The NFL Draft is an anticipated event for Detroit Lions fans every year.
However, it’s also an event that can lead to some confusion for Michigan sports bettors.
While Michigan sportsbooks offer plenty of odds and markets for bettors, one thing that isn’t quite clear is the time restrictions related to betting on the NFL Draft.
So, before you start casting wagers on who the Lions may take at No. 6 overall, it’s best to brush up on what you can and can’t do come draft night.
New rules on NFL Draft live betting in Michigan
The biggest question isn’t so much about what, but when can you bet on the NFL Draft.
Previous NFL Drafts have seen Michigan bettors limited to placing wagers by midnight on Wednesday night. Last year Michigan was forced to end NFL Draft betting once each day’s events began. So the first round betting ended on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET.
Thankfully, Michigan bettors will have more leeway for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The Michigan Gaming Control Board states that wagers may be accepted on an approved player draft subject to all of the following conditions:
- Pre-draft offerings that pertain to the entire draft must be made and accepted prior to the first pick/selection in the draft. For example, a wager on the number of players to be drafted from school X in the entire draft must be made before the first pick/selection in the draft.
- Round-specific offerings that pertain to one or more specific rounds must be made and accepted prior to the first pick/selection of the earliest round included in the offering. For example, a wager on whether player X will be drafted in the second round must be made prior to the first pick/selection of the second round. A wager on whether player Y will be drafted in the third or fourth round must be made prior to the first pick/selection of the third round.
- Pick-specific or selection-specific offerings must be made and accepted prior to the announcement of the pick/selection that is two picks/selections before the relevant pick/selection. For example, a wager on whether pick/selection No. 25 of the draft will be position X or player Y must be made prior to the announcement of pick/selection No. 23.
That means this year, bettors will be able to make live bets during the draft when it comes to pick-specific wagers. The bets will need to just be made two picks prior.
Any bets made that apply to the entire draft will need to be made prior to the first selection being made.
What NFL Draft bets can you make in Michigan?
The MGCB doesn’t exactly spell out everything you can wager on for the NFL Draft.
In its Sports Wagering Catalog, the MGCB simply lists the NFL Draft as an accepted event to wager on.
When perusing through the Michigan online sportsbooks, you can find markets for:
- Odds to be No. 1 pick, No. 2, etc.
- Draft position over/unders for select players
- Over/Unders for position totals in the first round of the draft
- Odds to be taken in the top 10
- Odds to be taken in the first round
- Over/Unders for how many players from a conference will be selected in the first round
- Draft head-to-head matchups – Who will be drafted first?
- Will Mr. Irrelevant be an offensive or defensive player
- Draft specials for specific teams – What position will they draft?
- Draft exact order parlays
There’s definitely not a shortage of betting options for Michigan.
Detroit Lions hold four NFL Draft picks in first two rounds
This year’s NFL Draft is a big one for the Detroit Lions.
The Lions have two picks in both the first and second rounds and come into the NFL Draft with nine picks overall.
- First Round: No. 6 overall (from L.A. Rams)
- First Round: No. 18 overall
- Second Round: No. 17, 48th overall
- Second Round: No. 24, 55th overall (from Minnesota)
- Third Round: No. 18, 81st overall
- Fifth Round: No. 18, 152nd overall
- Fifth Round: No. 25, 159th overall (from Atlanta)
- Sixth Round: No. 6, 183rd overall (from Denver)
- Sixth Round: No. 17, 194th overall
Devon Witherspoon favored to be taken No. 6 overall in NFL Draft
Detroit has some different positional needs for this year’s NFL Draft, so the Lions could go a number of ways with their early picks.
Defense is likely to be a focus, but the recent suspension of Jameson Williams for six games could impact Detroit’s approach this week.
Currently, Illinois cornerback Devon Witherspoon is the betting favorite at Michigan sportsbooks to be taken No. 6 overall. Witherspoon is listed with odds around -130 in most cases. Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter has the next shortest odds, sitting around +300.
John Maakaron of All Lions expects Detroit to target secondary help, but wouldn’t mind seeing an eye-popping selection of a running back.
“The Detroit Lions have the opportunity in the first round to continue their progress retooling one of the league’s worst defenses. At No. 6, it appears the team will likely continue adding talent to their secondary. Trading Jeff Okudah paves the way for general manager Brad Holmes to target either Devon Witherspoon or Christian Gonzalez with Pick No. 6,” Maakaron told PlayMichigan. “If the Lions want to take a home-run swing, adding running back Bijan Robinson at this position would be a solid addition for the offense, especially given the recent suspension of wideout Jameson Williams.”
There aren’t any odds available for the No. 18 pick as of now. Maakaron expects the Lions to address the defensive front with their second selection.
“Having likely addressed their secondary early in the draft, the Lions should continue to add talent to their defensive line. Stopping the run and pressuring the quarterback from the interior of the defensive line must be a priority for Detroit in 2023,” he said. “Far too often, the team gave up chunk yards on the ground, making it difficult early in the season to get on the right side of the scoreboard. Bryan Bresee is a player who fits the Lions culture and would be a solid pick at No. 18. If he is not available, Lukas Van Ness or Myles Murphy could also be inserted to aid Detroit’s defensive line, which has quickly become a strength of the team.”
Mock drafts target defense for Detroit Lions in NFL Draft
In our Detroit Lions Draft Guide, we look at a number of mock drafts and what they expect from the No. 6 and No. 18 picks on Thursday night.
Both selections are somewhat all over the place.
Popular choices at No. 6 include Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson, Texas Tech defensive end Tyree Wilson, Carter and Witherspoon.
At No. 18, Pittsburgh defensive tackle Calijah Kancey is a popular selection for Detroit in the mock drafts. Maryland cornerback Deonte Banks, Penn State cornerback Joey Porter Jr. and Robinson are also names that appear multiple times.