Detroit Tigers in Sports Betting History

 Motor City Ready for Betting Madness – The Best Bets in Detroit Tigers History

During the final few months of 2019, Michigan's lawmakers pushed legal sports betting legislation across the finish line. The new law designated the Michigan Gaming Control Board as the body to oversee sports betting operations in the state.

A priority for the MGCB was to select the placement of physical sportsbooks, and when Michigan would allow online sports betting. These two questions were handled without much fanfare. The MGCB announced that 24 tribal casinos would be eligible for brick-and-mortar locations.

In addition to these two-dozen prospective sportsbook lounges, licenses would be awarded to three Detroit area casinos. Regulations were written into the new law that immediately allowed online mobile sportsbook apps as well. The yearly revenue from Michigan sports betting is estimated to become a $4 billion yearly industry at one point. 

However, the launch was delayed a few months to allow physical locations to open. Nationally recognized sportsbook apps such as DraftKings Michigan, FanDuel Michigan, William Hill Michigan, PointsBet Michigan and BetMGM Michigan are now legal in Michigan.

One stipulation was to link a partnership with a licensed physical location. All five met MGCB requirements were met and these five mobile apps launched online on November 1, 2020. Prior to this online launch, physical locations were permitted.

Two of these highly successful mobile sportsbook apps, and one newcomer, linked their partnerships with brick-and-mortar casino facilities in Detroit. Let's look at these three Detroit sportsbooks.

Motor City Sportsbooks

Detroit is a first-rate professional sports city. The Lions, Pistons, Red Wings, and Tigers have produced legendary players and championship teams. The Lions, Pistons, and Red Wings have given Detroit sports fans countless magical moments.

Nevertheless, not to discount the betting appeal Detroit fans will have for their hometown hockey, football, and basketball teams, the Tigers are the oldest and most storied team in the Motor City.

The choice of three physical licenses for Detroit casino locations had to excite Tigers' fans. Up-and-comer Barstool Sports operates the sportsbook at the Greektown Casino. They'll compete for Detroit sports betting business with FanDuel and BetMGM.

FanDuel's sportsbook is at the MotorCity Casino and BetMGM is at the company namesake MGM Grand Detroit. All three of these sportsbook locations are within two-miles of the three major Detroit sports facilities, including the Tigers' home park.

This is great news for Detroit Tigers' fans who can visit any of the three and then take a short stroll to the Tigers' home at Comerica Park. Sure, Michigan sports bettors can bet on the Tigers from anywhere in the state, but these three sportsbooks are "in the neighborhood".

Now let's talk about some exceptional moments in Detroit Tigers' history that would have been a good bet if betting had been legal. We'll start with a few fantastic seasons when the Tigers defied the odds as an underdog.

Then, we'll talk about some Tigers teams that were expected to win, but still would have been big winners betting on sportsbook apps such as FanDuel's futures board. Detroit loves their sports, especially their Tigers, and now they can bet on their team succeeding.

Motor City Kitty Underdogs

The Detroit Tigers are one of the American League's original eight charter members. Next season will be the Tigers' 120th year in Major League Baseball. Detroit has made 11 World Series appearances in their 120-year history, winning four World Series titles.

Of the four titles, it would be hard to argue against the improbability of the 1968 Tigers, especially matched against one of the greatest big game pitchers in the history of baseball in a winner-take-all game seven. Detroit kicked off the 1968 season as a strong contender for the AL Pennant.

At +350 prior to opening day's first pitch, most bookmakers liked the Tigers' talent. However, across the diamond in the Senior Circuit, the St. Louis Cardinals rolled in at +200 to win the National League. The odds for a Cardinal title were far better than those for Detroit.

The 1968 Series was one for the ages. Detroit battled the talented Cardinals to a three-games-apiece draw, forcing a seventh game. Ahead of the Tigers was a monumental task. They were set to face the ominous flamethrower, Bob Gibson.

Each team had its ace. Detroit had 31-game winner Denny McLain. However, Gibson's 22 victories ballooned in impressiveness by the 13 shutouts he threw in 1968. Gibson had been even more dominating in big games, especially during game one of this series.

