Normally, it’s relatively easy to forecast who some of the playoff teams will be each year in Major League Baseball. In 2016, though, there is only one team in all of hardball that is a massive odds-on favorite to win its division, and that makes division title odds incredibly appealing for baseball futures bettors looking for the top MLB picks for the 2016 season.
Let’s go through the MLB odds and analyses for each division in the league from BookMaker.eu:
2016 MLB Division Odds
Boston Red Sox +171
Toronto Blue Jays +186
New York Yankees +335
Tampa Bay Rays +702
Baltimore Orioles +1114
These five teams aren’t separated by all that much as we see it, and we could make the case for any of the five finishing first in the AL East, or finishing last.
Our choice for the best price, though, is Baltimore, at more than 11 to 1. There’s a lot of “ifs” here, but if Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez can mash the ball as expected, and if Manny Machado has another breakout season, and if J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones get back to being elite hitters, this could be the most dangerous lineup in this division outside of Toronto. We’ll take our chances at +1114 on Buck Showalter making this team a contender.
Cleveland Indians +184
Kansas City Royals +219
Detroit Tigers +325
Chicago White Sox +579
Minnesota Twins +826
The Central has taken a big step backwards this season, especially knowing that the Royals have lost Johnny Cueto and Greg Holland. Cleveland‘s pitching staff has really come on strong, and the lineup is one of the most underrated in baseball betting, especially if Mike Napoli has a bit of a revival now that he’s left Boston.
Detroit has the most potential to win the World Series, and the Royals shouldn’t be forgotten either, but the smart money will be on the Tribe to finish atop a very competitive division.
Houston Astros +130
Texas Rangers +241
Seattle Mariners +395
Los Angeles Angels +529
Oakland Athletics +1343
The Astros were loveable last season, and they won the AL Wild Card game in the Bronx thanks to tremendous pitching by Dallas Keuchel. There’s no doubt that this team is finally loaded up and ready for a long-term run atop the AL West, but we have our concerns about some regression for players who took big steps forward last year.
Instead, we prefer Texas, a team which won the AL West in 2015 having only gotten a piece of a season from Cole Hamels and nothing out of Yu Darvish, who will return from Tommy John surgery at some point in May. Adding Ian Desmond could be the steal of the offseason, though it’ll take some time for him to transition to left field.
New York Mets -112
Washington Nationals +112
Miami Marlins +721
Philadelphia Phillies +4995
Atlanta Braves +5500
This division is fairly cut and dry, and we don’t think you’d go wrong backing either the Mets or the Nationals in terms of value. We suspect that’s going to be a close race all season and could come down to the wire.
The Mets have the better top to bottom pitching staff, but it’s not like a rotation of Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Tanner Roark and Joe Ross is slacking in D.C. New York has the lesser lineup of the two for sure, and that’s why we’re giving the slight nod to the Nats.
Chicago Cubs -220
St. Louis Cardinals +305
Pittsburgh Pirates +425
Cincinnati Reds +5796
Milwaukee Brewers +6000
Color us non-believers in the Cubbies. Joe Maddon is fantastic, and this lineup is going to be the most feared in baseball, but Jake Arrieta was nothing before last season, and it really looks like Father Time has caught up to Jon Lester.
Chicago will win close to 90 games, and it will probably win this division more often than not, but we see too many question marks right now. Instead, the better constant for MLB betting is St. Louis, a team that always seems to be incredibly good and is always in the thick of the fight for the NL Central crown.
At a price of better than 3 to 1, it would be foolish to discount the Redbirds, though the case could surely be made for the Pirates at +425.
Los Angeles Dodgers -111
San Francisco Giants +143
Arizona Diamondbacks +474
San Diego Padres +3913
Colorado Rockies +4990
L.A. might be the most overhyped team in baseball seemingly every year. Clayton Kershaw is fantastic, but Zack Greinke has moved on to Arizona, and though the Dodgers have brought in a ton of different pitchers, only five can be in the rotation at any given time.
Outside of Kenley Jansen, this bullpen was a wreck last year down the stretch, and we just can’t trust this team as an odds-on favorite to win the West.
The G-Men have an awesome looking rotation, especially now that they have added both Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, but we think the best value is with Arizona. The D’Backs won 79 games in 2015, but their youngsters took some tremendous strides forward, and that pitching staff really has come together with Greinke and Shelby Miller at the top, even if they overpaid for both guys.
That might be a concern later on down the line, but for one season, give us Arizona at almost 5 to 1 to knock off the two big boys of the NL West.
Who will win the World Series this year? Check out why the Chicago Cubs are favorites for the first time since 1908.