Improving Detroit Tigers Face A Fascinating MLB Odds Conundrum

Written By Drew Ellis on July 20, 2021 - Last Updated on August 24, 2021

We’ve now passed the halfway point of the baseball season. The 2021 Detroit Tigers seem to have a little spark of optimism, but it’s too bad their MLB odds don’t reflect as much.

Sure, Detroit was just 44-51 entering Tuesday, and that is on the heels a 3-game sweep of the Minnesota Twins this past weekend and a 14-0 bludgeoning of the Texas Rangers on Monday night.

However, given Detroit started 9-24, the team seems to be playing above some dismal early-season expectations.

Have the Tigers made any waves with oddsmakers for the second half?

Tigers’ odds get longer despite modest success

Detroit still finds itself 13.5 games behind the Chicago White Sox for first place in the AL Central as of Tuesday morning. The Tigers are also 9.5 games out of a Wild Card spot right now.

When Detroit opened the season, it was among the longest odds to win the World Series, the AL pennant and the AL Central Division.

Midway through, Detroit has surpassed some teams, even though their actual odds have worsened.

At BetMGM Sportsbook, the Detroit Tigers opened at +10000 in early MLB odds to win the World Series. They now sit at +50000 and have drawn 1.1% of the handle. There are five teams with worse odds than Detroit in the World Series race.

When it comes to the AL pennant, Detroit sits at +30000, which matches the Kansas City Royals. Two teams currently have longer odds.

Detroit opened the season with the worst odds to win the AL Central at +4000. Now, they find themselves at +7500 at WynnBet Sportsbook. That matches the Minnesota Twins for third, while the Royals are last at +10000.

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Casey Mize leading Tigers’ rotation

Early on, there wasn’t much to like about Detroit on the field. But things have turned around in recent months.

The most notable strength right now has been some of the starting pitching.

Casey Mize battled back from a shaky spring training and now has a 3.44 ERA over 18 starts. He has 79 strikeouts to 27 walks.

Although he has just a 5-5 record, that’s still good enough to lead Detroit in wins.

Some sportsbooks aren’t listing Mize as a Cy Young contender, but BetMGM still has him at +10000 after a flood of  early-season wagers from enthusiastic Tigers fans.

Matthew Boyd and Wily Peralta have also been solid on the mound in starts. Boyd has a 3.44 ERA over 13 starts, but has been injured for the past month.

Peralta has six starts this year and has an impressive 1.64 ERA over 33 innings.

Tigers aggressive on the bases

One thing new manager A.J. Hinch has brought to the table is a more aggressive team on the basepaths.

Detroit currently sits second in the AL in stolen bases as a team, with 59 through 95 games.

As of Tuesday, the Tigers also share second in the league in triples (19) and in the top half in baseball in walks drawn (305).

The base running has helped Detroit make up for a lackluster power game.

If the Tigers are to make a push in the second half, those long-ball numbers will need to improve. Entering Tuesday, Detroit ranked 21st in the league in home runs (104), 26th in doubles (122) and 19th in slugging percentage (.391).

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has provided the most pop this season, with 17 home runs and 58 RBI, both of which lead the team by a wide margin. Schoop has been heating up in trade talks because of his strong first half.

Detroit bullpen struggling recently

Early in the season, the Detroit bullpen looked like it could be a strength for the Tigers.

By the time the All-Star break arrived, the Detroit bullpen had become quite a problem.

In the last two losses to Minnesota before the break, Detroit relievers gave up 17 earned runs over 10 innings of work.

The reset looks to have helped, as the bullpen had allowed just one earned run over its past 15.2 innings entering Tuesday.

All-Star reliever Gregory Soto had given up an earned run in three of his past four outings before the start of the second half. That included allowing a solo home run during last Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

Photo by Duane Burleson/AP
Drew Ellis Avatar
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis has lived in Michigan his whole life, and has been writing professionally for the last 21 years. Ellis has covered anything from youth baseball in mid-Michigan, a top-25 college football program, and pro sports in the Detroit area. Always keeping busy, Ellis also has over 10 years of experience in covering sports betting, handling all major sports.

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