The American League hasn’t had all three division winners repeat in the same season since 2003 when the New York Yankees (East), Minnesota Twins (Central) and Oakland A’s (West) turned the trick. Could it happen this year? Oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com think it’s quite possible.
The Boston Red Sox won the AL East last year with a record of 93-69, two games ahead of the Yankees. Boston had been favored to repeat – until the Yankees traded for Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, last year’s MLB home-run leader. Now New York is a slight +150 favorite on the odds to win the AL East for the first time since 2012, with Boston at +175.
The Red Sox recently countered the Stanton move by signing free-agent outfielder J.D. Martinez. He hit 45 bombs in 2017 split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Boston needed to add a power bat after hitting just 168 homers last year, fourth-fewest in baseball. Realistically, the only other team with a chance in the AL East might be the Toronto Blue Jays (+700).
The Cleveland Indians are heavy -400 favorites on the odds to win the AL Central for a third straight season. The Tribe were 102-60 last year, winning the division by 17 games over the second-place Minnesota Twins (+600). Cleveland had a 2-0 series lead over the Yankees in the ALDS but lost the final three games. The AL Central might be MLB’s worst division because the Kansas City Royals (+1000), Chicago White Sox (+2500) and Tigers (+2500) all are rebuilding. The Royals lost most of their best players to free agency.
The Houston Astros won their division for the first time last season on the way to the franchise’s first World Series title, and they are -160 favorites to repeat on the odds to win the AL West. The Astros might be better on paper in 2018 with a full season of ace pitcher Justin Verlander and the offseason trade addition of another pitcher, Gerrit Cole, from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houston led the majors with 896 runs scored in 2017.
The Los Angeles Angels are +400 to win the AL West for the first time since 2014. They had a fabulous offseason by winning the Shohei Ohtani free agent derby; he was a hitting and pitching star in Japan. The Angels mostly view him as a starting pitcher first, but Ohtani will get some time as a designated hitter as well. The longest active playoff drought in the majors belongs to the Seattle Mariners, who haven’t played extra baseball since 2001. That was the last time they won the division. Seattle is at +600 in the AL West.
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Source: Heavy Sports