American League East
The Yankees always draw the most attention in this division but so far, they have not made any significant additions this offseason. However, assuming that Luis Severino is fully healthy and in the starting rotation and Joey Gallo will spend the season in the middle of the line-up, then the Yankees are still the team to watch.
On the other hand, they need to work on the left side of the infield. They have Carlos Correa and Trevor Story, but they may need a short-term stopgap. Signing a one-year deal with a player such as Andrelton Simmons or Jose Iglesias could help them bridge the gap to Anthony Volpe.
In news of other teams, the Tampa Bay Rays seem more likely to lose players than add while the Toronto Blue Jays have not yet found a replacement for Marcus Semien. The Boston Red Sox also look to have troubles having only added Rich Hill and Michael Wacha to a pitching staff that had a 4.26 ERA and ranked fifteenth in the majors.
While there is still time for the teams to address these issues, as things stand, it is the Yankees that look strongest.
American League Central
Last season, the Chicago White Sox were the only team in the division to finish above .500. This season will see the return of Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito and Dylan Cease to the starting rotation, which means that the loss of Carlos Rodon should not be too bad. Furthermore, they are in a better position than at the start of last season with Luis Robert and Eloy Jimenez available.
However, the White Sox are likely to be challenged by some of the division’s other teams. The Detroit Tigers look set to make a push following the signing of Javier Baez for $150 million and Eduardo Rodriguez for $77 million. Furthermore, they also have Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene available.
Nor can the Cleveland Guardians be ignored with their impressive pitching staff while it wasn’t so long ago that the Minnesota Twins won back-to-back division titles. The Kansas City Royals also have a great deal of talent arriving in the form of Bobby Witt Jr., Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez.
While the White Sox are still firm favourites, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on the other teams.
American League West
While the Houston Astros may lose shortstop Carlos Correa before the season begins, considering that they reached the ALCS following Gerrit Cole’s departure in 20202 and they reached the World Series last year after George Springer left, the team should definitely not be discounted.
While they are likely to need to find a short-term replacement until Jeremy Pena is ready, considering their current roster of players, they still look to be the dominant team in this division.
The Los Angeles Angels will be pleased to have Noah Syndergaard and Michael Lorenzen back. However, they ranked 22nd in the majors with a 4.78 starters’ ERA a year ago, and it is likely that they will continue to struggle. Mike Trout is healthy again, but pitching looks to be an issue.
The Seattle Mariners are desperate to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001. They have added players such as Robbie Ray and Adam Frazier, and with players such as Jarred Kelenic, Logan Gilbert and Julio Rodriguez, they are definitely a team to watch.
National League East
This offseason the New York Mets have added Max Scherzer, Starling Marte, Mark Canha and Eduardo Escobar. Furthermore, it is likely that Jacob deGrom will be fully fit again. However, despite this, they are a team that seems to fall short of expectations, so they are not firm favourites to win the division.
The Atlanta Braves won last year’s World Series. However, they have some player issues and could do with making some new signings. If they resign Freddie Freeman and bring back at least one of their trio of trade deadline pickups Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson, then they could easily become favourites.
The Philadelphia Phillies have not changed much since last year while the Miami Marlins probably need another year or two to build up their offense.
National League Central
The Milwaukee Brewers look set to be the team to watch in this division, assuming that Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff and Freddy Peralta remain in the rotation. However, the team have made just one offensive change, swapping Avisail Garcia for Hunter Renfroe in right field. This may not be good enough for a team that ranked 20th in OPS and 12th in runs scored last season.
As such, it may be worth watching the St. Louis Cardinals. They finished last season strongly going 22-7 in September to earn a wild-card berth. They have several young players, such as Tyler O'Neill, Harrison Bader, Dylan Carlson and Tommy Edman, all of whom were impressive last year.
The other teams in the division look unlikely to make much of an impact. The Cincinnati Reds are selling players, the Chicago Cubs are retooling and the Pittsburgh Pirates still have a great deal of work to do. As such, it is all about the Brewers and Cardinals.
National League West
The Los Angeles Dodgers may not have Max Scherzer or Corey Seager, and Clayton Kershaw’s fate is still to be decided. However, they are still the strongest team in the division. They have plenty of pitching depth and while they could do with one more starter to join Walker Buehler and Julio Urias, they can easily cope without.
However, they may be challenged by the San Diego Padres who have a new manager, Bob Melvin. The team disappointed last year, but they should not be dismissed this time around. Furthermore, they have a healthy Mike Clevinger and Nick Martinez is joining the starting rotation.
The San Francisco Giants are looking weaker than last year due to the retirement of Buster Posey, Alex Cobb replacing Kevin Gausman and Kris Bryant expected to depart. However, they still have a great deal of talent so cannot be dismissed. As for the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks, they may be worth a small bet if you are attracted to huge odds.
When it comes to betting on the MLB, there are plenty of markets to take advantage of. Here we will take you through the most popular of them.
Until the season begins, you can’t bet on games. But you can place some future bets. The most popular of these is on which team will win the World Series. However, you can also bet on the league winners, the division winners and place various prop bets such as Player to hit the Most Home Runs, and the winner of awards such as MVP, CY Young Award, Rookie of the Year, and so on.
Once the games begin, this is the most basic type of bet you can place. It is just a bet on which of the teams will win the game. Pick a team, if you are right then you win.
Run Line Betting
This is the baseball version of spread betting. However, as the scoring in baseball tends to be quite close, the run line is nearly always set at 1.5 runs. This means that the favourite team is given a 1.5 run disadvantage and the underdog receives a 1.5 run advantage. If you bet on the favourite, then you need them to win by at least 2 runs for you to win the bet, while if you bet on the underdog, you will win your bet if the team wins or loses by no more than one run.
First Five Innings
This bet is unique to baseball and it is simply a bet on which team will be winning after the first five innings. In that respect it is similar to a moneyline bet, however, it also offers the option of a draw. It is a great way to back the early stages of a game and it ensures that you only need to worry about the starting pitchers and batters.
The most common version of this bet is on the total number of runs scored in a game by both teams. For example, you could bet on the total number of runs being over or under 9.5. If you bet over then you need at least 10 runs to be scored and if you bet under then you need no more than 9 to be scored to win your bet.
You will find various player prop bets available for each game. The most popular one is probably on a player to hit a home run. It is always worth looking through the player and game prop bets, as often they offer some interesting possibilities.