It's a little over two weeks into the new season, and every few weeks we will provide updated futures odds for both leagues with them constantly changing. Let's start with the MLB odds to win the American League as well as in each division on PaddyPower.
Entering Wednesday, the Orioles were the surprise leader of the AL East Division with most experts projecting the Orioles to finish last. I'm not sure Baltimore has staying power in first. Led by MVP candidate Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, the Orioles are mashing at the plate. And that could well continue that all season. But Baltimore is going to have to win a lot of 8-6 games because the pitching staff is really shaky. The only starter with an ERA under 5.00 is Ubaldo Jimenez and he's not exactly the most trustworthy guy. It's why the Orioles are trying to sign free-agent pitcher Kyle Lohse, who was terrible last year in Milwaukee but good before that. Oddsmakers aren't sold on the Orioles as they are just +1600 on MLB odds to win the AL pennant and +450 to win the division.
The division favorites right now are Toronto and Boston, the two spring projected leaders, at +235. Both teams have very potent offenses -- the Jays led the majors by a mile in runs last year on the way to winning the division -- but shaky pitching. Toronto has a great young ace in Marcus Stroman and Boston signed big-ticket free-agent pitcher David Price, formerly of the Blue Jays, this offseason. What's behind them is the problem. The Red Sox are +600 to win the pennant and Toronto +650.
Current MLB Division Pick: Blue Jays.
Many expected this to be the most competitive division in baseball this season, and other than the disappointing Minnesota Twins that looks to be the case thus far. Kansas City has a small lead over the Chicago White Sox, Detroit and Cleveland. When are people going to stop doubting the defending World Series champion Royals? They continue to do things as they have the past two seasons: not hit for much power but win with pitching (especially in the bullpen) and defense. The Royals are +165 on MLB picks to win the AL Central and +600 to win a third straight AL pennant.
One overachieving team thus far has been the White Sox thanks to one of the majors' best rotations. They signed Mat Latos off the scrap heap to be their No. 5 guy and he looks like Cy Young thus far. Latos is 3-0 with a miniscule 0.49 ERA in three starts, allowing just six hits in 18.1 innings. Obviously Latos won't keep that up, but the Sox also have Cy Young betting favorite Chris Sale and ultra-dependable Jose Quintana atop the rotation. If Chicago starts hitting, look out. The Pale Hose are +450 to win the Central and +1600 for their first pennant since 2005.
Current MLB Division Pick: Royals.
Good luck handicapping this division as it appears all five teams could win it. The most talented club is easily Houston, but the Astros were in last place as of Wednesday. Their pitching staff outside of reigning Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has been struggling. The club is hoping the return of Lance McCullers will boost the rotation. He's recovering from a shoulder injury and threw a bullpen session on Tuesday. He will have another session on Friday and could be ready early next month if no setbacks. McCullers was 6-7 with a 3.22 ERA last year in 22 starts as a rookie. Houston might have the early AL Rookie of the Year favorite in Tyler White, who is hitting .348 with four homers and 11 RBIs. The Astros are +260 on MLB picks to win the division and +600 for their first AL pennant.
Defending division champion Texas is the +190 favorite to repeat. The Rangers have one of the best offenses in baseball and their rotation could be excellent when Yu Darvish is ready off Tommy John surgery. Darvish's last appearance in the majors was Aug. 9, 2014. He is expected to make his first rehab start next Tuesday and could be in the majors by mid-May. The Rangers are +750 to win the pennant.
The pennant long shots are the AL West's Oakland A's at +4000 even though they are currently just a game out of first in the division. They are +900 for the AL West title.
Current MLB Division Pick: Astros.