Not only did the
Tigers make a huge splash when they signed Prince Fielder to a nine-year, $214
million dollar contract, they became a huge betting favorite in the American
League. Fielder, Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander (not necessarily in that
order) give Detroit three of the top players in the majors and will make them
hard to beat over the course of a season. Only the Angels and perhaps the
Rangers have the talent and depth to match and both of those teams would be
favored in a short series.
The Tigers are now
the clear-cut favorites to win the American League Central with 2/1 the best baseball odds or even money at many sports betting
establishments. Detroit is also is lined at 5/1
to capture the American League Pennant and 8/1
to win the World Series.
Detroit was already
one of the most profitable teams for its backers last earning +1888 units
during the regular season plus a record of 84-66-2 to the ‘over’. You can
expect the totals to rise dramatically in games involving the Tigers this year.
third in NL MVP voting last year, hitting .299 with 38 homers and 120 RBIs for
the Milwaukee Brewers. Adding Fielder’s big bat to an already explosive offense
will likely make it harder to find a decent price on the Tigers this season.
It’s quite possible
that the race in the American League Central this season will be for
second-place behind Detroit.
Here’s a thumbnail
look at the other AL Central teams with odds of winning the AL pennant in bold and analysis of their baseball betting potential.
Kansas City Royals (15/1)
The Royals were the
talk of spring training a year ago as opposing teams drooled over KC’s wealth
of top prospects. At the time the farm system was supposedly three maybe four
years away from seriously producing at the Major League level. But now with the first wave of prospects --
Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas most notably, their success has fans talking
optimistically about the present as well as the future.
Royals rewards. KC was a ML loser last year (-542)
but turned a profit on the run line (+1144). Still, I don’t trust a team that
was 20 games under .500.
Cleveland Indians (30/1)
The Indians stayed
into contention well into the summer but it’s doubtful they’ll catch teams by
surprise this year. The key for the Tribes success this year will be outfield
stability. Cleveland saw 12 different
players in the outfield at some point during the 2011 season. Michael Brantley
led the way with 451 at-bats and 108 starts while Shin-Soo Choo was next with
313 at-bats and 84 starts.
Cleveland has a
solid rotation with Derek Lowe to go along with Justin Masterson and Fausto
Carmona. Former Rockies ace Ubaldo Jimenez is the No. 1 starter with Josh
Tomlin right behind him.
Best bet: The ‘over’ was 84-70-8 in 2011 including
44-31-6 on the road.
Minnesota Twins (40/1)
The Twins are
usually pegged as a ‘team to beat’ in the Central Division but injuries and
inaction by the front office have rendered the once proud Twins as nothing more
than an afterthought. The fortunes of the Twins changed last year as they went
from the upstairs room with a view to the basement faster than you can say Joe
Mauer. Injuries to Mauer, Justin Morneau, Jason Kubel and Denard Span, which
contributed to a league-leading 27 trips to the disabled list was just too much
to overcome, as will be the Tigers.
Bettors beware: This team gave backers nightmares. Minnesota
had a 63-99 record (-2442 units) and a run line record of 80-82 (-1872 units).
My advice: fade but don’t follow in your MLB picks.
Chicago White Sox (45/1)
Guillen is gone for the glamour and glitz of South Beach and the Miami Marlins.
That leaves the White Sox with a rookie manager (Robin Ventura), an aging but
effective first-baseman (Paul Konerko) and very little else. Of course there’s
still Adam Dunn coming off one of the worst seasons by any player in baseball
Be wager wise: Chicago was also in that ‘don’t play’
category in 2011. The Pale Hose were -1036 on the money line and -1513 on the