Just arrived back from Las Vegas where the gambling pundits seem mixed on the Tigers for 2011. I’ve learned over the years that if you want the best overview on how your team will fare in the upcoming sports season, check out where sports fans are placing their money. The Tigers are not exactly the Butler Bulldogs of this year’s NCAA tournament, but they would fit into an “undefined” category with the Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay Rays. If you listen to the lines in Vegas, the Tigers will win 85 and finish two out in the AL Central.
For full disclosure, it took me a good few minutes before I walked away without placing money down on the Tigers for this season. If their odds were beyond 8-to-1 for the ALCS or 15-to-1 for the World Series, I might have thought otherwise. Sports betting is not an exact science, and I have found it is mostly an internal battle of my heart and my mind.
So, why did I not place any money down on the over/under on 85 wins for the Tigers in 2011? 85 wins would be an improvement of four games from 2010 and it seemed about right to me.
For the Tigers to exceed expectations in 2011, they would have to get tremendous, season-long performances out of Brad Penny or Phil Coke. Penny last had double digit wins with one team in a season in 2007 and Coke was last seen trotting out of the Tigers bullpen last season. Getting consistent, solid output from the entire starting pitching staff is priority number one to having success in 2011… and making sure that the betting supporters can cash in their winning tickets in October.