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Odds to Win the AL East: Yanks Poised To Take Division Crown For First Time Since 2012

AL East Betting Odds March 4, 2019

The annual offseason spending spree may not have had the impact on MLB’s American League East Division like in seasons past but that doesn’t mean that the strength of its teams has dwindled. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are two of the leading candidates to win the World Series in 2019 and oddsmakers have tabbed the Yankees as the odds-on faves to win the AL East.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Yankees as the -135 betting favorite to win the AL East, which is something they haven’t accomplished since 2012. The Red Sox are not far behind at +120 followed by the Tampa Bay Rays at +950, Toronto Blue Jays at +4000 and Baltimore Orioles at +30000.

Let’s examine each team and see which one is worth dropping units on to win the division title:

New York Yankees -135

Owning the third-best record in baseball typically puts you in a comfortable position to win your division but don’t tell that to the Yankees. That only allowed them to get a wild-card spot last year and they have to compete dollar for dollar with the Red Sox for the top spot.  But the Yanks may have made the bigger offseason splash as they focused on improving their pitching staff by acquiring SP James “Big Maple” Paxton and reliever Adam Ottavino.

New York didn’t really need to improve its batting order as the team was second in MLB in runs scored, first in home runs and second in OPS and RBIs. So, if you’re a Yankees believer, you might as well get on them now because their odds likely won’t get better than this even if they struggle coming out of the gate.

Boston Red Sox +120

It was a surprise to see that the reigning World Series champions are not the division favorites coming into the season but oddsmakers must feel that the losses of relievers Joe Kelly and Craig Kimbrel will cause regression in Beantown. The Red Sox were hands down the best team in MLB last season by winning 108 games and had the second-best run differential (+229) and second-best road record. It doesn’t hurt either when the Sox had two hitters who slugged the stuffing out of the ball in Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez as they combined for 75 homers and 210 RBIs while both hit over .330.

I think with the Red Sox and Yankees, it might as well be Coke and Pepsi. There will be bettors on either side who say either team is better regardless of offseason moves and if you prefer to take the Red Sox to win the division, it’s not like you’re taking a huge gamble. I expect the Sox to get off to a hot start much like the Yankees with this division likely decided in the final month of the season.

Tampa Bay Rays +950

A popular choice to surprise the big spenders of the AL East, the Rays were a revelation last year after winning 90 games and having the third-best home record in the AL behind the Yankees and Red Sox. The Rays may have had to revert to gimmicky tactics to win ball games last year like using relievers as starters but they may not resort to that approach as much with AL Cy Young winner Blake Snell and newly signed Charlie Morton in the rotation.

The Rays pitching staff was their bread and butter last season as they owned a 3.74 ERA (ranked sixth) and held opposing batters to a .230 batting average (third). The Rays were a scrappy team that still managed to rank sixth in hits and third in batting average but they lacked the power of the Sox and Yanks by only managing 150 home runs, which ranked 27th. I think Tampa could very well sneak into a wild-card spot if one of the Yanks or Sox regress but the Rays will need to improve on a combined 17-22 SU record against them from last season if they seriously want to challenge for the AL East crown.

Toronto Blue Jays +4000

It’s sad for a franchise when the expected highlight of their upcoming season is when prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will finally get called up to the big leagues. Taking one look at the depth chart on the Jays roster and it starts to become clear that the postseason runs of 2014 and 2015 are far in the rear-view mirror.

The Blue Jays still crushed the ball last year by slugging 217 home runs (ranked fifth) but they ranked in the bottom half of MLB in every other major offensive category other than doubles. Some teams can still get by with below-average hitting (for example, the Rays) but the pitching has to do its part and that doesn’t appear to be the case for Toronto. The Jays’ pitchers owned a collective 4.85 ERA last year (ranked 27th) and the team didn’t make any major moves to address the starting rotation. Maybe new manager Charlie Montoyo can motivate the squad more than John Gibbons has over the last few seasons but at +4000, this team will be lucky to finish with a record better than 81-81 this season.

Baltimore Orioles +30000

After losing 115 games last year and owning the worst run differential in MLB (-270), not much has changed in Baltimore and it looks like it could get worse before it gets better. The Orioles parted with all-stars Manny Machado and Adam Jones and the cupboard is pretty bare, to say the least. I won’t spend too much time on the Orioles as I already think that this is enough attention for a team that is so bad it can’t even say it’s tanking. Baltimore ranked dead last in ERA and opponent batting average and 28th in strikeouts and their odds reflect exactly what everyone else thinks: they have no shot to win the AL East. Thank you, next.

My Pick To win the AL East

New York Yankees -135

I’m going to ride with the Evil Empire on this one because I thought they had a good shot to overtake the Sox last year to win the division before Aaron Judge got hurt and starter Luis Severino forgot how to pitch. I expect both of those players to have huge bounce-back seasons and for the Yankees relievers to shut the door once games get to the sixth inning. I also think Giancarlo Stanton could have a monster year in his second season in pinstripes and to get them at -135 now may be the best value because if they start hot, bettors won’t see their odds at a plus value again.

