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American League Pennant betting splits before Opening Day

We take a look at how the public is betting on the American League champions heading into the 2021 MLB season.

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge its congratulated by his teammates in the dugout after hitting a two-run home run in the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies during spring training at BayCare Ballpark. Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays are the defending American League champions, but not many people are betting on a repeat in 2021. Let’s scan through who are the favorites in the AL and talk about who could emerge as a darkhorse to win the pennant in October.

The Yankees and White Sox are just dominating the action, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The Yankees (+230) have taken in 53% of the handle and 44% of the bets. If you combine what the Yankees and White Sox (+380) have commanded, you exceed 80% of the handle and reach nearly 80% of the bets. No other AL team has received more than 5% in either category. Meanwhile, the Rays have just 1% of the handle and 3% of the bets.

I think the best under-the-radar bet to win the pennant is the Houston Astros (+1000). They have taken in 2% of the handle and 2% of the bets. A lot of the Astros’ stars struggled during the 2020 shortened season, but there are a lot of proven, high-level bats in that lineup who should rebound in 2021. The starting rotation has Zack Greinke, Lance McCullers and a few young pitchers — Jose Urquidy, Cristian Javier and the currently injured Framber Valdez — who not enough people know about yet. Also, the first step to a pennant is winning your division, and the American League West is still a pretty weak group.

AL Pennant Betting Splits

Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
1 NY Yankees +230 53% 44%
2 CHI White Sox +380 30% 35%
3 OAK Athletics +900 3% 3%
4 TOR Blue Jays +875 2% 5%
5 HOU Astros +1000 2% 2%
6 BOS Red Sox +2300 2% 2%
7 MIN Twins +750 2% 2%
8 LA Angels +2000 2% 2%
9 TB Rays +850 1% 3%
10 CLE Indians +2000 < 1% 1%

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