American League 2011 Odds, Season Predictions, and More

It may not look that way with all the cold still blitzing the Northeastern U.S. but it’s time for the Boys of Summer to return. MLB betting gets going later this week. So it’s time to make our picks for the pennants. We’ll start with the American League.

American League East odds

Boston Red Sox: -160

New York Yankees: +190

Tampa Bay Rays: +800

Toronto Blue Jays: +1600

Baltimore Orioles: +1800

No love for the defending champion Tampa Bay Rays at books like Bodog. I suppose oddsmakers are scared off by the departures of Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and Matt Garza. Still, I like the Rays to finish ahead of the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers will live up to their name with the bats but their rotation is very shaky after C.C. Sabathia and Phil Hughes. Tampa should get a big year out of youngster Jeremy Hellickson; the Garza trade opened up a spot for him.

But the East hast to belong to Boston this season. The Red Sox added two MVP candidates in Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to an already-potent lineup and have a deep pitching staff. I see 100-plus wins in their near future. The Jays and Orioles don’t look half bad this season on paper, the Jays because of their young talent and the Orioles because of their veteran bats, but life in the AL East is tough.

Free pick: Red Sox -160

American League Central odds

Minnesota Twins: +150

Chicago White Sox: +160

Detroit Tigers: +200

Cleveland Indians: +2000

Kansas City Royals: +2500

Every sports betting blog or fan has a different opinion on which team out of the Twins, White Sox and Tigers take the AL Central this year. Personally, I prefer the White Sox. They have an extremely deep, capable pitching staff and Adam Dunn will help make their lineup potent in a ballpark that favors hitters.

The Twins have health question marks (Justin Morneau especially but also Joe Mauer) and the back end of their rotation leaves a bit to be desired. The Detroit Tigers have the best top-end talent in the division with guys like Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander but lack depth. Kansas City has the majors’ best farm system but isn’t ready for prime time. Cleveland is a joke; its odds should be below K.C.’s.

Free pick: White Sox +160

American League West odds

Texas Rangers: +115

Oakland Athletics: +195

Los Angeles Angels: +225

Seattle Mariners: +1800

With or without Cliff Lee, the Rangers are still the most talented team in the AL West. In Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton, they have at least three guys with superstar ability. Mike Napoli and Adrian Beltre add even more pop to their potent offense. The Rangers’ pitching may be slightly suspect but Derek Holland could fix that problem if he breaks out.

Oakland is the hot sleeper pick thanks to its solid young pitching. But will the A’s score enough? It’s questionable. Some bettors want to give the Angels a mulligan after they flopped in 2010; I don’t. Their core is aging and their best hitter, Kendrys Morales, isn’t fully recovered from his broken leg. Seattle is obviously an afterthought.

Free pick: Rangers +115

Wild Card pick: Tampa Bay Rays

American League Pennant pick: Boston Red Sox

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