The American League East looked like one of the toughest divisions in baseball early in the season. As we approach the All-Star break, however, there’s a clear line between the good team, the flawed teams and the dreadful team (hey there, Baltimore). And good luck finding anyone who thought that one of those good teams at this stage would be the Red Sox, who finished at the bottom of the division in the shortened 2020 season. Now at the top of the AL East, they currently have the best odds to win it, according to DraftKings Sportsbook. But is Boston the best value play? Let’s talk about it.
- Boston Red Sox (54-34) —
- Tampa Bay Rays (51-36) 2.5 GB
- Toronto Blue Jays (44-40) 8.0 GB
- New York Yankees (44-42) 9.0 GB
- Baltimore Orioles (28-58) 25.0 GB
Analysis: Don’t expect the Yankees to finally live up to their preseason expectations; you kind of are what your record says you are at this stage, and the Yankees have made it clear that they really don’t want to go over the competitive balance tax threshhold, which they are right next to. For all intents and purposes, this will be a two-team race for the remainder of the summer.
AL East Division winner odds
Red Sox -180
Blue Jays +800
Analysis: This division’s most important games will be the 13 between the Red Sox (-180) and the Rays (+220) during the second half of the season. Boston has won largely on the back of its offense, which has scored the second-most runs in the Majors. While the starting rotation is one of the 10 worst in the game, the big surprise from this team has been the effectiveness of the bullpen. Namely, the trio of Garrett Whitlock, Adam Ottavino and closer Matt Barnes have provided Boston with the AL’s third-best bullpen ERA, ranking them right behind the Rays.
The Rays’ bullpen is still very good, obviously, but what Boston has done in that area helps neutralize one of Tampa Bay’s strengths. The Rays still don’t have the bats to keep up with the Red Sox, and winning this division while probably without Tyler Glasnow for the rest of the way is difficult to envision right now.
Betting value: Red Sox, -180
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