MLB Betting Trends for the Upcoming Season

Willie Bee

Sunday, February 23, 2014 2:16 PM GMT

The free agent market has dried up, players have reported to camps in Florida and Arizona, and by this time next week, MLB's spring training schedule will be in full swing.

Just as the action is starting to heat up in the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, things are also beginning to pick up with regards to the MLB futures odds. Pennant and World Series lines have been out for a while, and we're beginning to see Division numbers roll in along with various prop bets such as the number of no-hitters thrown during the season and how many hitters will reach the 40-HR plateau.

Once season win totals come out in the coming week or so and exhibition games crank up, baseball betting will be in full swing. A few trends are already emerging, however, and that's what we'll focus on here.

Dodgers Drawing Heaviest Action In National League

Continuing to top the list of favorites to win the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers are also an early favorite among the bettors. One sports book is reporting more than a quarter of the wagers taken so far have been on LA, listed in the +250 to +275 range at a majority of outlets.

The Dodgers are 1/2 choices to win the NL West, the heaviest division favorite in the Senior Circuit, and they'll have a shortened spring training slate due to opening the regular season in Australia against the Arizona Diamondbacks with a pair of games March 21-22.

Running second among bettors in the NL pennant race are the Washington Nationals. The Nats are in their first season under new manager Matt Williams, and even-money favorites in the NL East to rebound from a disappointing 2013 campaign. Washington can be found in the 7/2 to 5/1 range to win its first NL flag, and one of the more popular wagers to win it all on an 11/1 to 12/1 price.

The St. Louis Cardinals are chalky 4/7 picks to take home their second straight NL Central title, but not drawing as much action as you might expect to successfully repeat as NL Champions. The 2007-08 Chicago Cubs were the last team to win back-to-back NL Central titles, and the 2008-09 Phillies were the last to earn back-to-back NL crowns.

Moneyball A's Attracting Money Among AL Bettors

It has been nearly a quarter century since the Oakland Athletics made it to the Fall Classic, but that drought will end if early betting in the American League is any indication. The A's went out on an 8/1 earlier this winter, and those MLB futures odds have risen to around 10/1 at many shops.

One sports book is reporting nearly a fifth of the AL win wagers coming in on Oakland, a rather surprising figure given how competitive the West Division is expected to be. The A's are locked in a 3-way heat with the Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels as 2/1 co-favorites to win the NL West.  Oakland has won the NL West the past two seasons only to lose the ALDS in five games each time.

For the third year in a row, the Detroit Tigers are the chalkiest division pick in the majors. Detroit is a -225 selection to win the AL Central and top the Junior Circuit list a +425, and those numbers aren't currently exciting many bettors.

Instead, the Kansas City Royals seem to be gaining steam in the division. Kansas City can be found at 4/1 to upset the Tigers in the division race, and still getting 15/1 to 16/1 on an AL win price. The Royals are looking to end a string of 28 seasons watching the playoffs from home.

The AL East is once again expected to be the toughest division top to bottom in the American League, and MLB futures odds reflect what is expected to be a wide-open race with prices varying from sports book to sports book. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are each fetching a 2/1 price to win the division at one shop, with the Tampa Bay Rays close behind at 9/4. That trio falls in the 5/1 to 15/2 range to win the AL flag.

Keep your browsers pointed to SBR during spring training for more MLB free picks and updates.