Potential MLB Division Winners Based on Futures Odds
The new MLB season is underway. While there are some clear favorites in many of the six divisions, you can fully expect to see a few battles raging on right through final game the 162-game schedule.
To put things in better perspective, Docsports.com took a closer look at MLB futures odds for each of these six division races to see where the best value may lie.
Baltimore stunned the betting public last season by winning the AL East by 12 games with a record of 96-66. The favored Boston Red Sox were coming off a run to the 2013 World Series title, but they faded to last place in this division in 2014 with a record of 71-91.
A massive offseason rebuilding project that added both arms to the rotation and bats to the lineup have convinced bettors that Boston will be back on top in the East this season with +200 betting odds it will win the division. The Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays are both +300 second-favorites followed by New York at +450 and Tampa Bay at +700.
Detroit has owned the AL Central in recent years with four straight division titles, and things are not expected to change this season as a +220 favorite to win again this season. The biggest hurdle that the Tigers should face in extending this streak is the simple fact that the gap between them and a few of the other division title contenders is as thin as ever.
Both the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians have been listed as +240 second-favorites, and you still have Kansas City sitting in the wings as a +450 fourth favorite. The Royals battled the Tigers tooth and nail last season only to finish one game off the pace. The Minnesota Twins appear to have a solid grip on last place in the Central at +1800 odds.
You would have to go all the way back to the 2001 season to find the last time that Seattle ended up on top in the AL West, but the Mariners start this season as +125 favorites to win this division. A couple of offseason additions are expected to pay huge dividends for Seattle following last year’s late-season run to an 87-75 record that was good enough for third in the West.
The Los Angeles Angels cruised to an 10-game lead over Oakland to win last season’s division title with a MLB-best record of 98-64, but they come into this year’s campaign as +180 second-favorites to win the AL West. The Athletics are expected to take a step backwards at +400 betting odds, and Texas is bringing up the rear in the West at +1200.
This division is expected to be the most lopsided race on the board with last season’s champs, the Washington Nationals, listed as prohibitive -400 favorites to win their third NL East title in the last four years. They cruised to a comfortable 17-game lead over both Atlanta and New York in last year’s race at 96-66, and the Nationals could be even better this time around behind an improved pitching staff that was already ranked first in the majors last year.
The two closest teams in this year’s race are expected to be the Mets and the Miami Marlins at +600 betting odds to win the East. Atlanta is a distant +2500 third-favorite and Philadelphia is expected to once again finish last at +5000.
Just as Detroit has dominated the AL Central the past few years, the St. Louis Cardinals have been listed as +130 favorites to lay claim to their third straight NL Central title this year. Last season they were able to hold off Pittsburgh by two games to win the Central with an overall record of 90-72. The Pirates are expected to provide the most competition this season as well as +240 second-favorites.
Optimism is running high in Chicago for the re-tooled Cubs, who are listed as +300 third-favorites to win their first NL Central crown since 2008. Milwaukee is next on the list at +1000 odds followed by Cincinnati at +1200.
The Los Angeles Dodgers opened as heavy favorites to win the 2014 NL West title, and they did not disappoint with a 94-68 record that was six games better than San Francisco. The Giants went on to win the World Series while Los Angeles bowed out of the playoffs in the National League Division Series in four games.
This time around, the Dodgers have been listed as heavy -200 favorites to win the West with the San Diego Padres set as +350 second-favorites. The Giants are next on the list at +500 followed by Colorado at +1800 and Arizona at +2000.