Tigers’ Window Closing, But This Team Made Bettors Money in 2016

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Despite a payroll which danced around the $200 million area, the Detroit Tigers missed out on the postseason for the second-straight year in 2016. At the betting window, however, this is a team that was rather kind to bettors during the campaign as the fourth-best moneyline team and fairly reliable OVER wager that finished in the top 10 in the bigs.

Though there is one futures wager on the board that I do like for this team, and I’ll get to that later, maybe picking and choosing your spots with the Tigers on a game-to-game basis is the way to go this year. Unless a blockbuster trade goes down and/or the stars align in some miraculous way, this isn’t necessarily a World Series contender.

The Tigers do indeed boast some big bats, but a lot of the potential success of this team hinges on yet another stellar season out of 34-year-old ace Justin Verlander as well as the younger arms around him in the starting rotation and how well (or even if) they progress in 2017.

For years, this team has been led by the great Verlander and Miguel Cabrera but their window is closing. There are nice complimentary pieces in place in the Motor City, but there are also holes. This season could be one filled with highs or one with lows that ends in a total fire sale.

Without further ado, here is a look at their futures odds for the upcoming MLB campaign.

World Series +2500

There is a reason that the Tigers are 12th on the 2017 World Series futures board: they are, in fact, just a slightly above-average team. And that can be a crappy place to be on the futures board ahead of the start of the regular season: not quite good enough to warrant a bet from the general public and not enough value as a longshot.

The last time the Tigers won a World Series was 1984, when heroes like Jack Morris, Willie Hernandez, Kirk Gibson, Alan Trammell and Sweet Lou Whittaker patrolled old Tiger Stadium. This, however, is not that team and not one that warrants a futures bet. Unless, of course, you’re a faithful Tigers backer and this happens to be part of your offseason routine.

As it stands right now, late March, there are far too many teams that are superior around both the American League and National League and more teams on the board that provide bettors greater value.

Unless this team gets off to a red-hot start, the Tigers just don’t feel like a warranted futures bet.

American League Pennant +1400

The Tigers have won two AL Pennants in the last 11 seasons (2006, 2012) so it’s not like they are total strangers to the World Series. This season, however, will prove to be difficult if they’re to get there again.

Considering how good the Cleveland Indians are, punching a ticket via a division pennant is going to be a tall order. The Wild Card is more of a possibility and shouldn’t be ruled out, but there are a lot of talented teams in the AL that will vie for that Wild Card.

Again, this is a bet that doesn’t evoke a ton of confidence and is perhaps one that should be put on the backburner until the Tigers get out to a .600 winning percentage through 50 games or so.

AL Central +550

As mentioned above, this is Cleveland’s division. At least on paper. In March.

The Tribe are just seemingly head and shoulders above everyone else in the Central and added Edwin Encarnacion to the mix just to make things increasingly difficult for everyone else.

I do think this is the second-best club in the division, though, and if Verlander repeats his great 2016 and younger arms like Daniel Norris and Michael Fulmer continue to improve, this could be an interesting one for Tigers bettors.

OVER/UNDER win total 82.5

Now we’re talking.

I do like the OVER here, even though the current price of -130 at online shop Bovada leaves just a little bit to be desired. This team won 86 games last season (in 161 games) and while I think they’ll be a win or two below that this season, I am on the OVER 82.5 to cash.

FanGraphs projects them to win 81 games and finish second in the process, but I see them with a few more in the win column. I’m confident they’ll be an above .500 team in 2017.

Miguel Cabrera to win AL MVP +1200

Yeah, Miggy might be turning 34 in April, but let’s not forget that we are only a handful of seasons removed from an insane triple-crown winning campaign! The guy can still mash and is one of the best right-handed bats in the game. Period.

Detroit has a very solid lineup that boasts the likes of Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez and, although his WAR has been sinking like a stone, Victor Martinez, but it’s Cabrera that makes the offense tick.

The Tigers will hit and they will score and Miggy will post another eye-opening slash. He’s finished ninth, eleventh and ninth in MVP voting the previous three years after winning back-to-back MVPs, but don’t be surprised to see him back in that top tier this time around.

2017 Detroit Tigers Futures Odds
Market Odds
World Series +2500
American League Pennant +1400
American League Central +550
Win Totals  82.5

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada

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