We are just a few days away from the first pitch being thrown in baseball and we’ve already talked about World Series futures, Cy Young potentials, and MVP hopefuls. Now, let’s examine some opportunities that show value with the division winners.
I very rarely advise betting on something that has heavy juice. I just don’t enjoy laying a ton of money, but if it is a winner, I suppose it doesn’t matter how much you lay. Obviously, nothing is guaranteed, though. One favorite that I would consider laying money on is the White Sox. I think they could have the best record in the American League this season and at -210 it is pricey. But, if you were to bet $1,000 to win roughly $500 in the span of about 6 months, there aren’t many investments that pay off better than that. Aside from that, there really aren’t many favorites I would consider betting on.
Let me start here: I’m not touching the East. I think the Yankees, Rays, and Blue Jays all have the potential to win the division. None of them have good odds that make it a valuable play to me. The Red Sox even could win it. So, to me, no thanks.
The last American League division to discuss would be the West. I personally don’t like the Astros this season, but I think they probably are still the favorite, and it is rightly so. Have to see someone else make a run before you knock off any of them. If I was going to bet on anyone it would be the Angels. I’m not sure they have a chance though, so this would be more of a guess – if they start hot +380 is not going to last. If they fail out of the gate, +380 will not be your best value. I’d rather wait a bit and miss out on this one.
In the NL East, I like the Phillies to win the division. I think if you put your money on the Mets, you’ll just be contributing to lining the bookmaker’s pockets. The Marlins and Nationals also are unlikely to make an impact this season. The Braves could repeat and be very dominant, but that World Series hangover can be very real. At just +125, I wouldn’t tie up my money for that long. I would play the Phillies at +340, I think they win and rather than just a hope with the Angels, I think the Phillies have a real shot.
The Brewers are expected to win the NL Central. With their pitching staff, it is possible they could win in. However, I don’t know that they will be quite as good as last season. Instead, I like the Cardinals to win the division. One word of warning. I’m not sure we are getting that much value here either. At just +240, I’m not sure it is worth it. But, again, if it is a winner, it almost anything is worth it.
Finally, the NL West. Last season the Giants won it. I know, it was a surprise last year, and actually I forgot and assumed the Dodgers won it. I forget what they were at the beginning of the season to win the division, but it was almost certainly higher than the +600 listed right now. I still would take a flyer on the Giants as they could replicate with the pitching staff, and if the Dodgers don’t all click, who knows what will happen.