Race To MLB 2018 World Series Begins
Following a long, cold, snow filled Canadian winter, break out the sandals and shades as the 2018 Major League Baseball season has finally arrived. After a month of spring training fixtures, then a 162-game grind through the regular season, plus three rounds of playoffs, one squad will remain standing as the top team in the American League. There are a handful of squads, though most of them longshots, that could give us our tenth different AL Pennant winner over the past 14 seasons.
Thanks to the Astros dramatic AL title romp last season - 14 of the 15 American League Crews now own at least one ALCS Pennant since its inception in 1969. Hello... Calling Seattle. Care to join the party? Baseball trivia tidbit - Houston is the only MLB franchise with ALCS and NLCS crowns as the 'Stros claimed the National League Championship way back in 2005. Odds on MLB 2018 action, from Opening Day until the final out during the Fall Classic, are LIVE all season long here at CSB.
Will The Houston Astros Claim Back-To-Back ALCS Titles?
When the Kansas City Royals and Seattle Pilots (Milwaukee Brewers) joined the AL ranks in 1969, along with the Montreal Expos (Washington Nationals) and San Diego Padres in the NL, MLB grew to 24 teams. That expansion led to the formation of Eastern and Western Divisions on both sides and the League Championship Series were brought into play. Since 2002, including the Anaheim Angles title that ended a dominant four-year New York Yankees run, ten AL squads have claimed the last 16 ALCS Pennants. The Red Sox (3) Rangers, Royals, Yankees and Tigers (2) lead the way.
With markings of a dynasty squad, Houston is looking to claim back-to-back AL titles for the first time since Kansas City turned the double in 2014 and 2015. With their contract year in brackets, the Astros top four hitters are back to bash as Alex Bregman (’20) George Springer (’21) Carlos Correa (’22) and 2017 AL MVP Jose Altuve (’23) are all locked up long term - and 28 or younger. Starting pitching will be decent but the bullpen still has some question marks. The fireworks would be magical if the Astros and Yankees, current top two chalk at SportsInteraction, hook up again.
StandingsMLB - Regular
Bronx Bash Brothers Set To Grip It And Rip It In New York
Love them, or loath them, the Evil Empire is ready to strike again. Classic rich get richer - New York punked the rest of baseball as they lured NL 2017 MVP and Home Run King Giancarlo Stanton out of Miami during the offseason. The Yankees are well on their way to buying another ALCS title as they have also reeled in relievers Aroldis Chapman, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle during the past two years. Stanton slammed 59 big flies last season and he joins HR runner-up Aaron Judge who jacked 52 balls into the seats en-route to running away with the AL Rookie of the Year award.
Same squads have not squared off in the ALCS, in back-to-back seasons, since the Yankees and Boston Red Sox split a pair of AL Pennants in 2003 (NYY) and 2004 (BOS). Given the talent level on the 2017 AL finalists - that 13-year string may be snapped this season. It would mark the fifth time teams have fought for the AL title two years in a row. Three of the repeats were during a ten-year period, from 1969 to 1978, when the Orioles, Twins, Athletics, Yankees and Royals were hogging the limelight. Now is the best time to get in on ALCS futures lines as they are ripe for the picking.
Mid-Chalk Contenders All Have Some AL Title Potential
Cleveland and Boston are the only other teams with a triple-digit price. The Red Sox won their fifth American League title in 2013 while the Indians claimed their third crown in 2016. The Beantown Boys still lack power but should be in the Wild Card hunt while the Tribe will easily dominate the docile AL Central Division. Tossing a wrench into various Fantasy Baseball betting options, Los Angeles won prized pitcher/hitter/fielder Shohei Ohtani. That brings Mike Trout and the Angeles back to tease bettors as fifth favorites. Though chalk often - the Halo's only title was in 2002.
Canada's Crew rounds out the top tier as Toronto is right behind LAA. We have been watching the Blue Jays window slowly closing for a couple of years now. Jose Bautista is a free agent (may return on a 1-year deal) but the core of Donaldson, Pillar and Smoak remains in place. We don't like that stud RHP Marcus Stroman and the Jays quibbled over $400K in salary - nor that the front office tight wads won. Though adding fuel to Stroman's fire could be bad news for hitters. While they've taken three shots at it (1995, 2000, '01) Seattle is still searching for a franchise first ALCS trophy.
Big American League Underdogs Are In Tough
Sometimes forgotten, as a valuable betting tool, futures lines often act as the shape of things to come for preseason underdogs. Bookmakers usually don't miss the mark when they slap fat tags on pups. After all, how many times do we get a Leicester City (5000:1) style season? That is why we always advise punters to tread lightly when they reach for the big dogs. If you must dip into the deep-end - do so with a modest investment. After their double dip (2014 & '15) Kanas City may seem enticing but the Royals will be one of the lowest scoring teams in the Majors this season.
Baltimore made a run, before falling to the Royals in 2014, but the Orioles will do well do to finish fourth in the AL East. The O's are a mess, and getting messier, and they may finish last behind the Tampa Bay Rays. Although the MLB Central Division will be bad beyond Cleveland - Seattle is worth minor consideration as they may challenge in the AL West. While there are not any sure wagers, there are wise moves to be made during the MLB season. That includes betting on baseball at the sportsbooks featured in the CSB Top Five list. Take advantage of their decades of MLB experience.
Category : MLB News
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