MLB Picks: AL Division Picks

Swinging Johnson

Tuesday, March 19, 2013 7:55 PM GMT

Pretty soon spring training will be a distant memory and the games will count for real but which teams will be contenders and who will be pretenders?

MLB Betting: American League Division Winners

Let's predict who will win their respective divisions and find true value in our baseball betting this season.

AL EAST

Boston will be better than last year (how can they not?!) but the front end of their rotation is a question mark with Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz coming off a dumbfounding 2012 campaign. However these were two premier pitchers not long ago and they're too young to definitively say that their best years are behind them. They are more likely to return to form than trudge through another dubious campaign. 

The Sox also have a new manager and one who is well liked in Boston, John Farrell. As the former Sox pitching coach, he knows Lester and Buchholz well and both thrived under his tutelage before he took the head job at Toronto. Certainly anyone is an improvement over last season's skipper Bobby Valentine but Farrell may be the perfect fit.

Sox management shipped out a boatload of bad vibes and big contracts last season with the exodus of Adrian Gonzales, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles. It appears they understand the virtue of a harmonious clubhouse by bringing character guys like Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes, Shane Victorino and Ryan Dempster. Character alone won't win you games but it does wonders for team chemistry. 

The bottom line here is that this team can still hit with guys like Pedroia, Ellsbury, Middlebrooks et al and they've got one of the best bullpens on paper. While Toronto is the talk of the AL East and the Yankees are still the Yankees (even if their core is eroding and rumors of long term suspensions for Granderson and Cano swirl) I don't perceive enough value in the short odds the bookmakers are dealing for either team.

For my money, the Red Sox +550 are the value play in your MLB betting odds.

AL CENTRAL

I took a flyer on the Red Sox because they have a legitimate chance to grind their way to a division title. Toronto may live up to expectations and finally deliver to their long suffering fans but I need to see it to believe it. The Yankees look gimpy and old but as long as they're wearing pinstripes they can never be underestimated. In other words, there isn't a clear frontrunner in the AL East. But this is not the case in the Central.

The Detroit Tigers are the class of a division that has little class at all. The Twins season is over after the first pitch on Opening Day. Cleveland may be better under Francona but the man is not a magician. The White Sox had their shot and will fade back into oblivion while Kansas City is still trying to lure George Brett out of retirement. Don't overthink this one and lay the lumber.

Play Detroit -275 at Bovada.eu for your MLB Picks!

AL WEST

Hold on to your hats because the race to the AL West title is going to be a bumpy ride. The Astros have been tossed into this mix to provide comic relief but not much more. Seattle is improving but they're going to get bounced knocking heads on a regular basis with the Angels, Rangers and Athletics.

The Rangers watched Josh Hamilton and Michael Young walk out the door and will certainly be a less potent team because of it. Their pitching is a question mark though Yu Darvish looks like the real deal to me. But this team has taken a step back from 2012 in my opinion.

The A's were the Cinderella story (I hear Bill Murray every time I write that) last season but I cannot imagine they pull a repeat. They're fun to watch and perhaps last year's surprising campaigns from their younger players are a foreshadowing of explosive seasons to come but I'm not going to bet on it.

The Angels are ridiculous. They already had a potent lineup and added Josh Hamilton just for good measure. This is one of the few instances where the hitting is so good, I'm not even worried who's chuckin' for the Angels. But just in case you were, take note that their ace Jered Weaver is one of the best in the business.

Play the Angels -150 at Bovada.eu.