Detroit Tigers fans haven’t had much to cheer about in recent seasons, but Opening Day is always a time for optimism at Michigan sportsbooks. Coming off a 66-96 campaign in 2022 in which the Tigers finished fourth in the AL Central, there won’t be a plethora of futures placed on the 2023 squad.
But that doesn’t mean there won’t be better baseball played in the Motor City this season after several young players garnered big league experience last year. Plus, 2023 is the last chance for Tigers fans to say goodbye to Miguel Cabrera, their beloved first baseman (and future first ballot Hall of Famer) who will hang it up at the end of the season.
BetMichigan took a look at what Tigers fans can expect this year, and provided a few options that are worth monitoring on Michigan sportsbooks apps throughout the MLB season.
Tigers True Longshots In AL Central
The Tigers last year finished a whopping 26 games back of the eventual American League Central champs, the Cleveland Guardians, and most national sportsbooks expect much of the same this year. At BetMGM Michigan Sportsbook, the Tigers and Kansas City Royals are tied for last to win the division at +3000.
Why the longshot odds? Well, the numbers don’t lie about last season. The Tigers only had two starting pitchers (who each made at least 10 starts) finish with an ERA of under 3.60. To make matters worse, the club had one of the worst collective batting averages (.231) in MLB. A bad combo, to say the least.
After a relatively quiet offseason, operators expect more of the same. Caesars Michigan Sportsbook has set the Tigers O/U for regular season wins at 69.5 (-110). While that would be a slight improvement over 2022, that tally would be unlikely to save manager AJ Hinch’s job for 2024.
Detroit Visits Tampa Bay For Opening Series
The Tigers open the 2023 season Thursday with a trip to St. Petersburg for a three-game series with the Rays. Eduardo Rodriguez again is Detroit’s Opening Day starter, and he’ll try to build on a solid, but limited 2022 campaign in which he went 5-5 with a 4.05 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP. Rodriguez faces Shane McClanahan, a big part of the Rays’ run to the postseason last year, who went 12-8 with a 2.54 ERA and 0.93 WHIP.
The Tigers at DraftKings Michigan Sportsbook are +1.5 dogs, with a +185 ML. That is to be expected, considering the Rays went 86-76 last season and clinched an AL Wild Card berth.
Looking at the rest of the April schedule for Detroit, it’s easy to see why 69.5 wins is in play. The Tigers face a bit of a gauntlet out of the gate, as they’ll take on the World Series champion Astros in Houston following the Rays series. They’ll then finally have their home opener on April 6 against the Boston Red Sox before traveling to Toronto for a three-game series with the Blue Jays, who are +650 to win the AL pennant at DraftKings.
Should the Tigers want to make any noise across the 2023 MLB campaign, they better hope to come out of the gates playing their best baseball with three of their first four series being played on the road.
Be sure to stick with BetMichigan for the Michigan sportsbook promos you’ll want to take advantage of during this MLB season.