MLB American League Futures Update
The 2012 MLB regular season is already close to three months old and it has been filled with more than its fair share of surprises. There are a couple of preseason favorites that are battling just to keep the division leader within striking distance to go along with a few longshots that are still very much in the thick of their division race.
The following is an update of the future MLB odds for the American League in terms of winning this season’s pennant.
The Front Runners
The Texas Rangers started the season as one of two fourth-favorites at 11/2 to win the AL Pennant, but behind a bruising offense that is averaging 5.23 runs per game and a pitching staff that boasts a 3.62 team ERA, they have established themselves as the clear-cut favorite at 3/1. The Rangers currently have the best record in the Majors at 45-29 through the first 70+ games of the season and are 4.5 games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. Texas is equally as good no matter where they play with a 22-14 record at home and a 23-15 record on the road. It is hard to see this team giving-up any ground over the second half of the season in an effort to win its third-straight AL Pennant.
Do not look now, but right in the Rangers’ rear view mirror are the New York Yankees. A 17-5 tear in the month of June has the Bronx Bombers back on top in the AL East with an overall record of 44-28. They started the season as the odds-on-favorites at 13/4 to win the American League, but a slow start turned a few bettors away and they are now second-favorites at 7/2. The return of veteran hurler Andy Pettitte has helped bolster the starting rotation, and the Yankee bats continue to get the job done with the fourth-most runs in the AL. New York has appeared to put its slow start behind and should enjoy the view from the top of the division the rest of the way.
The Chicago White Sox were picked to finish third in the AL Central behind Detroit and Cleveland and a healthy 35/1 longshot to win the AL at the start of the season. A 38-35 record through their first 73 games has the White Sox on top of the division and right in the thick of the playoff race. They are still under .500 at home this season with an overall record of 19-21, but they are 19-14 on the road. Whether or not Chicago has the staying power to hold off the Tigers or the Indians the rest of the way will depend on its pitching staff’s ability to maintain the consistency it has shown so far. The White Sox will also need to maintain the production from a lineup that is ranked fifth in the AL in scoring.
In the Hunt
The Tampa Bay Rays are currently 4.5 games in back of New York in the AL East with a 40-33 record and the third-favorite to win the AL Pennant at 6/1 after starting the season at 9/1. They are 19-18 on the road this year and 21-15 at home. This is the kind of team that you can never go to sleep on as its still has an uncanny way of working itself into the playoffs. While the Rays may never catch the Yankees in the division, they are still one of the best bets in the Wildcard race. Tampa Bay is ranked in the middle of the pack in the AL in scoring with an average of 4.26 runs per game, but it still has one of the top pitching staffs in the league with a 3.57 team ERA.
Falling Off the Pace
Another slow start put the Boston Red Sox in an early hole that they just have not been able to climb out of. Through Monday night’s games, they were still 6.5 games out of first in the AL East with an overall record of 38-35. The team has shown some signs of life with a 9-3 record in its last 12 games, but it still has some major ground to make up to get back in the playoff picture. Boston opened the season at 11/2 to win the AL but the betting public’s confidence has clearly been shaken. It is now listed at 9/1 with five other teams sporting better odds. There is little doubt that the Red Sox can still hit the ball all over the park with the second-most runs in the AL, but a 4.33 team ERA, which is ranked near the bottom of the league, has been their Achilles Heel this year.