Odds to win the 2019 American League East
New York Yankees-135
Boston Red Sox+120
Tampa Bay Rays+950
Toronto Blue Jays+4000
Baltimore Orioles+30000

Odds as of March 26 at Bovada


Archived Articles

The MLB all-star break has arrived and after crossing the 90-game threshold, the Boston Red Sox have the best record in baseball and are the betting favorites to own the American League East Division in 2018.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Red Sox listed as -130 faves followed by the New York Yankees at -115, with the odds increased dramatically for the Tampa Bay Rays at +60000 and the Toronto Blue Jays at +90000.

It’s clear this is a two-dog race between these hated rivals for the divisional crown so let’s break down each team’s first half and project how they’ll fare in the stretch run of the season before October baseball.

Boston Has Been “Straight Cash Homie”

With Boston owning the best record in MLB at the halfway point of the season, bettors have been cashing in when the Red Sox take the field. Boston is 68-30 SU in 98 games and if you had bet $100 on each game for the BoSox, you’d be up to $1,633 which makes them the most profitable team in the majors. To put that in perspective, the next closest division leader is Philadelphia at $792.

One of the reasons for Boston’s profit margin is its road record, the best in MLB at 34-17 SU in 51 games, and the team went into the break surging at 17-3 SU in its last 20 games overall. Another factor that is paying dividends is that the BoSox are a very reliable runline bet as a favorite with records of 30-17 ATS in 47 games at Fenway Park and 29-22 ATS in 51 games on the road. Their next 10 games coming out of the break are against teams with records below .500 so look for this trend to continue until they host the Yankees again at the beginning of August.

Yankees Can’t Be Dismissed with Trade Deadline Looming

Although the Yankees have the best bullpen ERA in MLB (2.69), that number jumps to 4.01 for their starters. Outside of ace Luis Severino, pitchers CC Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka, Domingo German and Sonny Gray all own ERAs over 3.50, with Gray owning the worst at an ugly 5.46 in 18 starts. Gray, a disaster since being acquired from the A’s last season, was supposed to be a boost for a rotation that hasn’t had a significant signing since nabbing Tanaka in 2014.

This is why the upcoming trade deadline at the end of the month could see the Yanks as buyers to improve their starting five. J.A. Happ, Jacob deGrom and Andrew Heaney are just some of the hurlers the Yanks have been linked to and if they’re able to nab one or two pitchers, they cannot be overlooked to surge past an already dominant Red Sox squad.

Which Team Should You Wager on to Win AL East?  

It’s kind of a coin flip at this stage because these teams are so evenly matched and still have 10 games left against each other. With the Red Sox having a 4.5-game lead, they clearly have the current edge in the standings but their strength of schedule could lead to some late-season struggles.

Boston has 33 games left against teams with winning records, including series against the Indians, Phillies, Astros and Braves, whereas New York only has 22 games left against plus-.500 clubs. If I had to put my money down, it would be for the BoSox but I wouldn’t feel great about it when you factor in the upcoming trade deadline and that New York may not be done tinkering with an already loaded roster.

Odds to win the 2018 American League East
Boston Red Sox-130
New York Yankees-115
Tampa Bay Rays+60000
Toronto Blue Jays+90000

Odds as of July 17 at Bovada

Archived Articles

At about the 60-game mark of the 2018 Major League Baseball season, a unique development is unfolding in the always ultra-competitive AL East, as the Yankees and Red Sox will enter the week as the best two teams in baseball. Despite trailing the Red Sox by a game in the standings, the Yankees are a -140 favorite to take the division with the Red Sox at -120.

Unlike other pro sports leagues, the penalty for getting into the playoffs as a non-division winner in MLB is severe as one of these teams will likely be forced into playing a one-game wild-card playoff game while the division winner will gain an automatic berth into the divisional round.

With the division likely to be settled by the slimmest of margins, here’s some things to consider before placing your AL East futures bet:

The case for the Yankees:

It’s close, but the Yankees have an easier schedule than the Red Sox do for the rest of the regular season as their remaining opponents have a combined win percentage of .477 while Boston’s remaining opponents are at .484. Could a difference of .007 really be enough to settle the division? When playoff spots are often determined by a game or two, you’re damn right it could.  

The Yankees have the best offense in baseball as they lead the league in runs per game, home runs and OPS. As a result, it’s rare that they’re out of a game, which makes them hard to finish off even if they’re let down by their pitching.

Speaking of that pitching, in particular their not-so-reliable starting rotation, the Yankees are reportedly all-in on adding a big-time starting pitcher to their rotation prior to the trade deadline. That worked out pretty well for the Astros last season, didn’t it?

