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While the odds to make the NLCS seem like a three-team race, the American League is a bit more tight. Yes, you have the defending World Champion Astros and the super powered Yankees, but there isn’t as big of a drop-off between the haves and have nots than in the National League.
The Astros would probably be the favorite here. They took a team that won the World Series behind an outstanding offense of Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve and George Springer, and made the pitching better. The rotation was already pretty elite with Justin Verlander, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr, but they decided they needed to add Gerrit Cole to the mix. That’s a scary team and hard to imagine them not getting back here.
I love the Astros here, but let’s take a look at the complete odds from 5Dimes.
|MLB Reach AL Championship Series
Thu 3/29 1:10PM
|New York Yankees
|Boston Red Sox
|Los Angeles Angels
|Toronto Blue Jays
|Tampa Bay Rays
|Chicago White Sox
|Kansas City Royals
The problem with betting that team is that there is a very good chance they are going to face the Indians, Red Sox or Yankees in the first round. The American League is a blood bath and all of those teams can beat each other in a five game series. The sample size is just too small and that’s before you get into the upstart teams like the Angels with Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani.
The Yankees can bash there way past anyone. Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge is the scariest trio of hitters we’ve seen in baseball in a long, long time. That’s not even considering guys like Greg Bird, Clint Frazier and Didi Gregorious who are their own kind of scary. The bullpen is nearly just as frightening and it’s easy to see why they have the same odds as the World Champs.
The Red Sox could beat any of them in a five game series too. Two starts from Chris Sale then David Price and Rick Porcello with Craig Kimbrel closing things out. That’s tough stuff. Nobody wants to face them.
Or the Indians. We always forget the Indians, but they are amazing. Corey Kluber is one of the best starters in the game and Carlos Carrasco is right there behind him. The Andrew Miler led bullpen dominated the postseason in 2016 and could do so again.
The American League is no joke and any of these teams can beat the other on the right night. Of the group, I think the best value is the Indians +225 as the AL Central is the easiest division so they could draw the Wild Card in round one. While that could be the loser of the Red Sox/Yankees, it’s possible it could be a lesser AL team.
New York and Houston are probably the smart plays here though. Those teams are just so stacked with the farm systems to improve if needed.