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

The White Sox were favored to win the AL Central 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: Detroit Tigers at Chicago White Sox
White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson celebrates with second baseman Danny Mendick after team’s win against the Detroit Tigers at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

It’s early June and the American League Central race may already be over. Two or three contenders were expected to vie for the crown at the start of the season, but one has shown through two months that, despite operating at well less than 100 percent strength, it is a level above everyone else. Is there any value to be had here? Let’s examine the AL Central odds on DraftKings Sportsbook and find out where is the best place to put your money.

  1. Chicago White Sox (34-22) —
  2. Cleveland Indians (30-24) 3.0 GB
  3. Kansas City Royals (28-26) 5.0 GB
  4. Detroit Tigers (23-33) 12.0 GB
  5. Minnesota Twins (22-34) 12.0 GB

Analysis: Before we talk about the good, I think we have to start with the bad: The Minnesota Twins are the most disappointing team in baseball. They were seen as the second-best team in the division on Opening Day at +125, but their bullpen has blown a ton of close games and missing Byron Buxton, who came out of the gate playing like an MVP, hasn’t helped. They are now +1800 and already planning their October vacations. The Royals (+1400) and Tigers (+10000) should probably join them. The Royals have remained competitive thanks to some quality innings from young starters such as Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, and a fantastic season from catcher Salvador Perez. But they are a team without a true strength and one that will naturally fall back over the summer months.

The Indians definitely have a strength — the top of their starting rotation keeps them in close games while the back end of their bullpen has the ability to win those tense affairs. Cleveland’s problem is they just don’t score enough. They rank in the bottom third of MLB in runs and OPS. The Indians sit at +350 to win the division.

But Cleveland is a distant second to the White Sox, who may be the best team in the American League. As of June 3, they are the only AL club to rank among the top five in runs scored and ERA. And they have taken a lead in the division without much or any help from injured stars Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez. Both men are expected to return later this year, which will buttress this already formidable squad. They are listed at -400, making the White Sox the biggest favorite in any division right now.

Betting value: I don’t see a real value pick here. Unless Chicago’s clubhouse forms a mutiny against Tony La Russa and refuses to play, the White Sox will likely run away with the AL Central.

Odds to win AL Central

Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
CHI White Sox +105 -120 -140 -400
CLE Indians +550 +700 +800 +350
KC Royals +2500 +3500 +475 +1400
MIN Twins +155 +125 +325 +1800
DET Tigers +2500 +6000 +10000 +10000

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