The case for the Red Sox:

It might not seem like much, but the Red Sox have played three fewer home games than the Yankees so far this season. Considering how well they’ve played at home — 20-8 with a league-best 6.21 runs per game — having a few extra home games could be massive.

Another edge the Red Sox have is in the pitching department — both in the starting rotation and the bullpen. Their bullpen, especially, has been dominant with the third-fewest blown saves in the league (the Yankees have three more blown saves than Boston) and ranks second in save percentage (the Yankees rank 15th). 

My verdict:

I’m taking the better value and betting on the Red Sox. It’s very close, but I think those extra home games for Boston could be the difference. The Yankees are expected to add a quality arm to their rotation before the trade deadline, but nothing is guaranteed. As a result, I think the Red Sox are more well-rounded.

The amazing thing for us fans and bettors is that we get to sit back and watch these teams play 13 more games against each other this season, including six games in mid- to late September. With seven of those games in Boston, that could be another tiny edge to help put the Red Sox over the top.

Odds to win the 2018 American League East
New York Yankees-140
Boston Red Sox-120
Tampa Bay Rays+6600
Toronto Blue Jays+20000
Baltimore Orioles+50000

Odds as of June 4 at Bovada

Archived Articles

The American League East is shaping up again to be the most competitive division in the AL. With two of baseball’s major markets competing for the top spot, it’s no wonder that teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will back up the Brinks truck and try to retool each offseason to own the AL East crown.

Online sportsbook Bovada has released AL East divisional odds for bettors to cash in on. Below is a team-by-team breakdown to see which club deserves your hard-earned dollars and which ones aren’t worth a pinch of pine tar.

New York Yankees -140

The Yankees finished two games back of Boston for the division lead with 91 wins last season.

After a few years of building up their farm system and developing within, the Yankees took a page out of the Evil Empire playbook and traded for reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton. Pairing Stanton with Aaron Judge has not only made New York the favorite to win the AL East but also one of the favorites to win the World Series.

The Yankees finished two games back of Boston for the division lead with 91 wins last season and made it all the way to the ALCS as a wild card.

New York didn’t really lose any of its key players and hired Aaron Boone to replace Joe Girardi as manager. On paper, this team is a juggernaut.

Boston Red Sox +130

Despite winning 93 games, the vibe of the 2017 Boston Red Sox was one of underachievement. Boston was searching to fill the David Ortiz-sized hole in its lineup but may have found the answer by signing power hitter J.D. Martinez to suit up at Fenway Park. Martinez clobbered 45 home runs last season and should stabilize the middle of the order for Boston. 

The Red Sox may not be done tinkering with their roster and could add more firepower to the lineup if they’re to compete with the Yankees. The Sox also need to perform better vs their divisional rival if they plan to claim another division title as they finished 8-11 SU in 19 games vs New York last season. With plenty of youth in the batting order along with Chris Sale and David Price at the top of their rotation, the Red Sox won’t be a pushover.

Toronto Blue Jays +1000

The Jays were awful on the road last season at 34-47 SU.

The Blue Jays finished 76-86 last season after making the playoffs in back-to-back years. Toronto has had to play small ball with its acquisitions this offseason as the front office doesn’t have the green light to sign players to nine-figure contracts. The Jays were awful on the road last season at 34-47 SU and injuries to key players like Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez along with the complete disappearing act of Jose Bautista left this team in a funk all year.

Toronto’s starting pitching will need to rebound if bettors want to invest in the +850 price tag. If the Jays can get off to a hot start and get a bounce-back effort from the starting rotation, ownership may deem the club a buyer in the trade market, which could push the Jays into further contention.

Tampa Bay Rays +4000

The Rays will be relying on up-and-coming prospects in 2018 and that may not be enough to get them to the top of the division. Tampa’s budget-minded ownership sold off most of the team’s offensive contributors last season and the Rays could be in line for their fifth consecutive losing season after finishing 80-82 in 2017.

Led by Chris Archer on the bump, the Rays should still be somewhat competitive as they try to outhustle the big-market teams with unheralded prospects on the mound and in the batter’s box. While that formula took them to a World Series in 2008, expecting that strategy to pay off immediately with the Yanks and Sox in their division would be a fool’s errand.

Baltimore Orioles +5000

The projected basement-dweller of the AL East is the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s finished at 75-87 last season and while there are some blue-chip players in their lineup (Machado, Jones, Schoop), that talent doesn’t seem to translate to the diamond.

The Orioles had a September to forget last season and finished 7-20 SU. Another reason for Baltimore’s downfall was its starting pitching, which ranked 14th among 15 AL teams in ERA, hits, runs and home runs allowed. Considering that ownership has kicked around the idea of dealing superstar Manny Machado, this team can’t be seriously considered as a contender in the AL East.

Odds to win the 2018 American League East
New York Yankees-140
Boston Red Sox+130
Toronto Blue Jays+1000
Tampa Bay Rays+4000
Baltimore Orioles+5000

Odds as of March 28 at BetOnline