MLB Betting: AL Central Preview

The Boston Red Sox completed a worst-to-first turnaround in one year winning the team’s third World Series since 2004 over the St. Louis Cardinals. With that said, the A.L. East again figures to be a deep and talented division where teams are as likely to put up a 12 spot as they are get a complete game shutout. Who has the clout and pitching to win the division in 2014 and cash on the baseball betting futures? Here’s a best guess with the season still four weeks away:

1. Boston Red Sox

Odds to win World Series: +800

The Red Sox are an interesting case because so much of their success last year was just playing hard for 27 outs and pulling so many games out late. Can that clutch factor carry over for another year? The Red Sox still feature a pretty stout rotation with Jon Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront. If the Sox can score runs again (when was the last time the Sox weren’t tough offensively?) and Koji Uehara is even 75 percent of what he was a year ago, you have to call them the favorites.

2. Tampa Bay Rays

Odds to win World Series: +1200

We know what Tampa Bay is going to do at this point. It’s the same recipe the Rays have used for years now to contend for playoff spots and division crowns. The Rays will again feature top of the line pitching talent throughout their rotation and as always the question is, “How many runs can they score?” The guess here is the gap between the Red Sox offense and Tampa Bay’s offense is a little wider than the gap between the Rays’ starting pitching and Boston’s.

3.  New York Yankees

Odds to win World Series: +1200

The Yankees being the MLB betting favorite seems odd given the fact the Yankees rotation doesn’t appear to be capable of holding up over 162 games against Tampa Bay’s and Boston’s. With that said everyone knows the way that offense can score runs inside Yankee Stadium, and in Derek Jeter’s final season, perhaps the Pinstripes have one final run in them to send him off right.

4. Baltimore Orioles

Odds to win World Series: +2500

The Orioles came on strong two seasons ago surprising by making a playoff run and were in position to do so a year ago as well before a rough stretch in the second half of the season really cost them their chances. At some point you have to pitch, though, and while Chris Tillman is a talented starter at the top, they don’t have the depth to get them past the top three. You can only win so many games by a 10-8 or 9-7 score.

5. Toronto Blue Jays

Odds to win World Series: +3800

In a lot of other divisions, the Blue Jays probably could compete for a division crown, but in the rugged A.L East somebody has to finish last. Toronto spent big last offseason hoping to build a winner over the winter. It didn’t work out in year one but perhaps they will surprise some in year two. The lingering concern for this team is the depth of its pitching rotation, which was exposed last season and simply could not generate the consistency through five starters that was needed to survive in baseball’s toughest division.

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