AL Central 2021 Division Preview
AL Central Preview
Today we bring you the AL Central in the series of divisional baseball previews. We are breaking down each team and looking to see if there is any value for a future’s bet. Keep in mind, these are not the picks from BTB or BTBJesse. If you want to review any of the previous articles, click here.
Last year the Twins ended their season with quite the showing in extending their playoff losing streak to 18 games. Does that impact this regular season? Not one bit, but it is still a fun stat to point out. Anyway, led by Nelson Cruz, the Twins have had back-to-back seasons of winning at a .600 clip. This year oddsmakers are looking at them to win 88.5 games which comes out to about a .550 winning percentage. This is a team that gets to play the Tigers and Royals each about 15 – 20 times per season. I like their over, but don’t love it. Kenta Maeda was 2nd in Cy Young voting last year, but I doubt he keeps that level of pitching up. Even if he does, most are question marks behind him. I’d prefer to take the Twins to not make the playoffs at +125 over everything, but above all, I won’t force a play on them.
Chicago White Sox
There is no question the White Sox are on the rise. Much like their neighbors on the North Side of Chicago from a few years ago, the White Sox have an influx of talented youth, combined with a solid pitching staff. There are not many holes when looking at this team. Their pitching staff could be one of the best in the majors after signing Keuchel again, adding Lance Lynn, and getting Michael Kopech back. One of the rotation guys even could be traded if needed to get another piece at the deadline if needed. Don’t forget they shored up the bullpen a bit by adding Liam Hendriks as their closer. That gives them four pitchers on their roster that were in the top 10 of Cy Young voting last year. I haven’t even touched on their lineup with reigning MVP Jose Abreu. There is a lot of change on this team, and young players can still struggle and go through growth issues, so 91.5 is pretty high for me, but I think I’d pass on this too. I really like Tim Anderson to be the hits leader for the league though, and at +1500 that’s enough of a reason for me to take it.
Well… Shane Bieber is still there, so there is that. The Cy Young winner is now the official ace of the staff after the Indians have let Kluber, Bauer, and Clevenger all go within the last couple of years. Somehow, their staff does still have a lot of quality even after letting go of those strong pitchers. Their bullpen is a bit of a question mark, I’m not even sure who will definitely close for them. Jose Ramirez has no protection around him now that Lindor is gone, so I expect a down season from him. Terry Francona does seem to get the most out of his teams so they likely will be competitive, but not enough to make the playoffs. They sit at 81.5 wins, and since Francona (2013) has been there, they’ve been at 81 or better. I’ll play the over for a small amount and hope that Tito can get them to 82 wins.
Kansas City Royals
Yep, Kansas City has more than just Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Though they may want to see if he is available every five days to take the mound because the rest of staff is not anything to be excited about. There is reason for us to be excited about their hitters though. The outfield has solid contributors that will give tough at-bats in Merrifield, Taylor, and Benintendi (who I think will do better outside of Boston). Most of all though, Jorge Soler hit 48 home runs in his last full season (had a down year last year) at +2500, why not put a little on it and see if he returns to that 2019 form. The big bet that I’ll make though is on Adalberto Mondesi – this to me is a MAX player bet (less than a team MAX because if he gets injured its over) – to be the stolen bases leader. Currently the favorite at -130, if you combine his last 161 games, he has 67 stolen bases. For reference, Acuna led the lead in 2019’s full season with 46. That same season, Mondesi had 43 in 102 games. Crush it.
The Tigers haven’t had a winning percentage over .400 in four years. Read that again. This year is another year of rebuilding and working on getting their youth some playing opportunity. Their pitching staff shouldn’t intimidate anyone. Their win total is set at 68.5, take the under and never look back. They should lose 100 games.
Because we had a couple of no bet teams, one last bet that I like is Jose Abreu to have more home runs than Jose Ramirez. Abreu is +100, both are listed at 32.5 home runs for the year as their over/under.
All odds found on Draftkings unless otherwise noted and current as of 3/23/21.
- David Troy
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