The New York Yankees’ torrid past two weeks has resulted in a change in American League pennant futures – and pumped some value back into the competition.
The Yankees are now a slim +180 betting favorite on the American League pennant odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The Houston Astros (+200) are now the second favorite, followed by the Minnesota Twins (+450), Tampa Bay Rays (+900) and defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox (+1400).
Three weeks ago, the Yankees were listed at +350, but they have gone on a 13-2 tear, which included a three-game home sweep of the Astros. New York has also re-integrated slugging rightfielder Aaron Judge into a lineup that has the fourth-highest OPS in Major League Baseball. The Yankees do have a challenging July schedule with 11 games against teams that are in a playoff position, which means there is some chance their price might go back up at online betting sites.
The Astros have regained some betting value – up from +150 three weeks ago – while battling some injuries. Houston is receiving stronger pitching than the Yankees, ranking fourth in baseball in team earned-run average while also allowing the lowest opponents’ batting average; and, of course, pitching is the great equalizer in October.
The Twins’ price has also come up from +375, and the perception of a weak AL Central created by quick playoff exits by the Cleveland Indians in each of the last two postseasons will make some bettors iffy. Minnesota’s strong record against all three divisions suggests they’re not some flat-track bully, and they also have the best OPS (.831) and fifth-best ERA in MLB. Only the Astros and National League pennant favorite Los Angeles Dodgers are in the top five in both categories.
The Rays and Red Sox have more competition in the wild-card race with the Oakland Athletics (+1800), Cleveland (+2000), Texas Rangers (+2000) and Los Angeles Angels (+9000) each at or above the .500 mark. The last four league champions have all been division champions. That fact is not a guarantee of how things will play out, but it does mean teams that are not in top spot will likely keep double-digit odds for a while yet.