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AL Central Odds: Indians Remain Heavy Betting Favorite

AL Central Divisional Odds - July 17

MLB has reached its all-star break and now is the time to set the table for the second half of the season with a look at what team has the edge to snag the AL Central Division championship. At the end of the first half, the Cleveland Indians hold a 7.5-game lead in the division and because of that they are -100000 favorites to go on and clinch the division. The Minnesota Twins trail the Indians and are +2500, with the Detroit Tigers rounding out the top three at +10000.

Cleveland has some Vulnerabilities

After a strong first half to the tune of a 52-43 SU record, the Indians are in the driver’s seat to capture their third straight division title. However, they need to shore up their bullpen if they want to hang on to their top spot. The relievers have a combined 5.28 ERA this season and have 11 blown saves, one more than they had in all of 2017. Eyes can be on closer Cody Allen not carrying his weight as he has a 4.66 ERA even though he has only blown one save. Heading into the all-star break, Allen had surrendered 12 runs over 14.2 innings since the start of June. Cleveland could be provided with help shortly after the break as two-time all-star Andrew Miller is poised to return from the disabled list.

Indians Outlook in the Second Half

Cleveland has been red-hot at home this season, sporting a record of 31-19 SU, and will have 31 home games to play in the back half of the year. However, the Indians have had their struggles on the road, going 21-24 SU, and still have 36 road games looming. Last season they went 55-20 in the second half, including a remarkable 25-4 SU record in September. Cleveland still has seven games against the best team in baseball in the Boston Red Sox, four of them at home and three at Fenway Park. The Indians, who have a .683 winning percentage against divisional opponents, have 35 games remaining vs AL Central foes. However, they are just 3-6 against Minnesota, a team they’ll play 10 more times.

Who Can Catch Cleveland?

Although the Indians have a big lead in the AL Central, there seems to be one team that has a shot at catching the division leaders. The Twins are that team. They entered the all-star break 44-50 SU and winners of eight of their last 10 contests. There have been some red flags with this club, which made the playoffs last year but is on the cusp of letting the 2018 season slip away. The biggest factor that pops out is that Minnesota is just 21-for-40 in save opportunities, a .525 conversion rate that is dead last in the majors. Closer Fernando Rodney has a 3.12 ERA and five blown saves, but three of them came in April. Since the start of May, Rodney has allowed just seven runs over 27 innings.

Minnesota could be getting a big boost in its starting rotation shortly after the all-star break with Ervin Santana making rehab starts in Triple-A. Santana has had a sub-4.00 ERA in four of his last five seasons but has yet to toe the rubber for the Twins in 2018. With the aforementioned bullpen issues, Minnesota is 5-16 in one-run games this year, the worst win percentage in that situation in MLB. But the Twins are 6-3 vs the Indians this year with 10 games remaining, so there’s room for them to make a race in the AL Central Division. If they can swing those one-run games back closer to a .500 record, Minnesota at +2500 could be worth a wager.

Odds to win the 2018 American League Central
TeamOdds
Cleveland Indians-100000
Minnesota Twins+2500
Detroit Tigers+10000
Chicago White Sox+100000
Kansas City Royals+100000

Odds as of July 17 at BetWay

Archived Articles

Coming into the 2018 MLB season, the Cleveland Indians were the clear-cut favorite to dominate and win the American League Central Division. Fast-forward to June and while they’re still the favorite at -600, the domination part has yet to come to fruition as the Indians have only a 2.5-game lead over the Tigers. Will Cleveland get its poop in a group? Here are some reasons why it might not be the juggernaut it used to be and which team could possibly topple the Indians in the AL Central.

Indians Bullpen has been awful

The Cleveland pitching staff was incredible last season, topping the majors with a collective 3.30 ERA, seven complete games, 19 shutouts and the fewest number of walks allowed. While they’re still leading MLB this season in walks allowed and complete games, the staff’s ERA has ballooned to 4.34 and the bullpen has nine blown saves through 60 games, which has almost surpassed their total from last season (10).

Relievers Andrew Miller and Cody Allen were the linchpins of the Cleveland bullpen but Miller’s ERA has jumped from 1.44 to 4.60 this season and he’s returned to the DL while Allen’s ERA has increased from 2.94 to 3.75. This has pushed the bullpen ERA to 5.92, the worst in baseball. The fact that these two stalwarts have shown vulnerability should make bettors wary of investing in the -600 price tag.

Performances On The Road

Cleveland tied with Houston for the best road record in the majors last season with a 53-28 SU record but this season, it’s been a slog for the reigning AL Central champions. Through 29 away games, the Indians are 12-17 SU and are ranked 21st in MLB in runs per game (4.00).

They’ve taken care of business within their division but outside of it, they have been overwhelmed, sporting a losing record against the other two AL divisions, including a glaring 8-12 SU record vs the AL West. That is a huge difference compared to last season when they went 24-8 SU in 32 games vs their western foes. With 19 games in June vs divisional opponents, this could be a make-or-break month for Cleveland.

