Buying or Selling the MLB Betting Odds Favorites to Win Their Divisions
Forty-five percent through the regular season, and the relevant MLB teams could not be clearer.
We are past the point of small sample sizes or playing guessing games. Only two divisions appear to have clear frontrunners (AL East and AL West), while the other four are tight races.
With that in mind and the trade deadline just a little over a month away, we're looking at the current betting odds for the favorites to win their divisions.
For each division, we're providing the safest bet, the bet to avoid and a value play if you want to get frisky.
American League East
New York Yankees: -1400
Toronto Blue Jays: +1200
Boston Red Sox: +3000
Tampa Bay Rays: +6000
Baltimore Orioles: +100000
The Yankees, despite not making any notable additions in the offseason, have been the best team in baseball this year.
There is an interesting race going on in the AL East, but it's for second, third and fourth place, not the division title. The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays could all make it as Wild Card teams with the expanded postseason, and that's exactly what would happen if the season ended today.
It would take an epic collapse by the Yankees to lose this division and even the No. 1 overall seed. They held a 12-game lead over the Red Sox for the division and an eight-game lead over the Houston Astros for the American League going into Tuesday's action.
To bet against the Yankees is to assume they somehow will fall apart down the stretch, and in that case, it's a follow-up question of who's most likely to capitalize on such calamity.
Toronto can really hit, but its pitching is average. Tampa can really pitch, but its hitting is below average. Boston is the most balanced of the trio.
Safe Bet: Yankees -1400
Avoid: Blue Jays +1200
Value Pick: Red Sox +3000
American League Central
Minnesota Twins: +115
Chicago White Sox: +175
Cleveland Guardians: +280
Detroit Tigers: +20000
Kansas City Royals: +60000
Welcome to the most disappointing division in baseball.
The White Sox were never going to run away with the AL Central, but they were clearly the best team coming into the season. They might still be the most talented.
Meanwhile, it's the Twins who have shown to be the class of this division. They held a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians, who have been a revelation despite their youth, and a six-game lead over the previously favored White Sox.
Minnesota's run differential is +47, which leads the division by far. The Twins are a decent baseball team that could use some pitching help.
Chicago's run differential is -45. It is not a good baseball team. The best to be said about the White Sox is their bullpen is solid, they strike batters out and a lot of the best players like Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada have missed significant time or underperformed after returning.
Safe Bet: Twins +115
Avoid: White Sox +175
Value Pick: Guardians +280
American League West
Houston Astros: -5000
Los Angeles Angels: +3000
Seattle Mariners: +5000
Texas Rangers: +7500
Oakland Athletics: +100000
This is a division long dominated by the Astros, and 2022 has been no different.
While offense has been their calling card over the years, Houston’s pitching this year is really at the forefront, led by a 39-year-old Justin Verlander coming off Tommy John surgery.
Until recently, the Astros offense was sputtering, and it’s still a bit of a mess at times.
Yet they have the best designated hitter in the game in Yordan Alvarez, one of the deadliest lead-off hitters in Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman is starting to pick it up after a slow start.
Combine this with another disappointing Angels season, the Mariners once again not being good enough, a Rangers team that’s still a year or two away and the A’s not even trying, and the Astros should run away with the AL West.
Safe Bet: Astros -5000
Avoid: Angels +3000
Value Pick: Rangers +7500
National League East
New York Mets: -260
Philadelphia Phillies: +1400
Miami Marlins: +15000
Washington Nationals: +100000
The Mets have been as good as advertised despite dealing with the injury bug. They entered Tuesday's action with a five-game lead over Atlanta, the defending World Series champion holding a one-game lead for the top Wild Card spot.
New York is also the only team in its division with a winning record against teams above .500 (25-17). The 25 wins against such teams was a league high going into Tuesday.
The Mets are doing this without their top pitchers, Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, who are both supposed to return at some point.
Atlanta started June with an impressive 14-game winning streak but may have peaked at that point. The Phillies entered the day eight games back of the division lead but now have to deal with the loss of Bryce Harper.
What happens at the trade deadline could really swing momentum in the NL East.
Safe Bet: Mets -260
Avoid: Phillies +1400
Value Pick: Atlanta +240
National League Central
Milwaukee Brewers: -190
St. Louis Cardinals: +140
Chicago Cubs: +35000
Pittsburgh Pirates: +60000
Cincinnati Reds: +90000
Other than the race for second place in the AL East, this is the tightest division race of them all.
Milwaukee holds a half-game lead over the Cardinals, but data suggests St. Louis could be the better team.
The Cardinals' +71 run differential is better than the Brewers' +20. St. Louis has an expected win-loss record that's three games better than its actual record, while Milwaukee's actual record is three games worse.
The Brewers' trademark pitching has been able to withstand injuries, and the offense has improved, trailing just the Yankees, Braves and Astros in home runs. But the Cardinals are second in runs scored and top 10 in OPS.
It will be interesting to see how the Brewers look when Freddy Peralta returns.
Safe Bet: Brewers -195
Avoid: Cubs +35000
Value Pick: Cardinals +140
National League West
Los Angeles Dodgers: -275
San Diego Padres: +290
San Francisco Giants: +1100
Arizona Diamondbacks: +100000
Colorado Rockies: +100000
The Dodgers are still the most stacked team in the NL West, but the Padres have finally closed the gap like they were supposed to last year.
There are also legitimate injury concerns for the Dodgers. They will be without ace Walker Buehler until the last month of the season. Mookie Betts has a rib injury that apparently is taking longer than expected to heal.
As talented as the Dodgers are, they could also benefit from the type of blockbuster deal they pulled off at last year's trade deadline for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
The Padres could also use some offense. They are ninth in runs scored and 18th in OPS, which is not good enough to be better than the Dodgers.
Safe Bet: Dodgers -275
Avoid: Giants +1100
Value Pick: Padres +290
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