Shane Lambert looks again at the American League West and the Houston Astros still look very much the best value in the betting markets.
It has been a little while since I commented on the Major League Baseball futures; however I still think that the money should still be heading toward the Houston Astros and away from the Texas Rangers. This is despite the fact that the odds on the Astros have shortened of late.
As I write, Texas appear to be in big trouble in the American League. They've been mediocre for a long time now as they are just 15-15 heading into Wednesday over their last 30. Furthermore, in the shorter term they are just 7-13 over their last 20.
The Colby Lewis injury appeared to hurt this team as he has been out for a month now and the wins have been sparse. He is expected back later this summer, but that doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be back strong. Him, as a question mark, is a point in favour of betting against Texas in baseball futures. Furthermore, I really don't like how Adrian Beltre has played of late, noting just 9 total bases in his last 10 games entering Wednesday.
For those that like laying teams, Marathon Bet have a nice line available. That firm are offering 113/50 on Texas NOT to win the AL West. That's certainly a line worth grabbing, one that basically backs Houston, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Oakland combined.
What's also interesting is that the crumbling Rangers are also the favourites to win the ALCS right now with the big majority of sportsbooks (i.e. 3/1 with BetVictor). However, this is a team that looks as though they win lose the lead in their division to the Houston Astros some time in the first half of August. That wouldn't take the Rangers out of the ALCS running, but it would really hurt. 1/5 with Marathon Bet against Texas winning the ALCS is a good line too.
Regarding the Astros, right now they are still 17/2 with William Hill to win the American League, odds that I don't love as I already tipped them much longer (at 22/1 in this article). However, I do think Houston's odds will still shorten before the playoffs.
The situation in the American League looks like this to me:
(1) The Astros should be considered the favourites in the West.
(2) The Cleveland Indians should be considered very heavy favourites to win the AL Central.
(3) Trying to pick a winner in the AL East is starting to get a bit foolhardy.
What that situation adds up to is Houston and Cleveland avoiding the Wild Card game. In regard to point three Toronto, Boston, and Baltimore are in a very unfavourable situation. None are out of the divisional picture, but you can't pick any one of them to win the ALCS at this point with much confidence. Two of those teams, at best, will end up in the coin-toss Wild Card game and yet they are all bunched together in terms of odds, all priced at about 6/1 - pretty short.
It's Cleveland and Houston that have the edges right now, because with these two teams you can have a higher degree of confidence in them winning their division and avoiding the play-in game. Between the two, the Indians get crossed out mainly because of short odds as they are just 4/1 now, odds that don't have clear enough value (BetVictor). That's basically leaving Houston as the only team worth taking at the moment.
3-pt bet on Texas not to win the AL West at 113/50 with Marathon Bet
2-pt bet on Houston at 17/2 in ALCS futures with William Hill