Heading into the 2017 MLB season, the American League East is once again poised to be one of baseball’s most competitive divisions, but oddsmakers don’t exactly see it that way as they have the Boston Red Sox as the clear favorite with odds of -175 to win the division. The next-best odds belong to the Toronto Blue Jays, followed by the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox made the biggest splash of the offseason when they added perennial Cy Young candidate Chris Sale, giving them one of the league’s most elite starting rotations. The retirement of David Ortiz leaves a gigantic hole in the middle of their lineup, but it’s fair to expect the trio of Betts, Bogaerts and Bradley Jr. to continue their progression and pick up some of that slack. Boston, of course, won the AL East last season by four games, but oddly enough they’ve never won the division in consecutive seasons.
Toronto also lost a big bat in the heart of their order as Edwin Encarnacion signed with the Indians. Unlike the Red Sox, the Blue Jays don’t have a group of young hitters who can take on the massive chunk of production that Encarnacion leaves behind so they’ll be reliant on their top two hitters, Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista, staying healthy. Donaldson will get a late start this spring due to a calf injury, while Bautista will look to bounce back from an injury-plagued 2016 in which he missed 46 games. The Jays will, however, return one of the league’s top starting rotations and should find themselves back in the mix for a playoff spot if an unexpected player or two can step up.
After abandoning the strategy of overpaying for over-the-hill talent, the Yankees appear to be moving in the right direction. Their lineup is comprised of potential future all-stars in Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez along with some of that over-the-hill “talent” in Jacoby Ellsbury, C.C. Sabathia and the newly acquired Matt Holliday. Despite offloading Aroldis Chapman (whom they re-acquired in the offseason) and Andrew Miller prior to last season’s trade deadline, they still finished six games above .500 and could compete for a playoff spot if the young bucks take big steps forward in their development.
With +750 odds to win the division, the Orioles aren’t getting much love from oddsmakers even though they’ve qualified for the playoffs in three of the last five seasons. Given their consistent results over the past few seasons and the fact that they’ll return one of the league’s top power-hitting lineups and bullpens, they clearly offer the best value of any team in the division. They still lack a prototypical No. 1 starter but that hasn’t held them back from finishing .500 or better in five straight seasons.
Coming off their worst season since 2007, the 68-win Tampa Bay Rays didn’t do much to improve their roster in the offseason. Don’t mistake their +1800 odds to win the division as good value, as they’re much more likely to trade Chris Archer than they are to win the division. The only battle Tampa Bay will be in this season is the battle to not be the worst team in baseball. Quite simply, don’t waste your money.
|Boston Red Sox||-175|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+425|
|New York Yankees||+550|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1800|
Odds as of February 28 at Bovada
Things have gotten seriously clogged up at the top of the AL East and so too have the odds. The Orioles are now the slight favorites as they sit atop the AL East but have the rest of the division nipping at their heels.
Baltimore had an excellent month of May that saw them overtake the Boston Red Sox for the division lead but after a small slump over their last ten games, the BoSox and Toronto Blue Jays are within striking distance and the O’s are now +170 to win the AL East on Bovada.
After winning nine of their last ten games before the all-star break, the Blue Jays have put themselves in good position to take down the AL East (+175). Their pitching staff is in for a shakeup with all-star Aaron Sanchez most likely heading to the bullpen. Even if the Jays fail to pick up some relief pitching and another starter before the trade deadline, they could still slug their way to the top of the division.
The Red Sox have one of the most well-rounded rosters in their division and are tied with the Jays in the standings and in the odds to win the AL East. Although their bats have cooled down somewhat, they still boast one of the most potent offenses in the league and sit first in runs.
The Yankees have fallen almost completely out of the race as they sit 7.5 games back of the O’s and are +2200 to win the competitive division.
Bovada hasn’t even given the 34-45 Tampa Bay Rays odds to win the division as they would have to climb ten games out of the basement to catch the fourth-place Yankees.
|Boston Red Sox||+175|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+175|
|New York Yankees||+2200|
Odds as of July 11 at Bovada
Past the 50-game mark of the season, and the Red Sox are the top team in the American League, and therefore the favorite to win the American League East.
