With six different American League champions since 2005, the chase for this year’s pennant should be quite competitive. Here’s a look a the top four favorites along with a viable long shot to win the 2011 A.L. crown in the upcoming baseball betting season:
Boston Red Sox (+180)
Boston has been able to win 95 or more games in six of the last eight seasons. After a productive offseason, the Red Sox will likely challenge the 100-victory plateau in 2011. While the Red Sox did lose third baseman Adrian Beltre, Boston was still able to upgrade its offense in a big way this winter. With the additions of Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, the club should be able to score plenty of runs this season. The rotation has a good mix of veterans and youngsters. Boston will be looking for rebound years from Josh Beckett and John Lackey in 2011.
New York Yankees (+250)
After coming up short in last year’s American League Championship Series, the Yankees will try to go one step further in 2011. The main concern for New York this season is the starting rotation. With an uncertain status surrounding Andy Pettitte for this year, the back of the rotation is a little suspect. There are no such concerns at the back of the Yankees bullpen. With a closer’s salary, Rafael Soriano has signed on to setup Mariano Rivera in the late innings. The offense is still solid but age is starting to catch up with Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter.
Texas Rangers (+800)
The Rangers organization finally had a chance to celebrate an American League title last season. Texas should be able to contend again in 2011 behind a solid mix of youngsters and veterans. The signing of Beltre this winter boosts an already explosive offense. He should be a nice compliment to MVP Josh Hamilton in the middle of the Rangers batting order. The pitching staff isn’t as strong but the club does have some capable arms to work with. While the team wasn’t able to resign Cliff Lee, the addition of former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb could be an underrated pickup.
Minnesota Twins (+800)
After winning two straight AL Central titles, the Twins have had a quiet offseason. On offense, Minnesota is hoping that star first baseman Justin Morneau can stay on the field after he played in just 81 contests a year ago. Standout closer Joe Nathan is set to return after missing all of last season due to an injury. Veterans Carl Pavano and Jim Thome were resigned in the winter to keep the nucleus of the Twins intact.
ROI Potential Dark Horse Winner:
Oakland Athletics (+2200)
From 2000-06, the Athletics never won fewer than 88 games in a year while reaching the postseason five times. In the last four seasons, Oakland has failed to produce a winning campaign. In 2011, the club could be ready to contend again. Last year, a mediocre offense failed to provide much help to a solid pitching staff. The additions of Hideki Matsui, David DeJesus and Josh Willingham should help the Athletics score some more runs in 2011.
Odds to win 2011 A.L. Pennant
(odds from Sportsbook.com)
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Also see the lastest odds to win the 2011 World Series.