Which team could upset the Indians?

The ineptitude of the Tigers, Royals, Twins and White Sox has pretty much gift-wrapped the Indians the divisional title but if I had to wager on any team to unseat Cleveland, it would be Minnesota.

This has been an injury season of hell for the Twinkies with Joe Mauer, Byron Buxton and starting pitcher Ervin Santana all currently on the DL. The odds are stacked against Minnesota to make any noise (and at +500, the value isn’t great) but if the Twins can weather the storm and stay above .500 for the month of June, they could get most of their key players back from injury and make a serious challenge in the dog days of summer. 

Odds to win the 2018 American League Central
TeamOdds
Cleveland Indians-600
Minnesota Twins+500
Detroit Tigers+2000
Kansas City Royals+10000
Chicago White Sox+15000

Odds as of June 4 at BetOnline

Archived Articles

The 2018 MLB season is almost here, and both oddsmakers and baseball bettors are rejoicing as a result. When it comes to futures betting, one of the most popular wagers year in and year out comes from the divisions.

Bovada has released odds on each team’s chances of winning its division, and the Cleveland Indians are the heavy -550 favorite to claim the AL Central banner for the third season in a row. The Minnesota Twins (+325), Chicago White Sox (+3300), Kansas City Royals (+5000) and Detroit Tigers (+5000) are all available in plus-money.

Here’s a betting breakdown of each AL Central team:

Cleveland Indians -550

The Indians had the best record in the American League a year ago but once again came up short in the playoffs by blowing a 2-0 lead to the New York Yankees in the ALDS. The pitching staff, led by AL Cy Young winner Corey Kluber, was arguably the best in baseball and should continue to be a force in 2018.

Manager Terry Francona has said his team will “return with a vengeance” this season, and offseason additions like set-up reliever Nick Goody and first baseman Yonder Alonso will provide reinforcements to accomplish the feat. But on the heels of back-to-back playoff collapses, baseball fans in Northeast Ohio continue to be left wanting more.

Minnesota Twins +325

The Twins surprised everybody a year ago by becoming the first team in MLB history to make the playoffs after losing 100 games the previous season. Minnesota eventually lost to the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card game, but a new-found ray of hope returned to the Twin Cities after six straight down years.

The Twins are the first team in MLB history to make the playoffs after losing 100 games the previous year

Minny’s youth movement kicked into overdrive in 2017, and rather than make some major free-agent splashes, the Twinkies opted to stay the course and give their young studs room to grow in the offseason. There are rumblings regarding the organization acquiring a veteran starting pitcher via either a trade or free agency to bolster the staff, but as of this writing Ervin Santana, Jose Berrios and Kyle Gibson ranked atop the rotation. I don’t think 2017 was a fluke; this team could give Cleveland a serious push for the AL Central this year.

Chicago White Sox +3300

Coming off a disappointing 2017 campaign, the White Sox are once again the forgotten team in the Windy City. With a record of 67-95, the Pale Hose have now missed the postseason for 10 straight years. Don’t expect that trend to change in 2018.

Chicago has missed the postseason for 10 straight years

Chicago is clearly in rebuild mode right now, so it’s very likely to see established players like Jose Abreu and Avisail Garcia hit the trade market in favor of adding more young talent to a roster that’s already one of the youngest in the league. A surprising Twins-esque run to the postseason is not likely in the cards for the downtrodden franchise.

Kansas City Royals +5000

The Royals’ 2015 World Series championship turned the tide for a franchise that had been irrelevant for decades, but since then they’ve gone 81-81 and 80-82 while missing the postseason altogether. As evidenced by their +1000 price, KC is a long shot to garner its ninth division title this season.

Kansas City is at a crossroads right now, as the farm system is relatively barren and the future is murky with their star players. Despite the team offering him a seven-year, $147-million contract, first baseman Eric Hosmer remains a free agent. There are more question marks than answers for the team, so backing them in any sort of futures bet comes with a significant risk.

Detroit Tigers +5000

Detroit tied San Francisco for the worst record in baseball a year ago at 64-98, and manager Brad Ausmus was promptly shown the door as a result. Ron Gardenhire occupies that job now and he’ll inherit a roster with a significant number of holes moving forward.

A long-term rebuild is in the works in the Motor City, so acquiring prospects and giving the young guys who are currently on the big-league roster as much playing time as possible is the best course of action for the Tigers. That’s not a recipe for a good futures bet, however, so don’t even think about going near the +2500 price if you know what’s good for you.

Odds to win the 2018 American League Central
TeamOdds
Cleveland Indians-550
Minnesota Twins+325
Chicago White Sox+3300
Kansas City Royals+5000
Detroit Tigers+5000

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada

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