With a 32-21 record, the Sox have a slim lead over the Orioles and Blue Jays and -110 odds to win the division. Boston is the only American League team at minus money in division odds. The Sox have had success despite a slow start from their prized offseason acquisition, David Price. Price has an ERA above 5.00, but Boston has made up for it by leading the league in runs, hits, total bases and on-base percentage.
As for the O’s and Jays, it’s been a tale of inconsistency for both as Baltimore started hot, but has lost seven of its last 10, while Toronto has gone 8-2 in its last 10 games after a mediocre start.
The Yankees haven’t shown any signs of being a legit contender and have struggled against divisional opponents with a 9-15 record vs other AL East clubs.
It looks like a lost season for the Rays, who have the second-worst record in the American League at 22-29. They can be had at +1200 to win the division, but it would be in your best interest to not go there.
|Boston Red Sox||-110|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+400|
|New York Yankees||+750|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1200|
Odds as of June 2 at Bovada
The American League East is pretty much the logjam that many were expecting after the first month of the MLB season. The top four teams in the division are all within three games following the first month of play, with the Boston Red Sox leading the charge.
The BoSox have been mashing it with the best of them to start the season with the team ranking in the top five in pretty much every major statistical batting category. Those bats, that have not been overly reliant on their senior players, are a big reason why BetOnline has pegged Boston as a +150 fave to win the division.
Despite closing out the first month of the season under .500, the Toronto Blue Jays are +225 to win the AL East this season. The Blue Jays were expected to be among the best offensive teams in baseball, but they have been largely mediocre so far this season. It also doesn’t help that their bullpen is downright terrible.
The third team sniffing around the top of the AL East odds is the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s started the season 7-0, but they faltered to 7-10 in their next 17 games. Baltimore, like many of the other teams in the AL East, have the bats to win games, but their starting rotation has been average so far.
The season is still young so the New York Yankees (+900) and Tampa Bay Rays (+800) still have a chance to win the AL East during the long MLB season.
|Boston Red Sox||+150|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+225|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+800|
|New York Yankees||+900|
Odds as of May 2 at BetOnline
The American League East has been hyper competitive in recent memory with every team in the division wearing the crown at least once in the past six seasons (only the New York Yankees have won it twice in that span). The division is one of the closest for bettors this upcoming season as all five teams have seen their odds to win the AL East open below the +1000 mark.
Currently at online sportsbook Bovada the Boston Red Sox top the odds list at +160, with the Toronto Blue Jays breathing down their necks at +180.
Toronto scored more runs, hit more doubles and more home runs than any other team in baseball last season. The team remains largely intact from last year, but will see some added benefits from a healthy Michael Saunders, who missed most of last season with a knee injury, and the newly acquired Drew Storen to the bullpen. The rotation took a hit with David Price bolting for Boston, but a healthy Marcus Stroman should help offset the loss.
The Red Sox had a disappointing season last year that saw them finish last in the AL East, but the organization eagerly added parts to a team full of youth during the offseason. The Red Sox made a huge splash when they inked Price to a seven-year, $217 million contract while also picking up four-time All-Star Craig Kimbrel to the bullpen. Not only does Price add a potential Cy Young winning arm to the rotation, it also hinders the Blue Jays rotation after he spent a chunk of the season north of the border.
The Yankees will be sporting the oldest club in the majors this season by a wide margin, but this is a team that finished second in the league in scoring last season. The Bronx Bombers shored up their middle infield by bringing in Starlin Castro to pair with Didi Gregorius. Teaming Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances means that this team really only needs to hold a lead by the seventh inning.
After a very long process, the Baltimore Orioles accomplished their biggest goal of the offseason by bringing back slugger Chris Davis who has hit 126 home runs over the past three seasons. The O’s are solid, if unspectacular team, but could be hindered by a rotation that only features two pitchers who had a sub 4.00 ERA last season.
The Rays are a sneaky ballclub that features a lot of youth (only three of their starters are 30 or older) and are relatively consistent throughout their lineup. The key to the Rays success will be a starting rotation that sports an average age of 26-years-old.
Who are you picking to win the AL East this season? Let us know in the comments below.
|Boston Red Sox||+160|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+180|
|New York Yankees||+350|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+750|
Odds as of March 28 at Bovada