The Major League Baseball season is underway and it’s been a surprising few weeks in terms of early performances. Many of the teams that are favored to win the World Series aren’t shining just yet while a few surprise contenders have emerged.
The defending World Series champion Houston Astros (+450) are still favored to repeat as they’ve started off the season with a 10-6 record. The pitching is definitely holding up, ranking second in the majors in ERA, but the hitting has been inconsistent. After starting the year 5-1, the Astros are just 5-5 in their last 10.
Next in line are the New York Yankees (+700) and Boston Red Sox (+750), even though the Red Sox are 13-2 and the Yankees are 8-7. Much has been made of the struggles of Giancarlo Stanton, who has struck out 25 times so far and has just three home runs, but he is still getting used to the pitchers of the American League after spending his entire career in the National League. It is the pitching that could be a problem for the Yankees as they’re tied for 27th in quality starts and the rotation was a major question mark coming into the season. The Red Sox have been one of the best teams in baseball so far this season, hitting the ball well, and their pitchers are on point. It is just a matter of maintaining that and staying away from injuries for them.
The Chicago Cubs (+800) are the top National League team on the oddsboard although they’re just 7-7 to start the season. They are closely followed by the Cleveland Indians (+900), Washington Nationals (+950) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000). All of those teams have gotten off to so-so starts, with the Dodgers coming in with a 5-9 record. They’re going to have their hands full in a tough National League West Division featuring Arizona (+1800), San Francisco (+3300) and Colorado (+4000). The Nationals, Cubs and Indians should all come around as they’re the best teams in their divisions on paper. However, none of them is better than 8-6.
The two most intriguing teams in these odds right now are the New York Mets (+1100) and Los Angeles Angels (+1200). The Mets are 12-2 and it should come as no surprise that their pitching staff – specifically, their rotation – is leading the way. The Mets lead the majors in ERA and if they’re going to seriously challenge in the National League East, which has been Washington’s to dominate in recent years, they have to stay in the top five there. Meanwhile, the Angels are 13-3 as Mike Trout continues to perform like an MVP. However, he is being overshadowed by Shohei Ohtani, who has a .367 average with three home runs and 11 RBIs, and has won both of his starts with an ERA of 2.08 and 18 strikeouts. Trout seems to have lots of help around him this year, which could make this team a good value play at 12/1.