MLB baseball handicappers and those placing MLB picks can start preparing for the exhausting, yet intoxicating daily grind as 'The boys of summer' are returning to action in Florida and Arizona.
Betting baseball is not for everyone, 15 games five to six days a week, pouring over the daily betting odds with a mountain of statistics to formulate an opinion against the oddsmakers.
Top Tier American League Favorites
Like their neighbors to the north, the Los Angeles Angels near Disneyland were first round postseason washouts just like the Dodgers. This was bitterly disappointing to the Angels organization after they had the best record in the majors last season at 98-64. The Halos remain the favorite in the AL at +550 (third choice to win World Series), having greater pitching depth both in the starting rotation and bullpen. The everyday lineup is productive, but has holes with a quickly aging Albert Pujols, along with a deteriorating David Freese and Josh Hamilton.
Despite what many considered a disappointing season, GM Dave Dombrowski tried to retool, compared to fix the Detroit Tigers (+680). The loss of Max Scherzer hurts but a full season of David Price and hopefully a much better Justin Verlander will offset the wins lost. The bullpen could hardly been any worse in the late innings and the front office’s belief is basically the same cast with a couple new pieces will no longer be a liability. The Tigers batting order 1-thru-5 figures to be the best in baseball.
Also included in this contingent is Seattle and Boston at +750 MLB odds for futures. The Mariners pitching went sideways for almost three weeks in September and they came up one game shy of making the playoffs. The pitching remains a strength and with the upgrade on offense with Nelson Cruz and Austin Jackson, Seahawks and coffee will not be the only topics in Seattle.
After a 71-91 campaign, Boston decided not to completely rebuild and made a flurry of moves that could take them from last to first place in the AL East. The elements are in place for a revival, but this is not the best choice for MLB picks to be league champion.
One Rung Down on the AL Ladder
If Boston does not meet expectations, watch for Toronto (+1000) to climb to the top of a rather pedestrian division. The pitching staff is a little above average, but the Blue Jays offense can score in bunches. The defense will need to be better.
After going from 68 wins to 92 W’s from 2012 to 2013, most figured Cleveland (+1075) would regress and they did to 85 wins, yet not as much as expected. With Indians players now understanding what it takes, the Tribe with manager Terry Francona is ready to take another run at Detroit.
Kansas City (+1075) ended their 29-year playoff drought and was one victory away from being World Series champions. The Royals won 87 games a year ago, but the AL Central should be more challenging and they will be the hunted in 2015, with many figuring they just got hot at the right time.
Baltimore (+1175) lost talented free agents and are counting on pitching and the return of Matt Wieters and Manny Machado for a full season. Coming anywhere close to 96 wins again is a pipe dream.
After winning 63 and 73 games the last two years, the Chicago White Sox (+1225) will be long shot choice for baseball bettors to win the junior circuit with the improvements they made in pitching and hitting.
Don’t Bother Wasting Your Money on these Teams
You’ll need a scorecard to recognize Oakland (+1350) this season and that is not a good thing. The New York Yankees (+1400 MLB Futures Odds) will have a large payroll and not much to show for it once again. Tampa Bay (+2100) will revert to pre-Joe Maddon days and Texas (+2200) will be better than 67 wins, but no better than .500. At least Minnesota fans can see good opposing teams at Target Field when the Twins (+6300) have home games.