by OddsShark (@OddsShark) – Sponsored Post
A dead heat for the best overall record in the American League – and home-field advantage for a potential ALCS matchup – has not had any apparent sway on pennant futures.
As they were two weeks ago, the Houston Astros (-115) are the betting favourite on the odds to win the AL Pennant at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The price on the New York Yankees (+210) has dropped slightly, while the board at sports betting sites also includes the Minnesota Twins (+800), Oakland Athletics (+900), Tampa Bay Rays (+1200), Cleveland Indians (+1800) and Boston Red Sox (+15000).
The Yankees and Astros have matching 99-53 records with 10 regular-season games to play, and both are days away from locking up their respective divisions, the AL East and AL West. Earning the No. 1 seed is not that paramount, as the team with the best record has won the pennant just three times in seven seasons since the playoffs expanded in 2012. Whoever finishes with the best record will host the survivor of the wild-card game.
The Twins have opened a five-game cushion in the AL Central over the Indians with only 11 games left. But a season-ending shoulder injury to rangy centerfielder Byron Buxton and shoulder discomfort experienced by rightfielder Max Kepler has compromised their depth heading into the playoffs.
The surging Athletics, who have taken a two-game lead over the Rays for the first wild-card spot, stack up as the more tantalizing darkhorse. Backing a wild-card team is a gamble, but Oakland has a league-best 12-4 record since September 1. The Athletics, led by the left side of their infield, Marcus Semien and Matt Chapman, also won their season series against the Yankees 4-2 with a plus-12 run differential.
As for the second wild card, the Rays (89-63) are clinging to a half-game lead over the Indians (88-63). Seven of Tampa Bay’s final 10 games are against teams that are either in a playoff position or still in the hunt for one, compared to six out of 11 on Cleveland’s remaining schedule.
The Red Sox are nine games out of the second wild card with 12 games to play. They still have a four-game home series to play against Tampa Bay, but they simply don’t have enough track to hop over two teams.