Whilst the regular season did get underway in Tokyo on Wednesday night, the real opening day is just a week away. Home to each of the top 3 favourites to win the World Series this season, it’s sure to be another exciting ride in the American League Conference. The Yankees, Astros, and Red Sox have emerged as the early favourites to take out the conference, but there is definitely also value to be had elsewhere. With daily MLB tips to feature on the Neds Blog this season, this is only the start of a season-long value train. Let’s take a look at the top 5 teams in the American League, providing our best bet in the process.
Houston Astros $3.75
Having won their maiden World Series in 2017, the Astros enter 2019 as the joint favourites to take out the American League. They had another phenomenal season in 2018, winning 103 games before losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS. Alex Bregman was a huge factor on offense last year, totalling 31 home runs and 103 RBI, whilst Jose Altuve led the side with a solid .316 batting average. Big things will be expected from pitcher Justin Verlander, who managed an impressive 16 wins last season at age 35.
New York Yankees $3.75
The Yankees find themselves co-favourites with the Astros to take out the AL, also sitting at a juicy $3.75. Having also racked up an impressive 100 wins last season, a world series is definitely the expectation in New York. New York are an incredibly loaded side offensively, featuring very talented hitters in Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Luis Severino is expected to lead the pitching staff after getting 19 wins last season, whilst veteran CC Sabathia will also play a huge role.
Boston Red Sox $3.85
The Red Sox find themselves as slight outsiders to take the AL crown this season, sitting just behind their rivals at $3.85. As the reigning World Series champions, they definitely have the talent and depth to repeat. Chris Sale will lead the pitching staff again this season, with David Price and Rick Porcello providing capable support. Leadoff hitter Andrew Benintendi can be expected to have a huge year for fantasy players, whilst Xander Bogaerts should also shine in a contract year.
Cleveland Indians $8
Whilst they are definite outsiders at $8 for the AL title, Cleveland is definitely a talented side that can compete with the big boys. Despite blowing a 3-1 lead in 2016, they’ve been incredibly consistent in recent years and look on pace for their 4th straight division title. Veteran Hitter Carlos Santana can be expected to provide a ton of offensive value, followed by rising 1st Baseman Jake Bauers. Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco are expected to lead the pitching staff this season, both coming off impressive years in 2018.
The A’s are one of two sides to have got their MLB campaigns underway, playing Seattle in an entertaining 2-game series in Japan. They enjoyed a fantastic 2018 regular season campaign, winning 97 games and enjoying a +139-run differential. Matt Olson, Khris Davis and Stephen Piscotty are an excellent trio who will provide a ton of offence this season. Their pitching rotation looks somewhat weak on paper, although Mike Friers and Frankie Montas had some success last season.
Best Bet: New York Yankees $3.75
With Houston and Boston having taken the two most recent titles, the Yankees should be the most motivated of this group. They have arguably the most talented roster of all the MLB sides and a ton of financial resources if further improvement is required. With Judge and Santos leading the way, and Severino and Sabathia providing quality pitching, a 100-win season definitely could be on the cards. For even more value, the Yankees loom at a tasty $7 to win the World Series.