Betting Odds To Win American League West Division 2020

Most of the chatter surrounding the AL West coming into this season is about how many times the Houston Astros are going to get beaned, and what Houston is going to do to try and move on from one of the biggest scandals in Major League Baseball history. But when you look at this division as a whole, there is a lot to talk about that doesn’t involve sign stealing.

The Los Angeles Angels made waves when they signed World Series hero Anthony Rendon to a quarter of a billion-dollar deal, and he should slot in well with reigning MVP Mike Trout, and do everything hybrid pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani. The A’s always get ignored, but they won 97-games last year and should be respectable again this year despite losing a couple of key players from last year’s squad.

And don’t look now, but the Texas Rangers just might be decent as well this year, as they brought in a revamped rotation, led by Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber. Yes, before you even ask, the Seattle Mariners will be awful again and extend their streak of futility another year as they show very little signs of win now progress. And oh, did I mention that the Astros are going to get beaned a lot? With that, let’s jump right into your 2020 American League West preview!

Houston Astros

  • 2019 Record: 107-55
  • Division Title Odds: -210
  • AL Pennant Odds: +250
  • World Series Odds: +550

Key Departures

Gerrit Cole, SP; Collin McHugh, RP; Wade Miley, SP; Will Harris, RP; Robinson Chirinos, C; Jake Marisnick, OF

Key Additions

Dustin Garneau, C; Austin Pruitt, SP/RP

2020 Outlook

Banging on trash cans aside, the Houston Astros enter 2020 as the prohibitive favorites to win the AL West again this season. And I can see what people see in this team as they are still loaded with talent with guys like George Springer, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman leading the way. But I am not so high on Houston this year.

The Astros lost a lot of talent as they saw Gerrit Cole, Wade Miley, Robinson Chirinos, and Jake Marisnick all leave the team, and they didn’t do a lot to replace them. Throw in the fact that they are going to get every team’s best shot, and that I can see the umps being hard on them as well, as they have to feel cheated in this whole scandal too, and I think the Astros are going to have their fair share of struggles this year.

That’s not to say that they are going to be bad, but the rotation is down, Carlos Correa is likely to be traded early in the season, and they have a brand-new manager and GM. That is a lot of uncertainty for a team that is -210 to win what should be a talented and much-improved division.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • George Springer
  • Jose Altuve
  • Michael Brantley
  • Alex Bregman
  • Yuli Gurriel
  • Yordan Alvarez
  • Carlos Correa
  • Josh Reddick
  • Martin Maldonado

This lineup is loaded. Even, if and when, and at this point, it’s more than likely when, Carlos Correa gets traded, this will still be one of the best hitting teams in the American League. Bregman, Altuve, Springer, and Alvarez are all MVP level hitters, and there is power up and down this lineup.

Many people will point to the sign-stealing scandal to explain the epic power stats that the Astros have shown in the last couple of years. But here is a quick reminder for everyone out there, baseball teams play half of their games on the road, and they weren’t stealing signs away from H-Town, and they were one of the best road hitting teams in the league last year. So, I wouldn’t expect to see this team’s hitters to just fall off a cliff.

Yordan Alvarez is the guy that I think could really emerge as the top dog in this lineup. Alvarez made his Big-League debut last season and, at age twenty-two, hit twenty-seven homers and drove in seventy-eight RBI while hitting .313. And did I mention that he only played in eighty-seven games? This guy has fifty home run power and hits for average and could easily be the AL MVP this year in his first full MLB season.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Justin Verlander
  • Zack Greinke
  • Lance McCullers
  • Jose Urquidy
  • Joshua James

When the Houston Astros last won the World Series in 2017, they did it with one of the best starting rotations we have ever seen. They had a three-headed monster with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Charlie Morton, all striking out guys at a historic pace. Now, just a couple of years later, that rotation is a shell of its former self as Verlander is banged up and just had surgery last week, Cole is pitching in New York, and Morton is playing his games in Tampa Bay.

Greinke is a solid add at the top of the rotation, coming over in a trade deadline deal last season. But he isn’t Gerrit Cole, and we saw that he might not be as effective in the AL as he was in NL, as he struggled badly in the playoffs and cost the Astros a World Series title.

