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Updated look at AL West standings, best value bet to win based on odds movement

The A’s were favored to win the AL West entering the season, but how have the odds changed two months into 2021? We break down the movement and identify the best value bets.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners
Oakland Athletics first baseman Matt Olson bumps fists with third base coach Mark Kotsay as he runs the bases after hitting a solo-home run against the Seattle Mariners during the second inning at T-Mobile Park.
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Athletics’ current placement on top of the American League West is more impressive when you consider that they got off to an historically awful start to the season. The A’s opened as losers in their first six games; they are 33-19 since. A 13-game win streak made it possible. But Oakland’s lead on June 3 is just one game as the Astros are contenders once again. But what about the rest of the division? Let’s examine the current AL West odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and see where is the best place to put your money.

  1. Oakland Athletics (33-25) —
  2. Houston Astros (31-25) 1.0 GB
  3. Seattle Mariners (29-29) 4.0 GB
  4. Los Angeles Angels (25-31) 7.0 GB
  5. Texas Rangers (22-36) 11.0 GB

Analysis: We don’t have to say anything about the Rangers other than Adolis Garcia looks like the AL Rookie of the Year. The Mariners are going to be so much fun to watch in a couple of years when Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez come of age. But again, that’s in a couple of years.

The Angels seem to have the same season every year: They have one of the best players in the game — if not the best player in the game — and can’t go anywhere because their pitching remains subpar. The twist this year, of course, is that Shohei Ohtani has become the Angels’ star while Mike Trout has missed significant time due to a calf strain.

Even if Trout was healthy, I’m not sure it would matter enough to make a dent in this division. The Angels’ pitching staff is at the bottom of the AL in ERA and trailing everyone in WHIP. I would like to believe that this top-heavy team could turn things around, but that just seems like a waste of energy and money.

Your pick here is either the A’s (-103) or the Astros (-129). Oakland had slightly better odds than Houston (+110 versus +150) at the start of May as they were coming off their long winning streak. Now, they represent a value pick of sorts, if this division really has one. Houston definitely has the better lineup — they have seven qualified hitters with an OPS greater than .800, entering June 3 — but both pitching staffs offer a multitude of high-quality, underrated starters. Not enough people give credit to Oakland’ s Chris Bassitt and Sean Manaea or Houston’s Framber Valdez and Jose Urquidy. Because of those and other hurlers, I don’t think either team will pull away over the final four months.

Betting value: Right now, Oakland would classify as the “value” bet because they would give you a slightly better return. I do think Houston will ultimately take this division because of their more potent bats, but as stated above, the A’s have the pitchers to rack up victories in bunches. With a break or two, it wouldn’t be shocking for Oakland to win the AL West.

Odds to win AL West

Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
HOU Astros +160 +125 +150 -129
OAK Athletics +125 +145 +110 -103
LA Angels +400 +375 +350 +2000
SEA Mariners +2000 +2600 +2500 +5000
TEX Rangers +3000 +6000 +10000 +35000

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