MLB Divisional Odds: Red Sox, Yankees Co-Favorites in AL East

MLB Divisional Odds: Red Sox, Yankees Co-Favorites in AL East article feature image
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Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Price and Giancarlo Stanton.

  • Despite winning the World Series, the Red Sox are tied with the Yankees at +150 to win their division.
  • The NL East is currently the tightest divisional race per the oddsmakers, with the Nationals, Phillies, Mets and Braves all between +250 and +300.
  • The NL Central also has several teams gunning for the title, with the Cardinals (+225) early favorites over the Cubs (+250) and Brewers (+300).

Another sign that spring is coming? MLB division odds are here! Finally…

I was honestly expecting oddsmakers to wait for Bryce Harper and Manny Machado to sign before releasing these, but I’m happy that I’m wrong.

The past couple of years featured some hefty favorites in most divisions, but this year, there are a few that should be very close.

In fact, two divisions don’t even have a favorite with shorter than 2-1 odds.

AL East

  • Yankees: +150
  • Red Sox: +150
  • Rays: +450
  • Blue Jays: +1000
  • Orioles: +2500

It’s a toss up! Though the Red Sox are coming off their World Series win, it’s tough to make them favorites to win the division given the additions the Yankees have made.

Remember, the Yankees won 100 games last season, and have added one of the best starters (James Paxton) and best relievers (Adam Ottovino) available this offseason.

So far, the Red Sox have essentially added nobody, but brought back Nathan Eovaldi and Steve Pearce, two of their World Series heroes.

AL Central

  • Indians: -150
  • Twins: +300
  • White Sox: +700
  • Tigers: +1200
  • Royals: +1400

As everyone expected, the AL Central is the Indians’ to lose. But, at -150, they have just a 60% implied chance of winning the division for the fourth straight time — perhaps lower than some would’ve guessed.

This Indians team is a bit different than the one you’ve seen over the past few years, though.

They’ve had a ton of roster turnover — especially for a contending team — and will heavily rely on Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez and their rotation to win them games.

For those expecting Cleveland to struggle, the Twins are available at +300.

Oddsmakers are still holding out some hope for the White Sox at +700, who have been in the Machado/Harper sweepstakes all winter. They won just 62 games last year and still have a well below average rotation, but could have a solid lineup with the addition of one of those superstars, as well as the emergence of rookie slugger Eloy Jimenez.

AL West

  • Astros: -200
  • Angels: +500
  • Athletics: +500
  • Mariners: +1600
  • Rangers: +2000

At -200, the Astros open as the largest division favorites in the league. Last year, the Athletics gave them a bit of a scare by winning 97 games, with Seattle also having a strong showing with 89 wins, but both are expected to fall way back this year.

Houston’s starting rotation won’t be as deep, but its offense looks as good as ever.

Fangraphs’ projections currently have the Astros winning the division by 10 games, while Baseball Prospectus’s PECOTA projections have them winning the division by a whopping 18 games.

NL East

  • Nationals: +250
  • Phillies: +275
  • Mets: +275
  • Braves : +300
  • Marlins: +2500

Here’s where things get interesting. Four contenders — all within a 3.6% implied probability of each other.

To my surprise, the Nationals have actually opened as the favorites at +250. I was personally hoping the books would overrate the expected departure of Bryce Harper and set them back behind the Phillies and Braves, but it looks like I will need the betting market to do that for me.

If the Phillies are able to land Harper or Machado, expect them to become the division favorites. In fact, they could move there just based on market activity. At these current prices, I imagine Philly will be the most popular choice of the four.

NL Central

  • Cardinals: +225
  • Cubs: +250
  • Brewers: +300
  • Reds: +600
  • Pirates: +700

The second tightest division features the Cardinals an inch ahead of the Cubs. St. Louis has made the biggest addition within the division by adding Paul Goldschmidt to their lineup. They hope to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015 — the longest drought they’ve had since the ’90s.

The Cubs didn’t make any major additions, but hope a healthy Kris Bryant and Yu Darvish can help them bounce back from a “disappointing” 95-win season in which they lost game No. 163 to the Brewers to fall short of the division title.

Speaking of those Brewers, oddsmakers give them the worst chance of the three at +300. Thanks to NL MVP Christian Yelich, they caught lightning in a bottle at the end of last season, but it’s tough to do that two years in a row.

Milwaukee’s starting rotation is expected to be its biggest weakness.

The Reds (+600) have made some significant veteran additions this offseason — particularly to their lineup. Since every team in the division is expected to be somewhat competitive, it’s possible the a team like the Reds could take it home without even winning 90 games.

NL West

  • Dodgers: -150
  • Rockies: +450
  • Padres: +700
  • Diamondbacks: +700
  • Giants: +1000

The Dodgers needed 163 games last season, but managed to take home their division. They’re the third odds-on division favorite this year at -150.

The Rockies are expected to be their biggest competition again, but at +450, oddsmakers aren’t expecting things to be as tight as they were last year.

L.A. has had an interesting offseason thanks to Harper scuttlebutt, and have seen their World Series odds drop despite the addition of A.J. Pollock. They’ll also have Corey Seager back, but there’s some skepticism around Clayton Kershaw and Kenley Jansen, who are both coming off their worst seasons in a long time.

The Padres and Giants are in two completely different spots in terms of roster and organizational makeup, but both have been linked to the mega free agents. Even if the Giants were able to sign Harper, their odds to win the division would likely still be +500 or worse.