How bad has the American League Central been? The last time they had a team even play to be AL champions was 2016 (Cleveland). This division is known for slightly above-average to bad teams for years and not much will change that thinking if you look at the odds below.
Here is a preview of each AL Central squad along with odds from Bovada (visit our Bovada Review) covering several areas and our MLB picks on the best bets.
- Cleveland picked to win AL Central, and Chicago and Minnesota not far behind
- Another long season for Detroit and Kansas City
- According to oddsmakers’ season win totals, AL Central is the worst division in AL and second-worst in MLB
- Win AL Central +140 (1st)
- Win AL +1100 (6th)
- Win World Series +2500 (12th)
- Season Win Total: Over 86.5 (-130)
Cleveland won 92 games a year ago with the youngest everyday lineup in baseball and a payroll that ranked 26th overall. The biggest reason for the decline in the win totals is 12 fewer total games against the Tigers and Royals, though they will face some similar clubs from the National League with a balanced schedule.
This organization will never be more than average in payroll, but with manager Terry Francona and the culture that’s been created, the Guardians are going to be a factor to win the division. The offense revolves around All-Star Jose Ramirez, who has few weaknesses at the plate. If other teammates follow his discipline, Cleveland’s offense will be better than 19th in scoring runs.
Though many claim ERA doesn’t tell a true story, the Guardians were ninth in baseball and had the third-best figure for bullpens, with closer Emmanuel Clase. Cleveland looks like a good bet to win the division and exceed their win total.
Chicago White Sox
- Win AL Central +225 (2nd)
- Win AL +1400 (7th)
- Win World Series +2500 (12th)
- Season Win Total: Under 83.5 (-130)
Arguably the most disappointing team in the AL last year, if not baseball, was Chicago. The White Sox were the second-best-looking team in the Cactus League last spring (Dodgers first) and were primed for a big year. Injuries and poor pitching derailed them early and well past his prime Tony LaRussa has no connection with his players or feel for the modern game.
The Pale Hose let Jose Abreu walk from the middle of their lineup which was puzzling. Chicago should still be better than 18th in runs scored playing in their hitter-friendly park and several players like Luis Robert need a bounce-back season. The hope is new skipper Pedro Grifol will light a fire.
Dylan Cease is a legit ace and if the rest of the staff is relatively healthy this a legit club. The biggest area of concern is improving a 28th-ranked defense. Just lean on the over for the win total. And don’t forget that IL locals can make their bets at any of these Illinois betting sites.
- Win AL Central +225 (2nd)
- Win AL +1500 (8th)
- Win World Series +3500 (15th)
- Season Win Total: Over 83.5 (-120)
The Twins lost, then got Carlos Correa back because Minnesota was the only place he could pass a physical. That helps Minnesota overall, as Correa hit .292 with 22 homers, though with only 64 rbi. More than anything, 140 games from Correa and Byron Buxton would boost an offense that was middle of the road at 4.30 runs a game.
The Twins starting pitching was just out of the Top 10 in most metrics. The issue for this group is nobody throws hard, making them dependent on fooling opposing hitters to miss bats or induce weak contact.
Jorge Lopez and Jhoan Duran are hard throwers out of the bullpen, but getting to them late in the game could again be a conundrum for Minnesota. A good team with flaws makes them a hard choice against the MLB odds.
- Win AL Central +2000 (4th)
- Win AL +5500 (13th)
- Season Win Total: Over 69.5 (-130)
Last season was supposed to be Detroit’s coming-out party. After three consecutive years of improvement which included 77 wins in 2021, most thought .500 or better was on tap for the Tigers. Instead, Detroit won only 66 times and enters 2023 with Eduardo Rodriguez as their ace and Miguel Cabrera retired.
Detroit spent 55 million last offseason and got nothing from Rodriguez, who was a .500 pitcher when he did pitch and Javier Baez regressed to an all-or-nothing hacker and became a defensive liability at shortstop. The Tigers used 17 different starting pitchers a year ago and losing arguably the franchises’ two best young hurlers, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal to elbow surgery just pushes back any real gains.
The best thing the Tigers have is manager A.J. Hinch who has excelled at getting young players to perform, but he needs a clubhouse leader who sets the right tone.
Kansas City Royals
- Win AL Central +4500 (5th)
- Win AL +7500 (14th)
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 69.5 (-115)
To put this into proper perspective, a father who was a Royals fan had a child who was 12 years when Kansas City won the World Series in 2015 (missing decades of failure much older K.C. backers went through), they will be 20 years old this upcoming season and be a witness to a seventh straight losing season.
During the first part of this current rebuild, the turnaround was going to start with a large group of pitching prospects. With the possible exception of Brady Singer and barely Brad Keller, every other supposed “next-gen” starter Kansas City developed and brought through the system is struggling to hang on in the bullpen on a bad team or has moved on long before their 30th birthday. Just the fact that 39-year-old Zack Greinke is the Royals’ No. 2 starter speaks volumes.
Kansas City last year was 27th in run differential and last in nearly all facets of pitching. Though players like Bobby Witt Jr. and Vinnie Pasquantino are the future, the here and now are bleak. Bet under for win total.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.