After Houston ran circles around the competition in the AL West last year, the mission of repeating, though likely, won’t be as easy with Seattle and Texas having improved rosters that could challenge them.
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- Houston Still the Class of the AL West
- Seattle and Texas Gaining Ground
- Oakland is so Bad, They’re Hardly Worth Mentioning
- Win AL West: (-200) 1st
- Win AL: (+300) 1st
- Win World Series: (+600) 1st
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 96.5 Wins
Losing AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander is not an automatic simple replacement. Nevertheless, manager Dusty Baker had five quality starting pitchers he can turn to if Lance McCullers Jr. can provide 20+ starts this season. Baker still has Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia, and Jose Urquidy, any one of whom can give the Astros six innings before turning it over to what was the best bullpen in the majors a year ago.
Offensively, with Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, Michael Brantley, and emerging star Jeremy Pena, the offense won’t be an issue, and adding Jose Abreu from the White Sox only made them more potent.
- Great Pitching
- Lineup Full of Professional Hitters
These hitters collectively don’t take an at-bat off and play for each other. Being “the hunted” is always hard, though Astros players often use that as motivation.
Houston won 106 games a year ago, though we don’t see a 10-game drop, will just lean with them to go OVER on the win total for MLB picks and figure they are in the hunt in the American League.
- Win AL West: (+800) 2nd
- Win AL: (+350) 4th
- Win World Series: (+1600) 8th
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 87.5 Wins
The Seattle Mariners won 90 games a year to finish second in the AL West and make the playoffs. That was Seattle’s first playoff appearance since 2001, thus, it was hardly a disappointing season. Now the goal is to win their division which will be an uphill battle, but maybe the front office will think a little differently.
Seattle has a good collection of young talents like Julio Rodriguez, Jarred Kelenic, and Cal Raleigh along with still-youthful pitchers like George Kirby and Logan Gilbert.
GM Jerry DiPoto, a known trader, has remade the roster of the past two years to add more talent and experience with the likes of Luis Castillo, Kolten Wong, Eugenio Suarez, and Teoscar Hernandez to add versatility and experience.
Is Seattle as good as Houston, no, nonetheless, the goal should be to build a foundation of steady improvement, and as best as possible look to be playing your best baseball in September, because as we have seen, the best club doesn’t always win the World Series, it’s often the hottest one.
Take the OVER for the M’s against the MLB futures odds.
- Win AL West: (+1000) 4th
- Win AL: (+2000) 8th
- Win World Series: (+4000) 15th
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 82.5 Wins
Given Bruce Bochy was thought to be comfortably retired, only two things would have brought him back. The team he would manage could win and he got paid what he wanted. Evidently, Bochy sees something a less keen eye does not in Texas.
Texas has not been afraid to spend money since former big league pitcher Chris Young became the GM. Boche understands pitching and with a rotation of Jacob deGrom, Martin Perez, Jon Gray, Andrew Heaney, and Nathan Eovaldi, that’s at least Top 5 material in baseball 1 thru 5.
For much of last year, Corey Seager and Marcus Semien played uncomfortably in their new surroundings. Both should feel more at home this year and 1B Nathaniel Lowe will continue to improve. Outside of outfielder Adolis Garcia, many of the rest of the spots on Bochy’s lineup card will have inconsistencies.
The Rangers’ bullpen was slightly below average last year overall, however, much better in the 2nd half of the season. They have a collection of live arms and the ability to mix and match. A lean with the OVER, with a possible upside to make the playoffs with the starting pitcher staying intact and the offense moves into the Top 10 after being 12th in runs scored.
Los Angeles Angels
- Win AL West: (+800) 3rd
- Win AL: (+2200) 9th
- Season Win Total: Over/Under 81.5 Wins
What’s Changed To Show Improvement? Though many would enjoy seeing Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani playing in the postseason, that seems unlikely to start a new season.
It starts with starting pitching and though Ohtani can often throw brilliantly if you take into consideration every AL West team’s Top 4 of 5 starters, only Oakland would be subjectively worse. The same would be true of the bullpens, where the Angels’ pensters would grade out 4th in the division.
Even with Trout and Ohtani, the Halos were 25th in runs scored in 2022. The team from Anaheim was 11th in home runs, which tells us they don’t have enough baserunners or players just getting on base to score more runs.
Expect more of the same from the Angels, some great highlights on SportsCenter, with a win total that falls shy of .500 for another losing season.
- Win AL West: +25000 (5th)
- Win AL: +25000 (15th)
- Season Win Total: – O/U59.5
Oakland lost 102 games last season and the last time they reached triple digits in defeats was in 1979. The Athletics lease at the dump known as (Fill in the Blank) Coliseum expires after the 2024 season and talk of a waterfront ballpark have stalled (what else is new) and Las Vegas could be the next stop for another Oakland-based team.
Vegas certainly loves its losers which helps keep building those new hotels and casinos and the A’s would fit right in. Oakland was outscored by 202 runs last season, which was the worst in baseball and there is nothing that points to a different outcome.
Cole Irvin was Oakland’s top starter a year ago and he was traded in January to Baltimore. This franchise has no interest in winning, they’ve treated their limited fan base terribly and ownership just pockets the money from the MLB resources pool.
As far as the betting odds, you bet the Athletics UNDER or pass for season wins.
*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.