With the calendar turning the page to May, the first full month of the 2021 MLB baseball season is officially in the books. It was a wild one at that. Baseball wasted no time in providing us with a little bit of everything. From a pair of no-hitters (three if Madison Bumgarner wasn’t subjected to the ridiculous 7-inning doubleheader deal) to young stars like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. mashing, there was certainly no lack of entertainment.
As bettors, we were able to learn quite a lot about several teams and players in April. Indeed, the current MLB standings offer up a few surprises, some positive and some negative, after one month of play. While we are certainly still a long way from the postseason, the MLB futures market remains open. Placing futures bets early in the season allows taking advantage of profitable odds while allowing hedging out of it over the long haul as well. The following article breaks down the current odds and best bets to win the AL Pennant.
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Odds to Win the American League Pennant
Refer to the image below, which contains the current odds at BetMGM to win the 2021 AL Pennant for all 15 teams.
After combining what we saw in the season’s first month along with preseason team handicaps, here is how I am currently approaching the odds to win the 2021 AL Pennant. Outlined below are both my best bet at the current prices as well as a long-shot play for those looking to take a swing for the fences.
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Best Bet to Win the AL Pennant — Houston Astros (+800)
The Astros jumped out to a great start to begin the season, including a sweep of the AL West Division rival Oakland Athletics (+800) in the first week. Fast forward to the end of April, and the ‘Stros are just two games over .500 and in third place in the division. Houston failed to sustain their great start over the full month. At the same time, the A’s went on a 13-game winning streak to completely flip the complexion of the standings. Nonetheless, Dusty Baker’s Astros are just 1.5 games back at the time of writing. It’s impossible to not consider Houston the favorites in the division and a legitimate contender once again for the AL Pennant.
Although it hasn’t always been flawless, the Astros starting rotation remains in the upper half of baseball. No team will ever be excited to face Zack Greinke, while fellow starters Jose Urquidy and Lance McCullers Jr. bring a sturdy presence of their own. Of course, the staff will only improve later this season so long as Justin Verlander does in fact make a successful return from surgery. Although Houston’s bullpen could certainly stand to be upgraded via trade as the season progresses, closer Ryan Pressley seems to have settled into his role nicely in the past week.
Of course, it goes without saying that the Astros lineup has plenty of pop. Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa have all proven their talent before. It’s safe to say that the moment will never be too big for any one of those guys. Outfielders Michael Brantley and DH Yordan Alvarez can certainly rake it as well. The bottom line is no team in the American League besides the Yankees is deserving of having AL Pennant odds on par with Houston. At 8-1, they are easily the best number on the board among the contenders one month in.
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Longshot AL Pennant Pick — Kansas City Royals (+3000)
The Royals were a popular bet among many sharps before the start of the MLB season. One month in, and they are doing their part to give those longshot tickets some life. Kansas City entered the month of May, sitting atop the AL Central standings. This is a division that many believed to be a clear-cut two-horse race between the Chicago White Sox (+500) and Minnesota Twins (+1000). Perhaps it’s time we rethink that and add the Royals into the mix.
Do I believe the Royals have staying power in the division? Not yet. Despite leading their division, the Royals have a -3 run differential. That said, it’s impossible to ignore their strong start when it comes to MLB futures to win the AL Pennant. Pitching will continue to be a major concern, but Kansas City does have a solid ace in Danny Duffy. Fortunately, on nights when their pitching fails them, this team has the bats to overcome it. The lineup includes several notable names in Salvador Perez, Carlos Santana, Whit Merrifield, and Andrew Benintendi.
Needless to say, if the Royals continue to win games, their odds will only continue to shrink. For those seeking a longshot play, put some down on the Royals now. You can always hedge out later on should the wheels indeed fall off. At the same time, are we 100% convinced that the White Sox and Twins are truly that much better? Only time will tell.
Bet on the Royals to win the AL Pennant >>
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Henry John is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Henry, check out his archive and follow him @HankTimeSports.
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