The wild card here is McCullers. After missing all of last season with an injury, McCullers will look to return to form this year and is still just twenty-five years old. McCullers is a former All-Star and has a career ERA under four runs, and Houston will need him to be his best self this year for the Astros to win a hundred games again.

Los Angeles Angels

  • 2019 Record: 72-90
  • Division Title Odds: +700
  • AL Pennant Odds: +2000
  • World Series Odds: +4000

Key Departures

Trevor Cahill, SP; Kole Calhoun, OF; Kevan Smith, C; Zack Cozart, SS

Key Additions

Anthony Rendon, 3B; Julio Teheran, SP; Dylan Bundy, SP; Jason Castro, C; Matt Andriese, RP

2020 Outlook

Bringing in Rendon was a huge acquisition for the Angels and having Ohtani’s bat in the lineup for 162-games would be huge. We all know that Mike Trout is the best player in baseball, and it looks like this might be the year the Angels stop wasting his prime and make a run to the playoffs. But this team does have some significant concerns, particularly on the mound.

The Angels rotation is going to either be just OK, or bad, as they are a low ceiling, low floor, squad. They brought in Julio Teheran to lead the staff, but he has been very mediocre in his last three seasons with an ERA sitting right around four runs and a 30-33 record. And that was in the pitcher-friendly National League, he is almost certainly going to post worse results in the AL.

With Teheran as the “ace” of this staff, it really limits the upside for LA. They will have a potent offense and should score a lot of runs, but this team is going to have to win a lot of 10-9 games to make the playoffs.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • Tommy La Stella
  • Mike Trout
  • Anthony Rendon
  • Shohei Ohtani
  • Albert Pujols
  • Justin Upton
  • Brian Goodwin
  • Andrelton Simmons
  • Jason Castro

We all know how good the 2-3-4 of Trout, Rendon, and Ohtani should be, but the guy that really perks my interest is Tommy La Stella. La Stella showed what can only be described as zero power in his five seasons with the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves as he had just ten home runs in five years of mostly platoon work.

The Angels brought him in to be an everyday player last year, and in eighty games, he hit sixteen home runs, drove in 44 runs, hit a career-high .295, and made his first All-Star team. His season was shortened when he fouled a ball off his tibia, breaking the bone, and missed the second half of the season. If La Stella can continue the success that he had in the first half last year, this year, the Angels are going to be very tough to beat.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Julio Teheran
  • Andrew Heaney
  • Dylan Bundy
  • Matt Andriese
  • Patrick Sandoval

This is not a good rotation. We know how limited Teheran is, and after him, there are a lot of question marks here. Andrew Heaney has always seemed like a guy that hasn’t pitched up to his full ability, after being a first-round draft pick back in 2012. He showed some of that potential last season when he posted a K/9 ratio of 11.1.

But his season was cut short with injuries, as he started only eighteen games. But those increased strikeout numbers came with skyrocketing walks and home runs allowed. Heaney has ace level stuff, and at twenty-nine years old needs to figure things out sooner rather than later. The other guy that hasn’t lived up to his lofty expectations is Dylan Bundy.

Bundy was the fourth overall selection in the 2011 draft and was considered a generational level talent, and was fast-tracked to the majors, making his debut in 2012. But injuries caused him to miss several full seasons, before returning to the Orioles in 2016. Bundy was never come close to living up to his hype in Baltimore, but still has time to get things figured out, as he is still only twenty-seven years old with just 127 MLB games under his belt.

Oakland Athletics

  • 2019 Record: 97-65
  • Division Title Odds: +325
  • AL Pennant Odds: +1300
  • World Series Odds: +2800

Key Departures

Homer Bailey, SP; Tanner Roark, SP; Jharel Cotton, SP; Blake Treinen, RP; Ryan Buchter, RP; Jurickson Profar, 2B; Josh Phegley, C

Key Additions

Tony Kemp, OF; Austin Allen, C

2020 Outlook

The Oakland Athletics have never been an overly sexy pick to win anything during the Billy Beane era. Beane has done a great job of competing with the big boys despite having a low payroll and mostly no-name players. But this year, he has a couple of established stars on the roster, and the A’s could very well win the AL West Division title.

