MLB Division Odds: Top American League Value Bets

Wander Franco #5 of the Tampa Bay Rays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on October 02, 2021 in New York City. The Rays defeated the Yankees 12-2.
Image Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball is back, with Opening Day scheduled for April 7, and MLB division odds are on betting boards from coast to coast.

There’s hope in the air as each club starts on level footing with a 0-0 record. Some fanbases have more optimism than others, as any Orioles or A’s fan can attest.

People are overreacting to home runs (or a lack thereof) in spring training. Every team’s coaching staff and front office is excited about their young prospects making progress. Blah, blah, blah. We’re throwing the fandom and soundbites out the window and looking at MLB division odds with an objective lens. More specifically, we’ll try to spot value opportunities on teams with a legitimate chance to vie for a divisional crown.

On top of that, we’ll shop around to find the best price on these recommendations and deliver them straight to your doorstep. (That’s an analogy, of course. We won’t actually show up at your house.)

With that, continues its 2022 MLB betting preview with a breakdown of odds for all six divisions.

All odds are updated as of 5 p.m. ET on March 31.

MLB Division Odds: AL East

  • Toronto Blue Jays +175
  • New York Yankees +195
  • Tampa Bay Rays +320
  • Boston Red Sox +550
  • Baltimore Orioles +15,000

The odds tell the story: This is an extremely competitive division, with no clear-cut favorite expected to run away from the pack.

Investing in the Toronto Blue Jays as the slight favorite to win the AL East is somewhat intriguing. Led by AL MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero, the bluebirds have arguably the most powerful lineup in baseball. They also bolstered their rotation with the additions of Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi, offsetting the loss of Cy Young winner Robbie Ray (signed with Seattle). On top of that, the Jays will get a full season out of last year’s mid-season acquisition, right-hander Jose Berrios, who is one of MLB’s most durable and consistent starting pitchers.

So what’s the catch? Well, Toronto is still a young team that will have to deal with a full season of high expectations in a brutal division. Yes, the Blue Jays have talent across the board, but you can’t crown them kings of the AL East on paper alone. If they stumble, then there are plenty of candidates ready and able to knock the Jays off their preseason betting-odds perch.

What about the second choice on the odds board? Can the Bronx Bombers climb the AL East mountain by the end of September? Certainly. However, there’s not a ton of value at this +195 price tag. (New York is too cheap? Who would’ve thought?)

So where is the value? How about with the team that won the AL East by eight games last season …

AL East Value Bet

Tyler Glasnow #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays delivers a pitch to the Toronto Blue Jays in the first inning at Tropicana Field on April 23, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida.
Image Credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The bet: Tampa Bay Rays +320
Where to bet: PointsBet USA & DraftKings Sportsbook

This isn’t a flashy bet, but it represents some good ol’ fashioned bang for the buck.

Why is everyone sleeping on the Rays? They have claimed the AL East in back-to-back seasons, and there’s no glaring reason to expect a drop-off. Barring injuries, Tampa Bay should be fighting for the division with Toronto and New York every step of the way.

It’s conceivable that the Rays have as good a chance as the Jays and Yanks to claim the division crown, but their +320 payout yields a much healthier return. After all, Tampa Bay’s projected win total stands at 91.5 heading into the season. That’s tied with the Yankees (91.5 at DraftKings) and marginally behind Toronto at 92.5.

Go ahead and give me that warm, fuzzy value in the form of Tampa Bay to win the AL East. Depending on where you shop, the Rays are anywhere from +240 to +320 to win the division, so make sure you snag the best possible price (which we found for you at PointsBet USA and DraftKings).

MLB Division Odds: AL Central

  • Chicago White Sox -200
  • Minnesota Twins +525
  • Detroit Tigers +750
  • Cleveland Guardians +1,100
  • Kansas City Royals +1,400

The White Sox are overwhelming favorites to win the AL Central. That makes plenty of sense considering they are fresh off a 93-win season, boast a top-10 lineup, and a top-five pitching staff. The talent level isn’t the question with this club. The pieces are there. It mostly comes down to price. Are you comfortable laying -200 juice and holding your breath for six months that the White Sox don’t get bitten by the injury bug (or simply underperform)?

If the answer is “Uh, no”, then take your pick on a usurper. But good luck with that, as every other AL Central clubhouse has its fair share of blemishes that aren’t present in Chicago’s. Consider:

  • The Twins will score a bunch of runs (especially after adding Carlos Correa), but their pitching rotation has plenty of questions.
  • The Tigers made several nice offseason moves and should be improved. But they still seem a few pieces away — especially on the mound — from seriously competing for a division crown.
  • The Guardians are playing it conservative. The pitching is there, but Cleveland didn’t do much to improve a bottom-10 offense from 2021.
  • The Royals are in rebuild mode while trying to bridge the gap to a brighter future — not exactly a recipe for winning the division.

