The MLB postseason is well on its way now. With the AL wildcard round done and over with, fans can now concentrate on the real competitors—or at least the last four teams still standing. Some of the survivors, like the New York Yankees, were expected. Others, like the Houston Astros, not so much.
But therein lies the beauty of the MLB postseason. It doesn’t matter how well or poorly you played during the regular season. The only thing that matters is how you play right now. So, with that in mind, who is going to win the American League?
According to the oddsmakers at BetMGM.com, the winner will be the Bronx Bombers. However, the other three teams do not have bad odds, either:
American League Winner Odds 2020
- New York Yankees +170
- Tampa Bay Rays +190
- Oakland Athletics +380
- Houston Astros +650
Even though they stumbled down the stretch and lost the AL East to the Rays, it comes as no surprise that the Yankees are the favorite. They have played in two of the last three, have a stacked roster, and know how to get the job done when it matters most—in the playoffs.
They certainly did not have too much trouble dispatching the Cleveland Indians in the wild card round (12-3, 10-9). However, they will need to figure out how to make contact against a very tough Rays pitching staff (1.5 ERA in the wildcard round; 3.56 regular season ERA).
During the regular season, the Rays went 8-2 against the Yankees. Their pitchers held the Yankees to a .218 batting average, and 3.4 runs a game while the Yankees staff had a 4.84 ERA against the Rays and allowed 4.7 runs a game.
But the Yankees are the Yankees; everyone expects them to win even when they should not.
Oakland did the world a favor by knocking the Houston Astros off their perch on top of the AL West. But while they were a good pitching team (3.77 regular season ERA), they struggled to hit the ball (.225 batting average; 25th in the league).
They will be a heavy favorite going into their ALDS series against the Astros largely because they dominated Houston during the regular season (7-3). However, they are the only AL team who’s wild card series lasted three games.
If they do not play better, they will have a hard time beating the Astros.
As for Houston, they should not even be in the running. They were devastated by injuries during the regular season and still are. Many of their star players struggled throughout the regular season, too. But when it came down to it, they performed when it mattered against the Twins in the AL wildcard round.
Can they do it again in the ALDS against the Athletics? It is certainly possible. But can they then do it against either the Rays or Yankees in the ALCS? That is not as likely, but not impossible, either. So, the question is whether the risk is worth the reward that comes with their current odds?
So—how should you bet?
The safe bet is the Rays, for sure. But, if you are planning on betting $100, consider putting $10 on Houston. It would be just like the Astros to get angry at all the hate and play their best right now.