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American League Pennant Odds Update 09/04/19

by OddsShark (@OddsShark)

The Houston Astros’ price has shifted slightly toward even money in American League pennant futures as the regular season enters its fourth-last week.

The Astros are now the -115 betting favorite on the AL pennant odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The New York Yankees, who entering Wednesday’s games had the league’s best record, are the second favorite at +220. The board is well spaced out, dropping down to the league’s other division leader, the Minnesota Twins (+700), then the wild card-contending Cleveland Indians (+1200), Tampa Bay Rays (+1500), Oakland Athletics (+1500) and Boston Red Sox (+3500).

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Three weeks ago, the Astros’ value was at a season-low -125 at online sports betting sites and the Yankees were priced at +225, followed by Cleveland at +750 and Minnesota at +800.

The long-held belief is that pitching wins in the playoffs. It is worth noting that the Astros, with a staff led by AL Cy Young Award favorite Justin Verlander, have the third-best staff earned-run average in Major League Baseball since the all-star break. The Twins and Yankees, in contrast, stand 14th and 21st respectively, as both have relied on offenses that are 1-2 in runs scored per game (Minnesota first at 5.94 entering play on Wednesday, followed by the Yankees at 5.80).

The Astros rank third in offense at 5.52 runs per game, so it would seem like they enjoy a greater statistical advantage.

However, last season the Boston Red Sox won the American League title, and went on to win the World Series, after their pitchers ranked 15th out of the 30 MLB teams in post-All-Star  Break era. It is possible all bets are off in a season when the sport is headed for a regular-season home-run record.

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By that thinking, the small-market Twins are probably more of a value play on the MLB odds than the more popular Yankees. Minnesota, which would not have home-field advantage in the ALDS round if the playoffs started today, has MLB’s best road record and has hit almost 20 more home runs away from home than any other team. The Twins, Yankees and Astros rank 1-2-3 in road OPS (on base plus slugging) in the entire majors.

The main three wild cards do offer more than a 10/1 payout, but the ‘best of one’ format is very chancy. Since MLB expanded the playoff field in 2012, only six of the 14 wild-card game winners have advanced past the best-of-five Division Series round, but only two have proceeded to win the league pennant.

Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for analysis on this week’s top games. As well, the OddsShark Computer serves up daily MLB picks for bettors.

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