MLB Picks & Odds: American League Futures

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 12:19 PM UTC

Wednesday, Jul. 2, 2014 12:19 PM UTC

For the first time this season in the American League, we have a new favorite and it is well deserved. The Oakland A’s are the new leaders and the second-best bet against the MLB odds. Familiarize yourself with the complete betting trends.

Detroit has dipped to the second choice against the AL betting odds after they went through a rough stretch in the first part of June. Here is a look-in to the top teams according to the sportsbooks and we also have a thought-provoking long shot to consider.

Penthouse Picks
The Oakland A’s have the best record in baseball, which is punctuated by having the best offense at 5.1 runs per game, and being third in run prevention at 3.5 RPG. The spread differential of 1.6 is larger than the next two teams combined, with Seattle at 0.8 and the L.A. Angels at 0.7. We have talked all season about the diversity and talent of the Athletics offense under manager Bob Melvin. If there is one concern baseball handicappers have about Oakland is how their top three starters, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir and Jesse Chevaz matchup with Detroit’s big three at +280.

Detroit began June 5-11, and fell out of favor with rotten starting pitching, and below average hitting. Since then, the Tigers tail is wagging again, having won 10 of 12 and are a +320 choice. It appears Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer are regaining their typical form, while Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello continue to shine. To this juncture of the season, the Detroit offense is not as strong as last year’s group (4.6 vs. 4.8 RPG), and they are quite dependent on Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez. Besides futures, Tigers fans making sports picks end up becoming nervous since the back end of the Tigers bullpen has been shakier than the paint gallon mixer at Home Depot.  

First Floor by the Pool
Toronto is the third choice at +550, but I am not sold on their starting pitching which is below the AL average in ERA, OBP and OPS. The bullpen is even worse, ranking 12th in the league in ERA and dead last in OBP. While leading the majors in home runs, too many dry spells to be thought of as serious World Series contender. I actually like the L.A.A. Angels at +650, with a very potent and potentially lethal lineup that is third in baseball in scoring at 4.9.  They have four solid starting pitchers, though the bullpen is shaky. What concerns me about this team is mental toughness. They are 4-8 against the top 2 teams in the AL in Oakland and Detroit and seldom display that extra gear that champions play with.

The New York Yankees are +860 for reasons that are indiscernible to those making sports picks, yet somehow to Yankees fans. Despite their .500 record, the Yanks are -34 in run differential and three other teams in the AL also have a negative figure is runs scored/runs allowed in the 30’s and on average they are nine games below .500. Enough said.

Bates Motel  
Seattle has become a fascinating long shot at +1750. The Mariners pitching has the top ERA in the AL and which is backed by being second in OBP and OPS. With others besides Robinson Cano starting to hit, Seattle is 20-8 in four or more runs. While they lack the postseason moxie, with this kind of pitching and if the hitting improves, the M’s an enchanting long shot. 

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