2016 MLB Odds: Picking Every Division Winner
The 2016 MLB season is just a day away, as Sunday and Monday combine to deliver one heck of a ride for pro baseball fans.
Before and after then we will have plenty of time during a grind-it-out 162-game MLB season to gauge who will win each division and make the playoffs, but there is never a better time to actually make a prediction before the first crack of the bat is heard.
All of the teams have already been in action in preseason play, but that typically doesn’t reveal too much. Instead, we have to go off of what we saw last year, team’s key losses and additions and what the media pundits think.
Oh, and Vegas. Odds will change in the early going of the season, but the best time to assess division winner odds is before the regular season actually starts. Let’s take a look at all of the odds for each MLB division and see who we like the most for a good MLB bet:
AL East Odds (To Win)
- Toronto Blue Jays (+190)
- Boston Red Sox (+200)
- New York Yankees (+300)
- Tampa Bay Rays (+700)
- Baltimore Orioles (+900)
Toronto returns with an elite offense, but lost some pitching when David Price jetted to Boston. That move alone gives the Red Sox a massive boost, as they also landed a stud closer and already had an elite offense. Just like that, the Red Sox could be AL East champs and a real World Series threat.
Toronto is probably the safest play right there with Boston, but this division feels wide open. The fact that a good Baltimore offense is all the way at the bottom here shows you just how deep and competitive this division is. Tampa Bay probably doesn’t have the offense to stay afloat all year, but they do have good pitching and seem to always hang around.
And then there are the Yankees. New York plays in a problematic park, but it boosts their talented offense and they do have enough pitching to at least be considered. Whether or not that pitching can take a step forward in 2016 is the real question.
Boston got visibly better and is the fun sleeper pick, and in turn, our play for the AL East crown.
AL Central Odds
- Kansas City Royals (+120)
- Cleveland Indians (+300)
- Detroit Tigers (+375)
- Chicago White Sox (+600)
- Minnesota Twins (+1000)
Kansas City heads into 2016 hoping to make a third straight trip to the World Series and also become repeat champions. That’s a lofty goal, but due to their own talent and a weak division, it’s one they could achieve. There isn’t much to see here in terms of unexpected winners, as the Royals are the cream of the crop in the NL Central and its just not close.
Cleveland and Detroit are only interesting because one has top notch pitching and the other can bring the bats at times offensively. Neither are consistent enough to take seriously, however. That being said, the Indians are a hot sleeper and one to keep an eye on if you pay attention to baseball experts.
Chicago has Chris Sale and that’s about it. Their offense got into a groove in spurts last year, but ultimately it just isn’t consistent enough to support the rest of their pedestrian defense.
The story is similar for the Twins, but they have far more offensive talent and are simply young. They over-achieved in 2015 and could very well regress, which is what it feels like Vegas insinuates with their awful odds. They also strangely feels like a young Cubs team in a sense and its not totally insane to imagine them rising to the top. If you’re betting on anyone other than KC here, the Twins give awesome odds and would be a lot of fun.
AL West Odds
- Houston Astros (+175)
- Texas Rangers (+225)
- Los Angeles Angels (+350)
- Seattle Mariners (+400)
- Oakland Athletics (+1600)
The AL West is very interesting, as the Astros and Rangers are both potentially title contenders and absolutely will be racing to the finish line for this division. Mike Trout is a beast, too, so if he is an MVP candidate again, we can’t really immediately dismiss the Halos, either.
It’s a two-team race in all actuality, though, and it’s down to the two Texas squads. Houston has the superior pitching without a doubt, and when they’re on, their offense can mash anyone. Injuries and inconsistency will likely be the doom of the Rangers, leading to Houston taking first place.
Seattle improved in the second half of 2015 and has a lot of bits and pieces of a playoff contender. Pitching could be there and their offense had life late in 2015, as well. They’re a long shot to make actual noise, though, while the Athletics are light years away from being a contender.
NL East Odds
- New York Mets (+100)
- Washington Nationals (+110)
- Miami Marlins (+700)
- Atlanta Braves (+3300)
- Philadelphia Phillies (+5000)
This is a two-team race between the Mets and Nats, just as Vegas suggests. New York is the clear favorite after making it all the way to the World Series last year, while the Nats flamed out at the worst time.
