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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:52 PM

Future Odds Outlook - American League Pennant

MLB Futures Betting Outlook

American League - Wild Card Round

  • No. 1 Tampa Bay Rays vs. No. 8 Toronto Blue Jays
  • No. 2 Oakland Athletics vs. No. 7 Chicago White Sox
  • No. 3 Minnesota Twins vs. No. 6 Houston Astros
  • No. 4 Cleveland Indians vs. No. 5 New York Yankees

(American League Pennant Future Odds)

Tampa Bay Rays (3/1)

With the thought of a “Title Bay Triple” (Lightning NHL, Rays MLB, and Bucs NFL) dancing in the minds of all fans in Tampa-St. Pete, the Rays have secured the top seed in the AL and will be able to unfurl their deep and versatile pitching staff to great effect, we suspect.

Blake Snell is already lined up to start the first playoff game at the Trop and manager Kevin Cash has myriad options including several “openers” which mostly fared well this season. Did we mention pitching depth? Into last weekend, twelve different bullpen Rays recorded saves this season, trying an MLB record, and this was only a 60-game season.

Lots of contact hitters in the lineup, a few legit power threats, good speed on the bases, with 2B Brandon Lowe a longshot MVP candidate. But it’s pitching and defense that could push Tampa Bay to its first Fall Classic since 2008.

New York Yankees (7/2)

For much of the past two months we simply didn’t think the Yankees had enough pitching, as their rotation looked threadbare at times beyond Gerrit Cole, and even he has been victimized far too much by the long ball.

Without proper reinforcements at the trade deadline, the Yankees seemed vulnerable. And that’s where they still could be vulnerable, in the rotation, though the offense started to sock the ball in mid-September and set a franchise record (which means something, as these are the Yankees!) in one three-game stretch vs. the Blue Jays when clouting at least six homers in each game!

But does Aaron Boone have enough pitching to get the Yanks to the World Series for the first time since 2009?

Oakland Athletics (21/4)

The edge for the A’s? With all due respect to the many relievers in the Tampa Bay bullpen, the A’s had the best relief corps in baseball this season, with Liam Hendricks emerging as the premier closer in AL.

The lineup got a late-season boost from ex-Diamondbacks 3B Jake Lamb, who had eight hits in his first 22 at-bats for Oakland. Caution for the Athletics? It’s the playoffs, actually, as Oakland has often teased across the past two “Billy Beane decades” but that entire span of time has won just one playoff series, an ALDS sweep of the Twins back in 2006. After which Oakland was swept out by Jim Leyland’s Tigers.

Last year it was a wild card elimination at the hands of the Rays. Like the Nats last October, if Oakland can get by a mini-series at the outset, could that slay the recent postseason demons and prove a launching pad to a deep-October run?

Minnesota Twins (11/2)

Before we go anywhere with Twins talk, we must point out their 16 straight losses (that’s right, 16 straight losses!) in postseason play, with the last win in Game 1 of the 2004 ALDS vs. the Yankees. Sheesh!

New York has delivered numerous postseason beatings since and safe to say that is not a matchup that recent history suggests would be a good one for the Twins. But this has the look of a better-balanced Minnesota team than the homer-happy entry of a year ago, with Rocco Baldelli already lining up ex-Dodger Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and now-healthy Michael Pineda in a solid-looking playoff rotation.

Four players with 12 or more homers (Sano, Buxton, Rosario, and ageless Cruz) suggest the Twins still have more than enough pop. But can they overcome their ongoing playoff bugaboo, which has become as much psychological as anything else in recent years?

If Minnesota can't win a game vs. wobbly-looking Houston in the first round, it's Dr. Phil time at target Field.

Chicago White Sox (13/2)

The Chisox were in contention for the top seed in the AL into the final week before a disastrous 4-game sweep at the hands of the Indians, part of a 6-game skid that has the Pale Hose dropping all of the way to the 7 seed.

For much of the past two months, however, Chicago had the look of a team that could make some real noise, especially with Dallas Keuchel back on the mound in mid-September after back issues and threatening to team with no-hit man Lucas Giolito as a dangerous 1-2 at the top of the postseason rotation.

The bats, however, cooled in the last week, and there is concern about a recent foot injury to slugging LF Eloy Jimenez. Even with the late slump, the Chisox have the requisite arms both in the rotation and bullpen to rate a dangerous contender no matter where the early-round assignments place them (it's at Oakland to start things in the best-of-three).

Cleveland Indians (8/1)

Not among the AL favorites, but the team no one really wants to face because of that depth in the pitching staff. Shane Bieber has been dominant this season and is odds-on to win the AL Cy Young Award, with Zach Plesac and Carlos Carrasco forming an imposing 1-2-3 in the rotation.

Brad Hand has also been one of the AL’s best closers in 2020. The offense, however, has a serious lack of punch outside of 3B Jose Ramirez, who might rate peripheral consideration in the MVP race.

But with their rotation, the Tribe make an intriguing longshot pick...especially if they can get past the Yankees in the first round.

Houston Astros (13/1)

Nope, not going to happen.

The Astros, despite their many recent successes (however they were gained), still had a mostly-anonymous look for much of the season, with Dusty Baker forced to move many new faces into the lineup and especially the rotation after Justin Verlander went down.

The result was that Houston rarely inched above .500 (in fact finishing only 29-31) and needed until the last weekend before finally backing into a playoff berth made available because the rest of the AL West was so flawed.

Without Verlander, Zack Greinke now leads the postseason rotation, but this team would not likely have been able to make a run at the playoffs without the expanded format. Even considering Minnesota's many recent playoff failures, doubt the ‘stros escape the first round vs. the Twins.

Toronto Blue Jays (14/1)

The precocious Blue Jays and their young “legacy lineup” (Guerrero, Bichette, Biggio) might have arrived a year sooner than expected, and their ride the past two months was even more jumbled than most teams as the team had to scramble for a temporary home at a AAA park, Buffalo’s Sahlen Field. Out on the road for the first round, we won’t get any playoff action in Buffalo where the “over” was always a good idea and where Toronto scored 6.2 runs pg.

The bullpen, except against the Yankees, was solid all season, and ex-Dodger Hyun-Jin Ryu was comfortable as the new ace and will likely take the ball for the playoff opener vs. the Rays. LF Teoscar Hernandez was also on a 50-homer pace for a full season for much of the past two months.

Toronto is capable of causing some trouble, and was pretty competitive (4-6, with many close games) vs. first-round foe Tampa Bay, but not sure there’s enough depth in the rotation to make a deep run. Check back next year, when the story could be different!

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