Let the Race Begin!
It’s no surprise that the Houston Astros are the favorites to repeat as American League champs but the Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Guardians are also top choices to represent the Junior Circuit in the World Series this year.
Let’s check out the MLB futures odds and talk about the best bets in our World Series futures MLB picks.
The AL Fab 5
Houston Astros (+325)
The Astros' big loss was watching Justin Verlander take the money and run to the Mets but let’s not forget that this rotation is still stacked with:
- Framber Valdez: LHP
- Lance McCullers Jr.: RHP
- Cristian Javier: RHP
- Luis Garcia: RHP
- Jose Urquidy: RHP
The defending World Series champs are the favorites for a reason and we should also note they replaced 38-year-old first baseman Yuli Gurriel, who hit .242 with 8 home runs and 53 RBI, with 36-year-old Jose Abreu who batted .304 with 15 dingers and 75 RBI for the White Sox last season. Yeah, I’ll take that trade.
New York Yankees (+350)
At odds of -105 to win the AL East and (+350) to win the pennant, I don’t see the Bombers as a particularly good value here despite having a big barrel in the clean-up spot for ostensibly nine more years with Aaron Judge and a dynamite top two in the rotation consisting of Gerrit Cole and Carlos Rodon.
But then we have aging stars like Giancarlo Stanton who still has plenty of pop in his bat but hit a paltry .211 last season coupled with 37-year-old Josh Donaldson who chipped in at .222, and another big banger in Anthony Rizzo who also batted a light .224 in 2021. These big bats need to get on base more often if the Yankees are to make a successful run at the AL crown.
Toronto Blue Jays (+800)
If you’re looking for a relative dark horse with good value then you could do worse than the Blue Jays in 2023. It’s fair to say Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had a down year in 2022 compared to his All-World 2021 season in which he batted .311, slammed 48 home runs, and had 111 RBI.
But let’s reveal what a “slump” season looks like if you’re a 23-year-old phenom. All Guerrero did was hit .274 with 32 homers and 97 RBI. That is not quite what you might expect to read when anticipating disappointing numbers.
However, one man does not a team make and the Jays have brought back six starters in their lineup and four starting pitchers from last year while adding a lightning bolt in 26-year-old Daulton Varsho who blasted 27 long balls last year for Arizona and is one of the best defensive outfielders in the game.
Seattle Mariners (+850)
The Mariners gave their starving fanbase the best season they have had in nearly 20 years by wrapping the 2022 campaign with a 90-72 record and knocked off the Blue Jays in the ALWC before getting tapped out, 3-0, by the eventual World Series champion Astros in the ALDS.
This year’s edition should be on par, if not better, than last year’s as the reigning American League Rookie of the Year, Julio Rodriguez, will have a year under his belt, and third baseman Eugenio Suarez is always good for at least 30 homers a season.
Teoscar Hernandez is a big addition to the Mariners’ lineup as the 30-year-old comes equipped with a loud bat that will enhance this starting nine.
We should also note that Seattle’s rotation is among the best in the bigs with:
- Luis Castillo: RHP
- Robbie Ray: LHP
- George Kirby: RHP
- Logan Gilbert: RHP
- Marco Gonzales: LHP
At odds of (+850) to win the AL title, Seattle is worth taking a flier.
Cleveland Guardians (+900)
Cleveland dusted the AL Central field last season, pulling away in the second half and leaving the White Sox standing still in second place, trailing by 11 games when the regular season concluded.
And while the Guardians were seemingly content with their roster, spending a quiet offseason with only a few specific needs, they did shore up their void at catcher when they signed veteran catcher Mike Zunino to a one-year deal and added a decent bat when they inked first baseman Josh Bell to a two-year, $33 million contract.
I’m not convinced the Guardians were good enough to be this quiet. The minor signings they did make don’t smack of a team that substantially improved.
It wouldn’t surprise me if the Twins usurped the Guardians as the AL Central kings this season, and we can never count out the White Sox making a run either.
MLB Futures Across the Books
Check out the best US betting sites available in order to make secure wagers in your own home state.
*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.