AL's best face off this weekend

By Jeff Fogle  ( 

May 16, 2019 11:02 PM

A huge weekend in American League baseball begins Friday night when the New York Yankees host the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Houston Astros visit the Boston Red Sox. According to betting markets, those are four of the five teams most likely to win the AL this season.

Though we’re just past the 25% mark in the 2019 campaign, the playoff picture is already very well defined. Betting markets are saying that the five American League qualifiers (three divisional winners and two wildcards) will very likely come from just six teams.  

Here’s a quick peek at William Hill’s odds to win the AL for those six contenders, with money line equivalents in parenthesis… 

Houston 5/2 ( 250), NY Yankees 7/2 ( 350), Boston 4/1 ( 400), Minnesota 11/2 ( 550), Tampa Bay 7/1 ( 700), Cleveland 15/2 ( 750).

If you want to bet the Yanks to win the AL, a $100 bet would win $350 (a sports book would return your initial $100 stake, then pay you $350 in profit). You can bet anything in that ratio if you prefer smaller or larger steaks. 

Those six powers are also well-represented in World Championship odds.

Only the Dodgers and Cubs from the National League are currently seen as equal in stature to the Astros, Yanks, or Red Sox. Here’s the latest from William Hill in that category…

LA Dodgers 5/1 ( 500), Houston 11/2 ( 550), NY Yankees 7/1 ( 700), Chicago Cubs 8/1 ( 800), Boston 17/2 ( 850), Philadelphia 12/1 ( 1200), Minnesota 12/1 ( 1200), Tampa Bay 14/1 ( 1400), St. Louis 15/1 ( 1500), Milwaukee 15/1 ( 1500), Cleveland 16/1 ( 1600).

Do those odds mean the Dodgers would be favored heads-up over any AL entry? Not necessarily. The Dodgers currently look to have an easier playoff pathway to the Fall Classic, which is why there’s a smaller return for investors. Once the final two have been determined, it’s possible the Dodgers would be a short dog to Houston, a healthy version of the Yankees, or Boston. 

Handicappers would be smart to monitor any potential playoff preview in AL action from this point forward. Daily betting lines will give you a sense of how oddsmakers and sharps are rating starting pitchers and offenses. 

We’ve mentioned in the past that sharps like to look at “road only” team stats to take ballpark influences out of the mix. Let’s do that quickly for William Hill’s top AL threats…

  • Road offense: Houston, Boston, Tampa Bay, NYY, and Minnesota were the top AL teams in road on-base percentage at midweek. Houston and Minnesota have added a lot of pop too. Boston’s been hitting better recently. The potentially super-potent Yanks have been hampered by a part-time lineup all season. Cleveland is near the bottom of the league, which is why the Indians have been so disappointing.
  • Road pitching: Tampa Bay, Cleveland, and Houston currently have the three best road ERA’s in the AL. The Yanks and Twins are league average. Boston trails the pack, but has fixed problems that plagued them out of the gate. 

Enjoy this weekend’s potential playoff previews!

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