Detroit fell hard under the expectations of MLB betting players last year, as a number of big-money moves failed to pay off. Chicago edged Minnesota in an exciting playoff game to win the Central, but sportsbook odds are backing the Tigers to recover and win their first Central title.
MLB odds have the Tigers at +125, and Detroit had no problems scoring runs last year, finishing fifth in the majors with an attack powered by Miguel Cabreraâ€™s 37 HR and 127 RBI.
However, Detroit allowed 857 runs, fourth-worst in all of baseball, and Justin Verlander must return to his 2007 form for the Tigers to have a chance. Jeremy Bonderman missed most of last season with a blood clot, and he has to show heâ€™s healthy if the Tigers are to get out of the Central basement.
Cleveland is next with MLB odds of +175 to win the Central, and the Indians were inconsistent all season before ending with a .500 mark.
Cliff Lee proved a fine replacement for the traded C.C. Sabathia, winning the AL Cy Young award, but itâ€™s also essential for Fausto Carmona, who suffered through a hip ailment in 2008, to emerge as the No.2 pitcher. Grady Sizemore is back to spearhead a potent attack that was seventh in the majors in runs scored, while Jhonny Peralta is one of the best hitting shortstops in the league.
Minnesota was on the losing end of the playoff loss to the White Sox in 2008, and the Twins have MLB odds of +240 this season.
Minnesota quietly built one of the strongest offenses in the majors, as Justin Morneau led the way with 23 HR and 129 RBI. The Twinsâ€™ pitching soldiered on without Johan Santana, coming in 16th in runs allowed, and after an 11-4 record, 27-year-old Scott Baker could be the next pitching star in the American League.
The defending champions have MLB odds of +600, and theyâ€™ll have to replace Javier Vazquez in the starting rotation. The White Sox finished right behind the Tigers in runs scored, and Carlos Quentin will be eager to come back from a freak broken wrist after being a favorite for the AL MVP for a good part of the season.
Kansas City brings up the rear with MLB odds of +800, and the Royals acquired Coco Crisp from Boston in the offseason for their outfield. The Royals were sixth-worst in runs scored and ninth-worst in runs allowed, but they should be better this year, based on a better performance in the second half.
14.5 games separated first from last in the AL Central last year, and it should be another closely contested season. On paper, Detroit should run away with it, but their pitching is a huge question mark. Minnesota is probably the most consistent, but if Lee has another Cy Young season, the Indians will be right there as well. If youâ€™re looking for a good value pick, take Minnesota and their MLB odds.
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