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AL West Picks
Angels and Rangers look to dethrone A’s in AL West

The AL West is back to having five teams again with the Houston Astros joining the division this season but for all intents and purposes, this division will be a two horse race in 2013.

Adding the worst overall team from a season ago in Houston does nothing to threaten the rest of the division. In fact, all it does is it gives the other team in this division more “easy” wins on their resume as Houston is projected to be really bad again this year. At +10000 to win the division, Houston shouldn’t even begin to be considered.

It will be a two horse race though and that means bettors can look straight past Seattle (+1000) and Oakland (+500) as well. Oakland surprised the entire MLB with their phenomenal 2012 season but they won’t repeat that success this year with the likes of L.A. and Texas getting stronger too. Oakland will be competitive all year in this division but in the long, grinding season that the MLB is, I expect this young team to fade down the stretch this time.

Seattle has improved as well but they still lack significant hitting power in their lineup and great pitching alone won’t get it done against some of the sluggers their rivals have.

That brings me to what this division will come down to: L.A. vs. Texas.

The Angels (-140) are the favorite and with good reason. They added one of Texas’ best hitters this off-season in Josh Hamilton, simultaneously getting better and weakening a bitter rival with one move. This is a year after pitcher C.J Wilson jumped ship to La-La-land and after some of the early issues the Angels had out of the gate in 2012, I expect them to come out flying from the get-go this year.

This year it is Texas (+300) that has to figure out how to gel with so many new faces in town and I think that they will have some early struggles like the Angels did in 2012. They are still quite loaded offensively and will put up some big offensive numbers in their hitter’s park, but it won’t be enough to overtake the Angels for the division crown.

Taking favorites in division future bets like this isn’t something I like to do often, but there is no other choice in the AL West. After bringing in all their high-priced talent last year and missing the playoffs, L.A. will be on a mission to get to the playoffs and make a deep run. Winning the division and potentially earning the top record in the American League (thanks to all those added wins vs. Houston), is the first step in that process.

Take the Angels (-140) to win the AL West. 

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