Gibson sent 17 Tigers to the dugout with a big fat K in the scorebook. It was a World Series record. However, despite the overwhelming odds that favored the Cardinals in the Series and in game seven, Mickey Lolich outpitched the Cardinal ace for a 4 to 1 Tiger win.

In Michigan's new sports betting market, Tigers' fans could have bet the underdog odds in 1968 and banked a huge payday. The second big payout for having the insight to bet on an overachieving Detroit Tigers team would be a season in which they lost in the Fall Classic.

The 2006 Tigers rolled out of spring training a whopping +4,000 to win the American League Pennant. Detroit was an underdog to even make the AL playoffs. They were ranked behind two other teams in their own AL Central Division.

The Chicago White Sox were coming off their first world title since 1917, but the Minnesota Twins were pegged as a bonafide challenger in the American League. Not so fast, said the +4,000 underdog Tigers.

Detroit overachieved mightily during the regular season, finishing five games ahead of the defending World Series champions, but a single game behind Minnesota for the Central Division Crown. The Tigers were far from done.

Baseball's inclusion of a wildcard round gave Detroit new life in the postseason. However, bookmakers didn't give them much chance of getting past the powerful New York Yankees. Detroit disposed of the Yankees in three games to one.

The Tigers finished off the Oakland A's in four straight to sweep their way into the 2006 World Series. However, unlike the 1968 team, Detroit was unable to overcome a solid St. Louis Cardinals squad.

Nevertheless, it would have been a super payday when Detroit hoisted the American League Pennant at +4,000. Six years later, Detroit would be a title-contending team again. In 2012, the Tigers left spring training at +450 to win the American League.

Not bad odds for a solid team, but things went south during the first half of the season. By the time baseball took a break for the Midsummer Classic, Detroit's odds to win the league championship had risen dramatically.

On All-Star Game night, the Tigers were +1,000 to make it to the World Series. By season's end, Detroit outpaced Chicago to win the division. They were still sitting with the worst odds on the big board heading into the 2012 AL playoffs.

However, the Tigers squeezed out a game five win over the Oakland A's to get a shot at the top-rated Yankees. Detroit would devastate New York in a four-game sweep, setting up a showdown with the San Francisco Giants.

In the end, Detroit's solid 2012 pitching failed them against the Giants. San Francisco fulfilled the early World Series odds as favorite to win their second title in three seasons. However, a midseason +1,000 on a Tiger comeback would have made for a nice bank deposit.

Stepping back over 70 years, we find another Detroit Tigers team that exceeded the odds. While Detroit did not bring home the ultimate prize in 1940, a preseason futures bet on the Tigers to get to the Fall Classic would have been hit the jackpot.

Bookmakers envisioned the 1945 New York Yankees as a virtual lock to win the American League. New York started the season at -285 to represent the AL in the World Series. The Bronx Bombers were strongly projected to continue their dominance over professional baseball.

The Yankees were in the middle of one of the greatest title runs in sports history. New York had captured four consecutive world titles, winning over 100 games in three of those seasons. The 1940 season was projected to be no different.

Both Detroit and Cleveland had different ideas. Cleveland exited training camp with slightly better odds than the Tigers. The Indians posted a preseason chance of winning the AL at +800. Detroit was slotted right behind the Indians at +1,000.

It evolved into a regular season pennant race to rival the best in baseball history. Detroit edged out Cleveland by a single game and the Yankees by two. A 30-year-old rookie pitcher named Floyd Giebell out-dueled Cleveland ace Bob Feller to clinch the division.

Detroit would lose a seventh game thriller to the Cincinnati Reds. The game was marked by the historic effort of Bobo Newsom. Newsom's father died in Cincinnati after watching his son shut down the Reds to win game one.

Newsom would pitch the rest of the 1940 World Series with a heavy heart. He would blank Cincinnati on three hits to win game five and then return on a day's rest to pitch in game seven. Newsome blanked the Reds for another six consecutive innings.

A sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh pushed the Reds ahead by a run at 2 to 1, where the game ended in a Cincinnati world title. Detroit came within a run of overachieving to win the ultimate prize in professional baseball. However, a bet in spring training on Detroit to even be there would have been a winner.

