Big 4 Atop AL Futures Odds Entering Second Half

The All-Star break is in our rearview mirror, and now it’s time to look ahead to see how the oddsmakers view the American League divisional and pennant races down the stretch as well as the MVP and Cy Young Awards.

AL East

Boston Red Sox                       -150

New York Yankees                  +120

There may be five teams in the American League East but realistically this field has already narrowed to a two-horse race. The Rays and Blue Jays are 18 and 23 ½ games back, respectively, while the cellar-dwelling Orioles are so far removed from first-place that you couldn’t see them with a telescope. Plus, now they don’t have Manny Machado. Boston has ripped through the first half of the season with an MLB-best 68 victories and a sizzling .694 win percentage, while the Yankees trail by only 4½ games and would be leading any other division in baseball, save for the one in which they reside.

AL Central

Cleveland Indians                    -10000

Minnesota Twins                     +2500

Detroit Tigers                          +5000

The Indians entered the break with 52 wins under their belts and enough to put 7½ games worth of daylight between them and their closest rivals, the Minnesota Twins. A quick click over to Sportsbook Review, a site dedicated to the recreational and professional sports bettor, shows us that the best online sportsbooks are fairly uniform in their opinions of the Indians being prohibitive favorites to win the division as evidenced by their odds of -10000. That means you would need to bet that used late-model Nissan Sentra you just bought and plunk that down as collateral in order to win the cost of taking yourself and a few of your boys out for a few beers (only a few) to your local pub on wing night. Ah, the things we do for friendship.

AL West

Houston Astros                        -800

Seattle Mariners                     +600

Oakland Athletics                    +4000

Los Angeles Angels                  +10000

It’s not surprising that the oddsmakers have tagged the Astros as substantial favorites to repeat as AL West kings. The Mariners and Athletics are still within striking distance, but the reigning World Series champs have a full head of steam entering the second half with 64 wins, trailing only the Red Sox, in all of Major League Baseball. However, it should be noted that Oakland took three of four from the Astros in Houston just a week before the All-Star break and has reeled off nine wins over its last 12 games. Do we have a live dog here at +4000?


Mike Trout (LAA)                 -350

J.D. Martinez (BOS)             +400

Mookie Betts (BOS)             +800

Jose Altuve (HOU)                +1000

Jose Ramirez (CLE)              +2000

Francisco Lindor (CLE)                     +2000

Manny Machado (BAL)        +3000

Aaron Judge (NYY)               +3000

Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)     +4000

Carlos Correa (HOU)          +4000

George Springer (HOU)      +5000

The Angels’ All-Star Mike Trout checks in at the break with a .310 batting average (9th in AL), 25 home runs (3rd in AL), and 50 RBI (30th), which sets him up as the AL MVP favorite, according to the best online sportsbooks at Sportsbook Review. But there’s a dynamic duo in Boston that should be considered as legitimate MVP threats in Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. Speaking of Martinez, remember in the offseason when he was getting the cold shoulder in his bid to sign a long-term mega deal while the likes of Giancarlo Stanton was being wooed by all the major players? Boston finally thawed the ice with a five-year $110 million offer, a nice number to be sure, but far less than Scott Boras was seeking for his client. Betts is hitting a torrid .359 with 23 dingers and 51 RBI, while Martinez has taken a liking to Friendly Fenway with eye-popping stats that reflect a .328 batting average, 29 home runs, and 80 RBI. If the MVP stands for the Most Valuable Player and the Angels are barely above .500, how is Trout the big favorite? Betts and Martinez seem to be a better value to take home the hardware.

Cy Young Award

Luis Severino (NYY)     +240

Justin Verlander (HOU) +250

Corey Kluber (CLE)      +270

Gerrit Cole (HOU)       +350

Chris Sale (BOS)          +375

Trevor Bauer (CLE)     +1500

Charlie Morton (HOU)            +2800

Blake Snell (TB)           +3300

It’s hard to argue that the oddsmakers have the wrong favorite with New York’s Luis Severino as the chalk to bring home the Cy Young. The 24-year-old right-hander has a 14-2 record with a 2.31 ERA and a 1.01 WHIP, while Justin Verlander has rebounded big-time after a few underwhelming seasons with Detroit to post a 9-5 mark but an ERA of 2.29 and a dazzling 0.84 WHIP. Corey Kluber (12-5, 2.76 ERA, 0.91 WHIP) of Cleveland and Houston’s Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52 ERA, 0.98) are also in the mix as the season enters the second half. But let’s not forget Chris Sale, in his second season with the Red Sox, topping the Junior Circuit with a 2.23 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and 10-4 record with a powerhouse offense behind him that will propel that win total much higher as the season progresses.