The cream is starting to rise in the American League and bookmakers have been busy recalibrating their betting markets since the MLB trade deadline.
Sportsbooks have shortened the prices on the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees the most due to acquisitions of multiple All-Star players. Chicago bolstered its bullpen with reliever Craig Kimbrel while New York added some thump with left-handed hitters Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo.
Additions like that definitely attract dollars, so the necessary adjustments were made behind the counter. DraftKings Sportsbook moved Chicago to the American League favorite from +300 to +250 and slashed New York’s number from +1100 to +850.
The Houston Astros, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays aren’t going anywhere either.
AL pennant odds via DraftKings
White Sox +250 ($100 wins $250)
Red Sox +425
Blue Jays +1400
“This is shaping up to be one hell of a gauntlet in the junior circuit,” one professional bettor told NESN. “The Astros and White Sox were preseason favorites in their respective divisions and those two teams are loaded. The Yankees stumbled early, but they’re still very much alive. Nobody wants to face Gerrit Cole in a potential one-game playoff.
“Then you’ve got Boston and Tampa fighting for the AL East,” the bettor continued. “Those two teams do it in different ways. The Red Sox offense has carried the club and that lineup is much more dangerous with a guy like Kyle Schwarber hitting fifth or sixth. The Rays still do it with pitching and defense and their bullpen is arguably the best in the league.
“I still think Chicago is the most complete team from top to bottom.”
Another reason the White Sox have the shortest odds is that their path to the playoffs is the easiest. They’re basically a shoo-in to make the postseason thanks to very little opposition in the AL Central. As of Tuesday, Chicago holds baseball’s largest divisional lead (8.5 games over the Cleveland Indians).
And the White Sox will only get stronger once Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert reenter the fold.
Baseball Reference isn’t as bullish on Chicago. Their advanced metrics and calculations say Tampa Bay is the favorite with a 31 percent chance to win the American League pennant.
AL pennant projections via Baseball Reference
White Sox 20%
Red Sox 11%
Blue Jays 7%
Betting futures markets will remain fluid over the next two months and these prices will continue to ebb and flow as a specific team gets hot or cold down the home stretch.
It’s just hard to ignore the odds jolt the White Sox and Yankees received after the deadline.