Washington boasts Bryce Harper and a touch and go offense, while their pitching can potentially be the best in the league. If they can be more consistent, they absolutely can take down the Mets in 2016. New York still has some of the best pitching in baseball, as well, and even though they lost a little offensive bite, they can still score about as good as anyone.
New York has a title on the brain, so ultimately Vegas might have it right here. The race will be tight and exciting to the end, but we’re siding with the Mets.
You can’t go all in on anyone else outside the top-two, but Miami does have Giancarlo Stanton and lots of talent behind him. A new manager could give them a boost and make them a dark horse worth tracking. At +700, they’re not the worst preseason bet we’ve seen.
Atlanta and Philly have no chance. The Phillies are in a full blown rebuild after dumping Cole Hamels last season and Atlanta doesn’t have the offense to stick with anyone for long. The Braves will avoid the cellar, but maybe not by much.
NL Central Odds
- Chicago Cubs (-110)
- St. Louis Cardinals (+200)
- Pittsburgh Pirates (+300)
- Milwaukee Brewers (+4000)
- Cincinnati Reds (+5000)
The NL Central is quite loaded, as it produced three playoff caliber teams a year ago. St. Louis had MLB’s best record and heading into 2016 the Cubs are favored to win the league title.
First we need to decide the division, which is easily a two-way race between Chicago and St. Louis. The Cardinals win defensively with the proper personnel in the dirt and grass, as well as some of the best pitching in the entire league. Of course, Chicago has Jake Arrieta and a decent pitching rotation, plus the superior offense, backed by Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.
Pittsburgh is in the mix here, just as they were last year. They’ve lost some pitching and hitting, however, and may not be quite as good as they were a year ago. Then again, their pitching at the top is about as good as it gets, and their offense can battle with the best of them. They’ll probably hang in at third in the end, but they’re a fun bet at +300.
With the Cards leaning on methodical offense and a stingy defense, they ground their way to an unlikely NL Central title a year ago. This year, Chicago’s talent and offensive upside win out.
Of course, we can’t completely ignore the Brewers and Reds. Trouble is, we probably should. Cincinnati is just inconsistent, as they certainly do have a few talented pitchers and a fun offense (at times), but much like last season, they’ll struggle to put (and keep) it all together. The Brewers, sadly, are just too young and have no pitching to speak of.
NL West Odds
- San Francisco Giants (+135)
- Los Angeles Dodgers (+160)
- Arizona Diamondbacks (+275)
- San Diego Padres (+1600)
- Colorado Rockies (+6600)
The Giants are the trendy pick, seeing as they’ve been a total beast in even-numbered years. In 2010, 2012 and 2014 they won the World Series and in 2011, 2013 and 2015 they didn’t even make the playoffs. If that logic is to prevail, it could start with Vegas being spot on about them winning the NL West.
Of course, Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers (won first last year) will have something to say about that. L.A. still has a balanced offense and one of the best pitchers in the game, so they’re naturally just as much as a favorite. Seeing as how close the odds are here, it’s tough to fight against one of these two winning the NL West.
You could get cute with Arizona, though. They have looked amazing this spring and they certainly have the bats to contend with anyone. They also may have enough pitching to finally do some real damage. Unfortunately, they always seem like a threat and ultimately fizzle out. Vegas is giving them a chance, but perhaps not one crazy enough to really gamble on.
San Diego has talent and experience, but they’re as middle of the road as it gets. They’ll be around, but they’re not actually going anywhere. Colorado has a damning park and no real pitching, plus their recent fire sales has robbed them of some major offense. They’d be a mighty fun bet at +6600, but they’re not a good one.
Ultimately, the Dodgers still have the goods to win first place inside this division and San Francisco seems too trendy. We’ll take the Dodgers, but just note the payout isn’t amazing unless you bet big.
That does it for our MLB divisional breakdown for 2016. Let us know if you love/hate our picks and who you might pick differently. Enjoy the show on Sunday and Monday and happy betting through the 2016 MLB season!
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