The arrival of August means Major League Baseball (MLB) pennant races are officially heating up – despite what the highly stratified American League (AL) standings might suggest. So without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest 2019 AL Pennant betting odds at the bookies.
Both the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros have strangleholds on the AL East and AL West, respectively. As a result, this pair of powerhouses – which were matched up the 2017 AL Championship Series won by the Astros – are listed by online sportsbook Bovada as heavy favorites on the 2019 AL Pennant betting odds leaderboard.
The Yankees (+160) hold a slim edge over the Astros (+170), but as the only AL teams priced at better than 6 to 1, they’re on the inside track to staging a 2017 sequel. Preseason pundits nailed the Yankees/Astros/Field pecking order, with New York and Houston opening at (+280) back in mid-March to share AL pennant favorite status entering Opening Day.
The AL has won five of the last seven World Series titles, including the Astros’ long-awaited championship breakthrough two years back. Therefore, hoisting the league’s pennant could be a precursor to winning it all – especially given the NL’s relative lack of competition.
While six AL teams – the Yankees, Astros, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Tampa Bay Rays, and Oakland Athletics – have eclipsed the 60-win plateau by now, only two NL teams can claim similar success. The Los Angeles Dodgers sport the best record in baseball – playing their way into the last two World Series only to fall short – and the Atlanta Braves are exceeding expectations, but the duo are the only NL contenders playing at the same level as elite AL teams.
New York’s loaded lineup stacked with home run happy hitters might get top billing, while Houston’s lights-out rotation, roster depth, and AL Championship Series berths two years running makes them a legitimate second fiddle.
However, neither team will enter the postseason having survived the gauntlet of a fierce divisional race. Whoever wins the AL Central will, however, as the Twins and Indians fight for that title.
Minnesota is making moves through the power of the longball, sending a record-setting number of homers over the fence to lead all of baseball in that regard. No other team has been close to them in home runs, and with whispers of a “juiced” ball becoming full-fledged roars of late, the Twins’ propensity for power makes them (+600) to win their first pennant since 1991.
As for Cleveland, this team has taken the opposite approach, hitting only 140 home runs heading into the week while scoring just 489 runs total – or 115 fewer than the Twins. The Indians’ pitching staff has been the team’s saving grace though, with ace Trevor Bauer joined by second-year phenom Shane Bieber in suffocating opposing offenses every fifth day.
At 426 runs allowed and a collective 3.75 ERA, Cleveland is the second-stingiest staff in the AL behind only the Tampa Bay Rays, good for a small cushion in the Wild Card race and (+750) pennant odds.
Last season, the Rays parlayed the league’s lowest payroll of $51 million into 90 wins, leaving baseball prognosticators stunned and slack jawed.
That stunning ability to succeed against teams paying double, triple, and even quadruple for their roster than Tampa Bay didn’t produce a playoff spot, as the Rays finished seven games behind New York for the second Wild Card.
One year later, however, and despite Tampa Bay trailing the Yankees by a similar margin in the AL East, the Rays are much closer to crashing the postseason party. Once again deploying the lowest payroll in the game at $63 million, the Rays are nonetheless in the thick of a heated Wild Card race.
With the similarly strapped for cash Athletics ($92 million payroll / 26th lowest in baseball) also right in the race for the last Wild Card, a “Moneyball” style success story could be in the cards. Tampa Bay is offering (+1400) odds on capturing the second pennant in franchise history, and Oakland is right behind at (+1800) to win the AL for the first time since doing so three straight times between 1988 and 1990.
As one might suspect, at (+1100), the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox enjoy better 2019 AL Pennant betting odds than Tampa Bay and Oakland. Boasting baseball’s highest payroll at $227 million, Boston outspends both upstarts combined and fields largely the same roster as last year’s title team. The Red Sox are the only other team within striking distance of the final Wild Card slot.
To find out where your favorite team’s 2019 AL Pennant betting odds currently stand entering the home stretch, check out the table below:
|Team||A.L. Pennant Odds on 7/30/19||A.L. Pennant Odds on 3/12/19|
|New York Yankees||+160||+280|
|Boston Red Sox||+1100||+290|
|Tampa Bay Rays||+1400||+1700|
|Los Angeles Angels||+5000||+2500|
|Chicago White Sox||+50000||+4000|
|Kansas City Royals||+250000||+12500|
|Toronto Blue Jays||+250000||+5000|