The Texas Rangers are the two-time defending American League champions, but they'll have their hands full going for a three-peat this season. The New York Yankees won 97 games last year, and got better over the off-season. The Detroit Tigers made it to the ALCS last year, then signed Prince Fielder. And the Los Angeles Angels, perennial contenders, made the biggest off-season splash, signing one of the great bats of our time, Albert Pujols.
Here's a quick preview of the upcoming American League pennant race, and some futures prices being offered at TopBet.com.
Detroit leads the betting on TopBet's AL championship board at +250. The Tigers won the AL Central last year on the strength of an MVP season by SP Justin Verlander and a bopper of an offense that averaged almost five runs a game. And over the off-season Detroit added Fielder to the lineup. The Tigers did suffer a hit this spring, though, when it was learned Victor Martinez would miss the entire season because of a knee injury.
Los Angeles is the second favorite at TopBet to win the AL this year at +300. The Angels have missed the playoffs the last two years, but expect to jump back into contention with the signings of Pujols and starting pitcher CJ Wilson.
The Yankees and Rangers are co-third choices on TopBet's AL pennant betting board at +400. New York won more games than any other team in the American League last year, then added Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda to the pitching staff, although Pineda will start the season on the DL. Texas, meanwhile, lost Wilson but broke out the big bucks to land the latest, greatest thing from Japan, Yu Darvish.
The Boston Red Sox are the fifth pick at TopBet to win the American League this season at +600. Boston, as you'll recall, ended last season with a thud and missed the playoffs. Then they made a bunch of changes, including at the manager position. But the starting rotation should be solid, and the lineup is still tough, so the Sox should again contend.
And the Tampa Bay Rays, who have made the playoffs three of the last four seasons, are getting +1,000 at TopBet to win the AL pennant this year.
Elsewhere on TopBet's AL championship betting board the Toronto Blue Jays are listed at +1,500; the Kansas City Royals at +2,000; the Cleveland Indians at +2,500; the Oakland A's at +3,000; the Chicago White Sox at +3,500; the Minnesota Twins at +4,000; the Seattle Mariners at +5,000; and the Baltimore Orioles at +10,000.