The Baseball Savant

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Talking Baseball Futures – 2012 Division Winners

Once again going back to BetUS’s odds on who will win their respective divisions. In my first post I looked at BetUS’s odds of winning the World Series. By looking at the division odds we can get a clearer picture of what Vegas thinks will happen during the 2012 regular season. Let’s take a look.

AL EAST

Yankees -200
Red Sox +325
Rays +650
Blue Jays +800
Orioles +7500

It must absolutely suck being an Orioles fan. They don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning the AL East. This is actually an interesting forecast really. The Rays look to be closer to the Blue Jays than they do the Red Sox or Yankees which I think is patently false. I’m a big believer in starting pitching and when you look at what Tampa Bay brings to the table, you simply can’t discount their front 5. Jeff Niemann is their worst starter going into this season and he’s 36-21 in his 3-years as a full time starter. I think it’s interesting too that New York is the clear cut favorite to win the division. I’m a Yankees homer, but that rotation looks shaky after Sabathia and all the hitters are a year older. Boston is getting older too and battled a lot of injuries last season. They need their pitchers to really step it up too in a year in which Theo Epstein left the building as did Terry Francona who managed the Bosox to 2 championships. There really isn’t a bad bet in the division unless you really think Baltimore has a shot. To me Tampa Bay & Toronto give you the most value, but Boston at +325 isn’t bad either. The worst bet here is New York at -200, but the Yankees probably do have the best chance at winning the division. This will be by far the best division in baseball. The top-4 teams are capable of winning any other division in baseball.

AL CENTRAL

Tigers -1800
Indians +1800
White Sox +1800
Twins +1800
Royals +2000

The most lopsided division in baseball. It’s not even funny how far ahead Detroit is compared to their division rivals. I don’t think at -1800 you can bet on Detroit. It seems ridiculous to bet $1800 to win $100 which goes to show you just how dominant Detroit looks in the Central. If there is one team out there in the Central that could surprise, it’s Minnesota. The Twins were downright awful last season losing 99 games which was their worst season since 1982 when the Twins went 60-102 under the managerial prowess of Billy Gardner! The Twins do have some things going for them. They were hit with massive injuries last season which hurt them in all areas. Their pitching staff really isn’t that bad. Scott Baker is horribly underrated if he can stay healthy for 33-34 starts. Francisco Liriano is yet another year removed from injury and he still can strike batters out. Carl Pavano isn’t going to blow anyone away but he won’t beat himself by allowing homers and walks. The offense took some hits by losing Michael Cuddyer & Jason Kubel, but the Twins picked up Josh Willingham & Ryan Doumit. If Denard Span gets better while Joe Mauer & Justin Morneau can give the Twins full seasons, the offense should be pretty good. The Twins are behind Detroit no question, but if you had to pick a team in the Central to wager on this season, I’d go Minnesota for potential. By the way, I’d be insulted if I was Kansas City. How does Cleveland, Minnesota & Chicago all get +1800 odds yet the Royals get +2000?

AL WEST

Angels -165
Rangers +125
A’s +3000
Mariners +3000

This is a 2-team race. I have my doubts about LA’s offense over the course of a full season because I think Pujols is on the decline and the Angels will have to protect him with hitters like Torii Hunger, Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo. Color me unimpressed. On the other hand, you get the Halos in a short series in October and it might be all over with Dan Haren, Jered Weaver, CJ Wilson & Ervin Santana staring at you. The Angels’s front-4 is simply incredible and Jordan Walden proved last year he can close out games. The Rangers tried to counter the Angels assault on pitching by bringing in Japanese sensation Yu Darvish and moving Neftali Feliz into the rotation from the closer’s role. While not as good on paper as the Angels front end, Texas’s trio of Scott Feldman, Derek Holland & Matt Harrison isn’t too shabby. Plus I think Texas’s offense will be quite a bit better than LA’s. This division is basically a toss up & I can’t see how anyone could make a decent bet on Oakland or Seattle. I like the potential of Oakland being a solid pitching squad that plays good defense, but within the parameters of the division, the Rangers & Angels are simply too good to compete with. If I had to bet I’d go with the Angels at -165 only because I have a hard time believing Texas can get back to the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.

NL EAST

Phillies -800
Braves +1000
Marlins +1000
Nationals +1200
Mets +5000

The NL East isn’t quite as bad as the AL Central, but it’s fairly close. This is a one horse division with the Phillies filthy starting rotation anchoring the belief that Philadelphia will return to the fall classic. I don’t think there is necessarily a bad bet among the top-4 teams, much the same way there isn’t a bad bet amongst the top-4 teams in the AL East. The Phillies give you the least value at -800, but that’s how good the rotation is. I think the Marlins are a very interesting propostion. When Josh Johnson is on, he’s as unhittable as any pitcher in the major leagues. Ricky Nolasco has nasty stuff at time. Anibal Sanchez has thrown a no-hitter. Bringing in veteran Mark Buehrle was a solid move and the Marlins have Carlos Zambrano as their #5 starter which isn’t too shabby. The Marlins need Hanley Ramirez to be Hanley Ramirez again, but if he is then you’ll be putting him with Mike Stanton, Jose Reyes, Logan Morrison & Gaby Sanchez. The Marlins were 72-90 last year so that’s a lot of ground to cover in one offseason, but they look pretty good. I think Washington is a year and a starter away. The Mets are terrible. I’m a little perplexed by Atlanta, but I think their hitters can’t hold up. I think the best bet in the East giving the most value is Miami at +1000.