Tigers Teams That Met the Odds

There have been other Detroit Tigers teams that were supposed to be good, and wagering on them to succeed would have been a smart bet. Two of their World Series championships were won by Detroit teams, great teams that were heavily favored before the season even started.

The 1945 baseball season started differently than any over the previous decades. Because the world was in the middle of a global conflict, travel restrictions enacted because of World War II changed the locations of training camps.

Detroit trained in Indiana and opened the 1945 season as a strong contender for the American League Pennant. Detroit was viewed to have a slight edge over the Washington Senators. These odds proved rather clairvoyant.

The Tigers would win the American League by a slim 1½-game margin of Washington. If sports betting had been legal, putting down a wager on the path to the 1945 World Series would have been one of the most memorable in Detroit baseball history.

On the final day of the 1945 season, Detroit needed to beat the St. Louis Browns to avoid a one-game playoff against the Senators and go to the World Series. While not a playoff game, it has to be one of the most historic finishes in baseball history.

Down 3 to 2 in the top of the ninth inning in St. Louis, the Tigers loaded the bases. The 1945 Tigers were led through the season by their superstar outfielder Hank Greenberg. Greenberg did not disappoint Tigers' fans.

He launched a massive grand slam to put the Tigers up 6 to 3. They held the lead and went on to defeat the Chicago Cubs four games to three in the Fall Classic. This would have been a season where the Tigers fulfilled expectations.

That final heroic game of 1945 would have been one that a sports bettor would not have soon forgotten. Ten years before Detroit won their second World Series crown, the Tigers claimed their first.

Those same New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians were bunched tightly with Detroit as the teams left spring training. The Tigers posted a slight edge over their rivals at +180. Star first-baseman Hank Greenberg would win the first of his pair of AL Most Valuable Player awards.

Detroit would outrace New York by three games. The Indians miserably underachieved finishing a dozen games behind the Tigers. Detroit's lineup knew well the bitterness of losing in the season's final series.

1935 would be the Tigers' fifth try at a world championship. However, bookmakers strongly posted the pre-series odds in favor of the 100-win Chicago Cubs. Chicago had rolled into the World Series fresh off a then-record 21 consecutive victories to close 1935.

It would have been a smart bet to pick Detroit to bring home the city's first professional baseball crown. In what had been an exciting season, the Tigers gave Detroit's baseball faithful an unforgettable memory.

Winning three of the first five series games, Detroit had pushed the Cubs on the edge of elimination. Game six was a dogfight. Tied at three-runs apiece heading into the bottom of the ninth, the Detroit home crowd was on the edge of their seats.

Goose Goslin sent the Navin Field crowd into ecstatic pandemonium with a walk-off single to plate the deciding run. While the 1935 Tigers fulfilled expectations of winning the AL Pennant, odds would have favored a Detroit fan who wisely wagered on them to win the World Series.

These are just a handful of historic betting moments in Detroit Tigers' history. The Tigers are a team with a storied history and legendary players. Tigers' fans witness the greatness of Ty Cobb during his 20 seasons in Detroit.

Al Kaline spent his entire career in a Tigers' uniform. The legendary Hank Greenberg won two AL MVP awards, helping lead Detroit to a pair of world championships. Hal Newhouser, Greenberg's teammate on the 1945 team, won two MVPs and made six all-star appearances.

Detroit fans witnessed the last 30-game winning season by a pitcher in 1968. Taking the over on a preseason bet on Denny McLain's final numbers would have produced a huge payday. McLain is still baseball's last 30-game winner.

The Tigers are working to rebuild for another run at greatness. If you track the sabermetrics for Tigers statistics, you can see they have a young team on the rise. The hiring of a new coach in the Motor City has started the whispers of hope this rise is near.

Detroit's new manager has recently tasted World Series success. Now AJ Hinch has been entrusted with helping lead the Tigers back to greatness. As baseball sleeps through another winner, Detroit fans will awaken in February, ready for a new Tigers' season.

One thing will be different in 2021. Tigers' fans will be able to bet on their hometown team. The Motor City is ready for some betting madness, and there are good odds their money will be on their Tigers.

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