The 2022 MLB playoffs begin with the Wild Card round on Friday, Oct. 7. After that, we’ll get into the divisional playoffs on our way to the World Series. The Houston Astros and New York Yankees have byes in the WC round and are favored to come out of the AL. We go over the odds to win the AL Pennant on DraftKings Sportsbook and make some predictions.
American League pennant odds
Blue Jays +550
The American League may not look as competitive as the National League. The Astros and Yankees are at the top and behind them it’s teams that are way less talented (or have dealt with too many injuries). Houston has had New York’s number in past seasons. The Astros beat the Yankees in the ALCS in 2019 and 2017. It’s Houston’s pennant to lose.
If it comes down to comparing the two favorites, pitching will come into play. The Astros have the edge in starting pitching with Justin Verlander, Framber Valdez, Lance McCullers Jr., Cristian Javier, Luis Garcia and Jose Urquidy. Of course, not all six of them will be starting. McCullers has only eight starts this season after returning from injury. He’s pitched well with a 2.27 ERA. It will be interesting to see how Dusty Baker manages the depth at starter.
The Astros also have a pretty deep lineup with playoff proven bats including Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker. It’ll be tough to get through that order, though the Astros are pretty righty heavy. Either way, the combination of starting pitching and balance in the order make Houston the favorite here.
There aren’t many teams you would consider a “dark horse” in the AL. The Rays are interesting. Tampa Bay hasn’t played well down the stretch and there are a lot of issues throughout the roster. Still, there’s some decent top-end pitching and the bats would need to get it going. That’s one big problem though, the bats. Tampa Bay lacks power throughout the order. Two players hit 20 or more home runs (both were right at 20). Going up against the Guardians in the first round is a winnable series. Dealing with the Yankees after that won’t be easy.
Are the Blue Jays more of a sleeper in the AL? Toronto has the offense to give anyone problems. Aside from Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman, the pitching isn’t very good. Plus, the bullpen has had issues this season. Facing the Mariners, then the Astros, then either the Yankees/Guardians/Rays would be a brutal road to the AL Pennant. At these odds, it’s hard to see the Jays pulling this off. Crazier things have happened, though.
Pick: Astros +175