The Detroit Tigers might finish last in the AL Central this year, but the team broke new ground on Thursday when it announced a multiyear deal with PointsBet.

Detroit Tigers PointsBet
The Detroit Tigers became the first MLB to partner with a sportsbook, thanks to a new deal with PointsBet. (Image: David Maxwell/Getty)

The partnership makes the Tigers the first MLB franchise to reach such an agreement with a sportsbook.

PointsBet Gets Major Presence at Comerica Park

PointsBet recently became the latest Authorized Gaming Operator of MLB. That, along with Michigan’s decision to legalize sports betting in 2019, made the partnership possible.

“Our great fans will enjoy the unique experiences and innovative offerings that PointsBet’s personalized platform provides,” Ilitch Holdings group president Chris Granger said in a statement. “As we usher in legal and responsible sports betting, we look forward to the fan-friendly enhancements that it will make to the game-day experience in and around Comerica Park.”

Ilitch Holdings is a technical services firm that works with businesses owned by the Ilitch family, including the Detroit Tigers.

PointsBet signage will appear at Comerica Park as a part of the deal. In addition, PointsBet will be featured on the Tigers’ radio and livestreaming shows. The sportsbook will also feature on MLB’s ballpark app, as well as The District Detroit, an app specific to the area around Comerica Park.

PointsBet CEO Johnny Aitken told ESPN that baseball offers unique opportunities for innovative sportsbooks.

“I view baseball as arguably the most disruptable sport when it comes to innovation around betting,” Aitken said. “I think there’s a huge amount of innovation that can happen around baseball betting.”

Baseball’s distinct play-by-play format allows for a wide range of in-play betting opportunities. Bets on individual innings or half-innings are common. PointsBet has even gone so far as to offer wagers on single at-bats.

Detroit Faces Long Odds in 2020

The addition of a sportsbook partner could bring some excitement to what otherwise might be a short, disappointing season for Tigers fans.

MLB plans to play just 60 games once the season resumes later this month. Detroit could struggle to pick up many victories in the shortened campaign: PointsBet gives the Tigers an over/under wins total of just 21.5, one of the lowest totals in the league.

Many teams will feel the have a chance to sneak into the playoffs in a season that’s more of a sprint than a marathon, but the Tigers aren’t likely to pull off any miracles. PointsBet lists Detroit as a +40000 pick to win the World Series, tied with the Orioles for the longest odds in the league.

PointsBet is based out of Australia, and began offering betting in the United States in 2019. The company distinguished itself from its competitors through its “Points Betting” offerings, in which bettors can bet on a per-point basis, winning (or losing) more if the result varies significantly from the spread on a given game.

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