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Vegas sets its win/loss odds on the Tigers’ 2017 season

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Will the odds be in Detroit’s favor?

Super Bowl LI Proposition Bets At The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

No one loves to bet on winners more than Las Vegas. Honestly, is there anything that Vegas doesn’t have odds on? There is probably a line on the gender of Beyonce’s twins right now.

What’s absolutely certain is that every website with a yen for making predictions has done their best to determine how many wins each MLB team will have this season. The Atlantis Casino in Las Vegas has added their own win projections to those already released by USA Today and Baseball Prospectus’ PECOTA projections. All three lists predict the Cleveland Indians will once again rule the AL Central, and are consistently “meh” about the Tigers’ chances.

Atlantis has put the Tigers odds at 85.5 wins this season, slightly up from their 85 win projection for 2016. The Tigers actually won 86 games last season, putting the Atlantis projections almost right on the money, so to speak.

These predictions are by no means an absolute science, but they are a good way to measure which team is the odds-on favorite to lead each division, or to make an appearance in the postseason. This time of year everyone wants to make their own bold proclamations about how well each of the 30 teams will do.

The Tigers are about mid-range on most of these assessments. Not top of the division in anyone’s estimation, but not scraping the bottom of the AL Central barrel, either. This kind of middle of the pack placement is probably a good thing for the Tigers, as it doesn’t set expectations too low or too high for the team.

Here’s how the AL Central stacked up with all three.

2017 Projections

AL Central Atlantis Casino USA Today PECOTA
AL Central Atlantis Casino USA Today PECOTA
Cleveland Indians 92.5 95 92
Detroit Tigers 85.5 85 78
Kansas City Royals 80.5 83 71
Chicago White Sox 73.5 68 76
Minnesota Twins 70.5 66 80

The Tigers finished somewhere between second and third in the division for all three, barely scraping a .500 win average out for the season. Many are suggesting it’s going to come down to the wire again this season, with the Tigers clawing their way towards the postseason right up until the final series of the season. But at least that means they’re saying there’s a chance, right?

PECOTA is also liking the Twins chances this season, predicting a robust 80 wins, which Twins fans would certainly like to see.

How did the Tigers actual numbers from 2016 compare to the forecast for that season?

2016 Projections and Actual

AL Central Atlantis Casino USA Today PECOTA Actual
AL Central Atlantis Casino USA Today PECOTA Actual
Cleveland Indians 84 83 92 94
Detroit Tigers 85 82 79 86
Kansas City Royals 87 84 76 81
Chicago White Sox 80.5 90 82 78
Minnesota Twins 77.5 80 79 59

It’s safe to say there’s no way to precisely predict a season’s big winners and losers. We can scoff at how well USA Today projected the White Sox doing, but remember they started the season on a crazy hot streak before the Indians surged into the lead. Vegas and the sabermetrics squads behind PECOTA can’t always predict injuries, breakout seasons, lucky winning streaks, or Zubaz-induced losing streaks.

Baseball has always been unpredictable, which makes the desire to predict it all the more appealing. If we look at the near universal positioning of the Tigers in second place for 2017, though, it doesn’t seem particularly far-fetched. 85 wins is only one fewer than they got themselves in 2016, and seems like a pretty reasonable estimate for their 2017 season.

The World Series odds for the Tigers are a bit more dire, at 33-to-1, a steep drop from an earlier prediction of 22-to-1 in November. Bovada’s latest update pegs the Red Sox and Cubs as co-favorites at 9-to-2 odds, with the Cleveland Indians (8/1), Los Angeles Dodgers (10/1), and Washington Nationals (10/1) not far behind.

The Tigers are betting on a winning season, but as for putting money on it: that’s your call.