Last Updated: 2019-03-05
The American League West Division race might be more lopsided than the American League Central. At least that’s what the odds would indicate. There aren’t a ton of believers out there in what the Oakland Athletics accomplished last season. With the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poised to squander another year of Mike Trout’s prime and the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers well off of the pace, it looks like Houston’s division to lose.
The Astros are the biggest division favorite in baseball according to the odds at BetOnline Sportsbook. Even with the losses of Dallas Keuchel and Marwin Gonzalez in free agency, the organizational depth for the Astros does seem to put the favorites in a good position to stay atop the division.
Stranger things have happened, however, and several key Astros, including Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, have had recent surgeries or have missed a lot of time. How many open doors would it take one of the other AL West teams to walk through and become a challenger?
Here are the odds for the AL West from BetOnline Sportsbook as of March 5:
Houston Astros -600
Oakland Athletics +800
Los Angeles Angels +900
Seattle Mariners +5000
Texas Rangers +5000
The Astros are -600, which implies an 85.71 percent likelihood that they take care of business in this division. It is hard to argue with that level of confidence. It is also hard to lay $600 to win $100, or some variant thereof, but that would be the only play I could make in this division. This line was -400 a few days ago.
As much as I love the Athletics, and as much of a contender as they are for the coveted second Wild Card spot, the Astros are capable of things that few teams can do. Houston was actually the best team in baseball last season in a lot of ways, including the BaseRuns standings metric at 103-59. That mirrored their actual record. The Astros were also the best team in baseball by Pythagorean Win-Loss at 109-53.
The A’s were a legitimate contender with a 95-67 record in both Pythagorean Win-Loss and BaseRuns, but many believe that they will take a step back. Even if they don’t, it won’t be enough to run down the Astros.
The idea that the Angels have the same odds as the Athletics is laughable in my estimation, so there is no way I would look at them as a long shot candidate. The Angels finished below .500 last season, 17 games behind the Athletics. They’re not making up that gap, let alone challenging the Astros.
The American League is very chalk-heavy this season from a division futures standpoint.
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