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Odds to Win the 2018 American and National League Pennants

American and National League Champion Odds

The MLB season has reached its midway point and the odds to win the American League and National League pennants are out. The AL has three teams that have pulled away from the pack in the Houston Astros (+220), Boston Red Sox (+235) and New York Yankees (+275). Meanwhile, the NL is a lot tighter with four clubs holding similar odds to clinch the pennant. Those teams are the Chicago Cubs (+330), Los Angeles Dodgers (+400), Atlanta Braves (+650) and Philadelphia Phillies (+650).

Although there are other teams in the AL that can contest for the pennant, I think it’s a three-horse race and there’s one that has the edge over the others. As for the NL, the four clubs already mentioned are definitely worth a wager, but there could be a couple other teams providing decent value.

Here’s my pick for the AL out of the big three and my two sleeper picks outside of the top four teams in the NL.

American League Pick

The Boston Red Sox +235

The BoSox have the best record in baseball at 68-30 with nearly a .700 winning percentage. They broke the MLB record for most wins prior to the all-star break by three, as the previous record was 65 held by the 1969 Baltimore Orioles. In addition, the Sox are on pace for 112 victories, which would mark the first time since 1946 that the club won more than 100 games; they lost in the World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals that season. Also, 112 victories would be the most wins in a single season in franchise history dating back to 1912 when they won 105 games and beat the New York Giants in the World Series.

Boston’s offseason signing of J.D. Martinez is worth each and every dollar of the five-year, $110-million contract. Martinez has a shot to become the 11th AL player to win the triple crown as he currently ranks first in home runs (29) and RBIs (80) and third in batting average (.328). Overall, the Red Sox have the most potent offense in the majors, racking up 530 runs, 30 more than the second-ranked Astros.

It should be noted that starter Eduardo Rodriguez will be out for some time following a bad ankle injury in the series against the Blue Jays prior to the all-star break. The Red Sox are 16-3 SU this season when the big lefty toes the rubber. With this most recent injury, Boston now has three starting pitchers on the DL in Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz and Steven Wright. Despite those injuries, the Red Sox are still a very dangerous team and my pick to claim the AL pennant.

2018 American League Pennant Odds
Houston Astros+220
Boston Red Sox+235
New York Yankees+275
Cleveland Indians+550
Seattle Mariners+750
Oakland Athletics+3500
Los Angeles Angels+9000
Minnesota Twins+27500
Tampa Bay Rays+27500
Detroit Tigers+40000
Toronto Blue Jays+40000

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

National League Sleeper Picks

Milwaukee Brewers +700

The Brewers enter the break 2.5 games behind the Cubs with a 55-43 record and have the fourth-best NL run differential at +49. Milwaukee has two starting pitchers on the disabled list in Zach Davies and Jimmy Nelson, yet has allowed the third-fewest runs in the NL (377). The Brewers could get a boost on the offensive side of the ball as they are the front-runner in the odds to land Orioles standout Manny Machado.

Milwaukee has a well-rounded offense and its two big acquisitions in the offseason are carrying the load. The Brewers traded for Christian Yelich in January, and the California native ranks third on the team with a .292 batting average and was named to the NL all-star team. Similarly to Yelich, Lorenzo Cain joined Milwaukee in the offseason, signing a five-year, $80-million contract, and has also been named to the NL all-star team. Cain’s batting average is one percentage point better than Yelich’s at .293 but he trails in OPS .823 to .820. Aside from the two new players, Jesus Aguilar is leading the NL with 24 home runs and is third in RBIs with 70.

The Brewers have some work to do if they want to catch the Cubs in the NL Central Division. But their two offseason acquisitions have hit their stride. Late-season comebacks for a couple of starting pitchers and a potential big trade with the Orioles and this club could be poised to snag the NL pennant.

Arizona Diamondbacks +850

Last season, the Diamondbacks were second in the NL with a +153 run differential in a hotly contested NL West Division, while this year the D-backs are +43 at the all-star break and find themselves a half-game behind the Dodgers. Arizona’s starting rotation has been hit with the injury bug, losing Taijuan Walker for the season to Tommy John surgery following his third start in 2018 and having Robbie Ray go on the DL and miss all of May and most of June. The D-backs also were without Shelby Miller until late June, but Clay Buchholz was put on the DL shortly after his return.

Arizona has had an up-and-down season thus far, having a stretch of 21-8 to start the season followed by a 5-18 record in its next 23 games and now a 27-18 streak heading into the all-star break. Miller was horrific after his return from the DL, compiling a 0-4 record, 11.40 ERA and 2.07 WHIP, and has since been put back on the DL with elbow inflammation. Buchholz, who has gone 2-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 0.96 WHIP since signing in May, will return to the club in the not too distant future.

Overall, the Diamondbacks offense has been strong all season. It’s a matter of whether their pitching staff can become healthy again. There’s plenty of “ifs” with this club with Ray, Miller and Buchholz all having their issues, but if even two of the three can return to form, Arizona could make a push for the NL pennant.

