While it might not feel like it in many parts of the country, in Arizona and Florida spring training is ready to go, which means exploring betting baseball will become part of our routine once again.
While we do not know everything about all the teams just yet, the month of March at least gives us indicators what to expect, as the starting rotations, bullpens and every day lineup cards are begun to be determined. Though we will not see meaningful MLB odds for games that count until April 3rd, we can at least start to make plans looking at schedules for the opening month and try and figure out who might start fast or struggle to begin 2016 campaign.
In the American League, everyone has their mission, knock off Kansas City, the two-time defending league champs and current World Series champions. In 2015, the Royals started 7-0 and was 11-3 after 14 contests, which saw them as a favorite or basically a Pick in 12 of those games. Here is what we see at this point for MLB picks.
Favorable Schedules for Division Champions Toronto and Texas
Toronto had the second-best record in the AL and part of that came from holding up well in the AL East at 42-34. There was not any great teams beyond the Blue Jays, but a solid group of competitors. Though reports have some of these foes making upgrades, until they can prove it on the field, you have to like Toronto's chances opening the year with 17 division tussles home and away, before having homestand with Oakland and the White Sox, which should be two series victories.
The Rangers got hot late in the year and picked up of Cole Hamels, which looked to be smart move for this season with Yu Darvish coming back. Instead, Texas went 24-10 from Au. 13 to Sept.17 and stole the AL West. The start of this season has them in Arlington for 15 of first 24 contests. Though the Rangers face some good teams, they should enter with a lot of confidence and will see, Seattle, Baltimore, Houston, the Yankees and Angels, which realistically should result in four series wins. Road games at the Mariners and in Anaheim will not be easy, but beating the White Sox in Chicago is quite doable.
Houston and Detroit Could Stumble Out of the Gate
The Astros were in first place for much of the season in the AL West, but the lack of starting pitching caught up to them. Houston was 53-29 at home and that does not happen every year and each season finding a great bullpen is not always that easy. Houston's first two weeks of the year includes the Yankees in New York and after probably handling Milwaukee on the road, the first homestand includes Kansas City and Detroit, followed by a trip to Texas, which becomes nine away games in dozen outings. Curious to see how opposing pitchers will go after Houston hitters after leading the league in strikeouts.
Detroit made a splash by signing Justin Upton, but this is still a team which lost 87 games and is not exactly locked in with starting pitching, even having picked up Jordan Zimmermann. Rumors persist the Tigers are still after more pitching. There first four away series are at Miami, Pittsburgh, Houston and Kansas City and in between is a brief five-game homstand with the Yankees and Pirates. Sure appears Detroit could be under. 500 early unless offense caries them.