NL CENTRAL

Reds +125
Cardinals +225
Brewers +250
Cubs +1600
Pirates +1800
Astros +10000

Good grief Houston! How bad is Houston? Here is a little comparison. The Orioles are only at +7500 to win the AL East. If you put the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays or Rays in the NL Central, those teams are favored to win the division. I think the top-4 teams in the AL East are better than any team in the Central, yet Houston is still a worse bet at +10000 in the Central than Baltimore is in the AL East! The Astros aren’t only the worst team in baseball, it’s laughable just how bad they really are! Moving along, the Central is a 3-team race between Cincinnati, St. Louis & Milwaukee. The more I think about the Central the more I really like the defending World Series champions. If Adam Wainwright & Chris Carpenter can stay healthy, the Cardinals will have a formidable rotation. I also think getting Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman, John Jay & Allen Craig for full seasons could offset the loss of Albert Pujols. The Brewers are going to have a harder time replacing Prince Fielder, but their rotation is scary good with a lot of those guys in contract years. Marcum, Gallardo & Greinke are all capable of winning a Cy Young award. The addition of Mat Latos does the Reds rotation good. I’m no fan of Dusty Baker, but I love the Reds and it seems like everything could be coming together at the right time for them. The rest of the division shouldn’t play much of a factor, but if you are betting long shots then Pittsburgh isn’t a bad one to go for. They brought in Erik Bedard on an incentive laden contract & then traded for AJ Burnett. Those two guys come with enough caution to think neither will work out in the Steel City, but if fate throws the Bucs a bone, Pittsburgh could potentially have enough offense to scare some teams with a rotation anchored by Bedard, Burnett, Kevin Corriea & James McDonald. I don’t think any of the Central bets are bad except for Chicago & Houston. Those teams have no chance at winning.

NL WEST

Giants +150
Diamondbacks +150
Dodgers +325
Rockies +1200
Padres +1800

A really interesting 3-team race out West. The team that jumps out at me is Los Angeles at +325. The Dodgers had some problems last season, but I think they’ll have a rock solid bullpen to go along with a very good front-3 of Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley & Ted Lilly. Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher in the NL and the defending NL Cy Young champion. The Dodgers are taking some chances with Aaron Harang & Chris Capuano at the backend of their rotation, but the home ballpark should help both hurlers. Offensively LA is a little thin, but if Matt Kemp can keep posting MVP type numbers, LA has a chance to make some legitimate noise if they can avoid injuries. The Giants & Snakes are deadeven here although I’d give Arizona a slight advantage due to the fact that Arizona will probably be a better hitting team. Still, it’s difficult to not like the Giants specially if Ryan Vogelsong can continue in 2012 what he started in 2011. You don’t get much better than Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain & Madison Bumgarner. The Giants really need healthy productive years from both Buster Posey & Pablo Sandoval. Getting Brandon Belt to find his power stroke wouldn’t hurt either. Arizona would be the odds on favorites I think but Vegas is probably having some trouble about the odds that guys like Ian Kennedy, Josh Collmenter and Joe Saunders can repeat their 2011 performances. The Snakes traded for Trevor Cahill of the A’s which was a solid addition and I think Arizona is going to hit, but the Giants have a little bit of an advantage if Arizona’s pitchers can’t show some consistency. The rest of the division is a nonentity. Colorado & San Diego simply don’t have the pitching to win the division. I think the Dodgers at +325 give you the best value, but getting SF or Arizona at +150 isn’t awful either.

OVERALL

I really think the Rays at +650 is the best bet in the divisional races. There are some other value bets like St. Louis at +225, Boston at +325, Miami at +1000, Toronto at +800, Pittsburgh at +1800 and the LA Dodgers at +325, but I think the Rays clearly give the most value at +650.

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February 28, 2012 - Posted by | Futures

2 Comments »

  1. How about just plunking down $100 each on the four underdogs in the AL Central? Basically you’re betting one team overachieves like crazy and the Tigers fall off. Any other team but Detroit and you’re at least $1400 to the good.

    I also think the Cards at +225 are a good bet. The payoff isn’t as big, but you can argue they have a good chance to be better this year.

    Comment by Hardball Donkey | February 28, 2012 | Reply

  2. […] champions, I didn’t think it was an awful play to take the +1800 to win the Central. In my post about Division Winners, I said this about Pittsburgh at […]

    Pingback by How Does A.J. Burnett’s Injury Affect Pittsburgh’s Chances? « The Baseball Savant | March 3, 2012 | Reply


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