The 2020 baseball season gets underway next Thursday. It’s right around the last call for some of the season-long futures, so make sure you lock in your bets… NJ online sports betting is back.
Today, we’re taking a look at the MLB American League division odds and examining both the favorite and our baseball betting picks to win. Here are our predictions for the three divisions.
MLB Division Odds – AL East
The Favorite: New York Yankees
The Yankees won 103 games last season and then had a fairly productive offseason where they landed former Houston Astros ace Gerrit Cole. Pitching was a sore spot for this team last season as they finished fourth in batting average, third in OPS and second in home runs, but were just 14th in team ERA.
The Yankees will be one of the biggest beneficiaries from the COVID-19 hiatus because they would have been forced to go into the season with a number of injuries. Instead, they’ve now had ample time to heal up. That’s a big boost for this team.
My Pick: Tampa Bay Rays
Given that the 2020 baseball season is a 60-game, shortened calendar, I’m not that excited about laying -305 on almost anything. Do I think the Yankees are the team to beat in this division?
Yes. Do I think they’re one of the strongest teams in the American League? Absolutely. However, in a 60-game season, anything can happen.
The Rays have a stellar trio of starters that includes Charlie Morton, Blake Snell, and Tyler Glasnow. If those three pitchers play to their potential, the Rays probably have the best staff in the AL East. That being the case, I’m willing to take a flier on them at +350 that they surprise and win the East in a shortened season.
MLB Division Odds – AL Central
The Favorite: Minnesota Twins
At the start of last season, the Cleveland Indians were a massive favorite in the American League Central but by the midpoint, they were 10 games out. That’s because the Twins came out of nowhere and took control of the division.
They ended up having way more power in the lineup than anyone foresaw as they led the league in home runs and were second in both team batting average and OPS.
The team did lose C.J. Chron but added Josh Donaldson. They probably won’t hit 307 home runs again (or whatever the prorated amount is) but they are still one heck of a scary lineup.
However, I’m not sold on this pitching staff. Jose Berrios is pretty good but the rest of the crop includes Jake Odorizzi Kenta Maeda, Rich Hill and Homer Bailey. They’re going to be playing in a lot of high-scoring games this season.
They’re rightfully the favorite going into the year but I’m not thrilled about laying -130 with them given the questions I have about their pitching rotation.
My Pick: Chicago White Sox
The White Sox were busy this offseason, signing catcher Yasmani Grandal, Steve Cishek, Dallas Keuchel, Gio Gonzalez and Edwin Encarnacion, while re-signing Jose Abreu and extending Luis Robert. They’re the type of team that appears to have a young cast that’s ready to blossom and they’ve now spent the offseason bolstering them with quality veterans.
There’s a lot to like about the lineup as they have depth from one through eight – at the very least. The rotation, which now features Lucas Giolito, Keuchel, Dylan Cease, Reynaldo Lopez and Gonzalez, could be the best or second-best in the division if everything goes right.
This is a young team that’s on the cusp and I’m willing to take a flier at +285 that they put it together in a shortened season. In a 162-game year, they probably wouldn’t feel like they have a legitimate chance to compete.
With a 60-game calendar, this should boost their confidence.
MLB Division Odds – AL West
The Favorite: Houston Astros
The Houston Astros enter the season as the defending American League champs and I don’t think a lot changes with this team this season.
Originally, I was worried that the cheating scandal would hang over them but I don’t think that’s so much of a factor now that the COVID-19 pandemic has taken center stage.
The Astros did lose Cole but a rotation anchored by two Cy Young-caliber pitchers in Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke is still pretty stellar. Don’t forget, they’re also going to get Lance McCullers back after Tommy John surgery.
They also have a slew of quality young arms who are going to fight it out for the back end of the rotation, so they are fine there. The bullpen is still strong with Roberto Osuna, who is an All-Star, and there are a pair of All-Star setup men too.
Speaking of the batting lineup, they have All-Stars at six positions and that’s not including Yordan Alvarez, who is a fast-rising star. This team is loaded and with a lot of consistency year over year, I think they’re a safe bet at -167.
My Pick: Astros
I considered a number of teams here. The Los Angeles Angels made a number of moves – including signing Anthony Rendon – and I do think their batting order can be scary. A heard of the order including Rendon, Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton is very good.
However, is there much beyond that? And what about the pitching staff where the main man is Andrew Heaney and…who else? Ohtani is coming off a Tommy John surgery and Julio Teheran is already out with virus-like symptoms.
The only other team I’d consider here are the A’s, who might be worth a bet. They won 97 games last season and I am somewhat concerned that they lost three good starters from their rotation.
However, they have young players ready to step in. My concern is that the staff now doesn’t have the track record of the previous crew, so while they should deliver, they are still a bit of a question mark. And looking at the lineup and bullpen, there is quality but the Astros have the edge.
There’s probably some value with the A’s but I’m just not sold on them as much as some others are, so I like the Astros here.
— Play NJ (@playnjcom) July 8, 2020