2018 National League Pennant Odds
Chicago Cubs+333
Los Angeles Dodgers+400
Atlanta Braves+650
Philadelphia Phillies+650
Milwaukee Brewers+700
Washington Nationals+700
Arizona Diamondbacks+850
San Francisco Giants+1800
St. Louis Cardinals+1800
Colorado Rockies+2800
New York Mets+25000
Pittsburgh Pirates+30000
Cincinnati Reds+45000
San Diego Padres+50000
Miami Marlins+80000

Odds as of July 16 at Bovada

Archived Articles

Entering the 2018 MLB season, the odds to win the American League and National League pennants indicate that each league has three standout contenders. In the AL it’s the Astros (+270), Yankees (+325) and Indians (+350) who are separating themselves from the pack, while the Dodgers (+300), Cubs (+350) and Nationals (+375) are the clear favorites in the NL.

While any of those six teams is worthy of a wager to win its respective pennant, there’s a few teams that might not be on your radar that are providing fantastic bang for your buck. 2017 was a super chalky season, but I think we could be in for a few surprises this season.

Here’s my favorite sleeper picks to win a league championship in 2018 along with one GIGANTIC ripoff that you shouldn’t waste your money on:

American League Sleeper Picks

Twins +1400

No respect for the Twinkies. Well, calling them the Twinkies probably isn’t very respectful either, but among 2017’s AL playoff teams, they easily have the worst odds to win the pennant this year. Thanks to the Tigers going into extreme rebuild mode and the Royals pinching pennies and not re-upping with their star free agents, the Central is easily the AL’s shallowest division, which should give the Twins another shot to make a run at a playoff spot.

They’re essentially returning the same roster as last season and the lineup features a few breakout-star candidates in Byron Buxton and Jose Berrios. Yes, this team lacks the sexiness of the Yankees and Astros, but make no mistake about it, they’re trending in the right direction.

Blue Jays +1500

Of course, you are most likely thinking that Toronto doesn’t stand a chance of competing with the Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East. There’s no doubt about it, both of those teams are better on paper, but let’s not forget the Blue Jays are just a year removed from back-to-back appearances in the ALCS.

They are coming off a disappointing season in which everything that could have gone wrong did — most notably getting just 36 innings out of Aaron Sanchez, along with Josh Donaldson missing a significant chunk of time in the first half. Presuming those two all-stars are in for the long haul in 2018, expect the Jays to get back to their winning ways of 2015 and 2016.

2018 American League Pennant Odds
Houston Astros+270
New York Yankees+325
Cleveland Indians+350
Boston Red Sox+600
Los Angeles Angels+1200
Minnesota Twins+1400
Toronto Blue Jays+1500
Seattle Mariners+2200
Tampa Bay Rays+8000
Baltimore Orioles+8000
Texas Rangers+8000
Chicago White Sox+8000
Oakland Athletics+8000
Kansas City Royals+10000
Detroit Tigers+10000

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada

National League Sleeper and Ripoff Picks

Rockies +2000

Colorado is my favorite sleeper pick of 2018 and I expect the Rockies to look a lot more like the team that finished 13 games above .500 in 2017’s first half as opposed to the team that finished one game below .500 in the second half.

The National League’s best offense from last season shouldn’t miss a beat and it’s reasonable to expect the young starting rotation to show some progression. Pair those facts with a rebuilt bullpen and we have ourselves the makings of one of the most complete lineups in the game. Dethroning the defending NL champion Dodgers won’t be easy, but Colorado did have a winning record vs its divisional rival last season.

Giants +1500

No, San Francisco isn’t a sleeper, they’re the biggest scam in MLB betting entering the 2018 season. That might come off as a little harsh, but how does a team that finished tied for the most losses in baseball last season have the eighth-best odds to win the National League pennant?

Yes, the addition of Andrew McCutchen will help, but he’s hardly the MVP-caliber player that he was a few seasons ago. As for their other big offseason acquisition, Evan Longoria, he was 84th in WAR last season, ranking him among the likes of Matt Chapman and Yolmer Sanchez.

They’re already off to a bad start with Madison Bumgarner set to miss a chunk of time due to a fractured pinkie finger, so pump the brakes if you’re expecting them to improve by 25 wins and push for a playoff spot.

2018 National League Pennant Odds
Los Angeles Dodgers+300
Chicago Cubs+350
Washington Nationals+375
St. Louis Cardinals+1100
New York Mets+1400
Milwaukee Brewers+1400
Arizona Diamondbacks+1400
San Francisco Giants+1500
Colorado Rockies+2000
Philadelphia Phillies+2000
Pittsburgh Pirates+4000
Atlanta Braves+4500
San Diego Padres+6600
Cincinnati Reds+7500
Miami Marlins+10000

Odds as of March 28 at Bovada