So what’s the move here? Is it Chicago or pass in the AL Central? Well, we have a potential value contender that’s at least worth a look.

AL Central Value Bet

Carlos Correa #4 of the Minnesota Twins runs the bases after hitting a home run in the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during a Grapefruit League spring training game at Charlotte Sports Park on March 29, 2022 in Port Charlotte, Florida.
Image Credit: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The bet: Minnesota Twins +525
Where to bet: Caesars Sportsbook

Yes, everything sets up for the White Sox to win the AL Central. But check the headline of this article. We are talking “value bets” and not “obvious bets with extreme juice”. Baseball is a long season that brings plenty of variables. I’m embracing that variability and taking a shot with the Twins to contend for the division crown.

This Minnesota team won back-to-back AL Central titles in 2019 and 2020. Then 2021 happened. The Twins’ first two months of last season can be summed up in two words: Murphy’s Law — anything that could go wrong did, especially when it came to the bullpen and the team’s injured star player. Buried in the standings by mid-May, Minnesota decided to trade away some of its assets with an eye to the future.

Well, the future very well could be now. The Twins made a splash by signing shortstop Carlos Correa, making a statement that they indeed intend to contend for the divisional crown. Minnesota’s lineup has the appearance of a top-10 offense. Unfortunately, the pitching staff is riddled with question marks.

New acquisition Sonny Gray could be a stabilizing force, but relying on past-their-prime Chris Archer and Dylan Bundy for respectable, bounce-back seasons might be asking a bit much. On the bright side, two high-upside prospects — Jhoan Duran and Josh Winder — could factor into the mix at some point in the season.

If the Twins can post an average starting rotation this season and catch a couple of breaks — namely, good health for them and maybe not so much for their division colleagues — they could challenge the White Sox.

If you’re interested in a dark horse to win the AL Central, head over to Caesars Sportsbook, which has Minnesota at +525 compared with +500 at most other sportsbooks.

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MLB Division Odds: AL West

  • Houston Astros -160
  • Los Angeles Angels +380
  • Seattle Mariners +460
  • Texas Rangers +1,800
  • Oakland Athletics +2,500

Like the White Sox, Houston is the odds-on favorite to win its division, priced anywhere from -160 to -182. The Astros already had a high-end starting pitching rotation, and now they get Justin Verlander back after he missed almost all of last season following Tommy John surgery. And even though Houston lost star shortstop Correa to the Twins, this offense is still dangerous from the top down.

The Angels and Mariners are interesting cases. Both have been classic underachievers for several years. Is this the summer one or both finally put it all together? I’m as skeptical as a conspiracy theorist watching a moon-landing documentary.

The Angels revved up their bullpen, but they didn’t exactly fix the starting pitching situation, beyond acquiring a broken-down-and-maybe-rebuilt Noah Syndergaard.

The Mariners made some bold offseason moves, including signing Ray from Toronto to lead the pitching staff. But let’s not forget Seattle was extremely lucky to get to 90 wins last season. The regression monster could take hold. (Let’s also not forget that this franchise hasn’t reached the postseason since 2000!)

The Rangers paid a bundle to add Corey Seager and Marcus Semien to the middle of their infield. However, those additions didn’t solve all the problems for a team that lost 102 games in 2021.

As for the A’s, well, there isn’t much worth saying beyond what’s Jason Scavone said in his AL West Win Totals article. (Point your eyes to Oakland’s “Additions” and “Subtractions” sections). Not only did the A’s get rid of pretty much everyone this offseason, they’re almost certainly not done. That’s a bold strategy Cotton; let’s see if it pays off for them.

AL West Value Bet

Yordan Alvarez #44 of the Houston Astros hits a triple against the Atlanta Braves during the eighth inning in Game One of the World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas.
Image Credit: Elsa/Getty Images

The bet: Houston Astros -160
Where to bet: Caesars Sportsbook

When looking at the AL West division odds, it’s essentially a referendum on Houston, which has taken the crown four of the last five years.

Not only could you argue that the Astros play in the weakest of the AL’s three divisions, but Fangraphs gives them a 71 percent chance to win it again. For comparison, the White Sox have a 65 percent chance to win the AL Central. So there’s a better probability with Houston and at a cheaper price. (Looking even deeper, the Dodgers have a 72 percent chance to take the NL West, and they’re holding onto a -220 price tag. The Brewers are at 72 percent to capture the NL Central and -180 odds.)

So let’s go ahead and swallow hard and lay the number with the Astros. Just make sure you get the best price, which is currently -160 at Caesars, much better than PointsBet (-182), FanDuel (-170), and DraftKings (-175).

Remember: Friends don’t let friends lay unnecessary juice.

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