting still dwarfed by NFL
BetMGM data analyst John Ewing also told PlayMichigan another side of the story. Although the operator has to be pleased by how Michigan and MSU bettors showed up, Sundays are always better.
Ewing said that even though the Wolverines and Spartans topped the season-long college betting rankings, there have already been a dozen NFL games that have had higher handle this year than UM vs. MSU.
That news comes even with the reality that the impotent Detroit Lions serve as the flagship team in one of the most influential states for the operator.
So, yes, the NFL is still king.
PointsBet: Michigan-Michigan State at night could’ve topped 2021 list
The Paul Bunyan Trophy showdown also did big numbers at PointsBet Sportsbook.
That scenario included twice as much handle as the second-most wagered-on game of the day, as Ohio State battled Penn State in prime time.
However, the Spartans and Wolverines didn’t have as much action at PointsBet as an earlier season battle between Alabama and Texas A&M on Oct. 9.
“If the Michigan/Michigan State game had been a primetime night game, it would’ve definitely surpassed Bama/A&M in terms of handle,” PointsBet sports analyst Mike Korn said.
Still, looking at Michigan bettors only, Saturday’s in-stater was the most wagered-on college football game of the season at PointsBet.