Khris Davis is a home run hitting, RBI machine, at DH, and Matt Chapman has a glove that ranks as one of the best ever at the hot corner. Throw in young slugger Matt Olsen and the A’s trio of reliable starters in Frankie Montas, Sean Manaea, and Mike Fiers, and this team has some legit star power for the first time in a long time.

This is a high floor type of team as they just have too much talent on the field to not win at least eighty games. But I think they likely need to add some high on-base percentage guys to the mix and maybe some bullpen help, if they want to really compete for a World Series title. We all know that Beane tends to get the best of most of his trades. If he can pull off a couple of moves by the trade deadline, the A’s are dark horse title contenders.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • Marcus Semien
  • Ramon Laureano
  • Matt Chapman
  • Matt Olson
  • Mark Canha
  • Khris Davis
  • Robbie Grossman
  • Sean Murphy
  • Anthony Kemp

In 2019, a season where several teams broke the all-time single-season home run record, the A’s finished the year in fifth place in the majors in long balls with 257. Entering 2019, the most homers a team had ever hit in one year was 267, a record set by the 2018 New York Yankees. The A’s 257 is currently the eighth-most home runs ever hit by a team in MLB history in one season. This team had significant power last season, and they bring nearly all of it back this season.

Before last year’s injury-riddled campaign, Khris Davis was one of the most consistent power hitters in the game. Davis hit exactly .247 for four consecutive seasons. And while that is a fun piece of trivia, the impressive part of his consistency during those years were his power numbers. During that four-year stretch, Davis averaged 40 home runs and over 100 RBI a year.

In his first three seasons in Oakland, Davis averaged 44 home runs and 117 RBI a year. Last year, Davis suffered a back injury, stemming from running into the outfield wall, that plagued him most of the season, and he saw his numbers drop. He played in just 133 games, which was the first time he played in fewer than 150 games since joining Oakland in 2016. He hit just .220 with 23 homers and 73 RBI. Getting Davis back to his regular production levels is going to be a major key for the A’s success this year.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Mike Fiers
  • Sean Manaea
  • Frankie Montas
  • Jesus Luzardo
  • Chris Bassitt

While the A’s did lose several starting pitchers from last year’s squad, most notably Tanner Roark, this A’s team still has their big three and could end up being one of the better rotations in the American League if they can keep everybody on the field. But that is a mighty big IF.

Frankie Montas is a guy that has shown signs that he could be an All-Star level pitcher in his stint with the A’s. In 2018, he started eleven games and posted a more than respectable 3.88 ERA. That earned him a spot in the rotation in 2019, and the then twenty-six-year-old took full advantage of it.

Montas made sixteen first half starts last year, running up an elite 9-2 record with a 2.63 ERA. But just before the All-Star break, Montas, who likely would have made the American League team, tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and was handed an eighty-game suspension. Montas has paid his time for his crime, and Oakland hopes that a clean Montas can post similar stats this year, at the top of their rotation.

Sean Manaea is another young guy that seems destined for greatness, that just can’t stay on the field. Manaea has never made thirty starts in a single season, and last year, made just five starts after missing most of the year with an injury. But man, was this guy good in September when he did return, as he was 4-0 with a 1.21 ERA in five September appearances. If Manaea and Montas can both stay on the field this year, they both have All-Star level potential.

Texas Rangers

  • 2019 Record: 78-84
  • Division Title Odds: +1600
  • AL Pennant Odds: +5000
  • World Series Odds: +10000

Key Departures

Hunter Pence, OF; Nomar Mazara, OF; Delino Deshields, OF; Logan Forsythe, 2B

Key Additions

Corey Kluber, SP; Kyle Gibson, SP; Jordan Lyles, SP; Robinson Chirinos, C; Todd Frazier, 3B; Greg Bird, 1B

2020 Outlook

Do not sleep on this Texas Rangers team this year. They were a lot better than you probably thought in 2019, and they added several impact players to the team for 2020. The Rangers were 48-42 at the All-Star break last year, and very much in the playoff hunt. But they had a brutal July, going 8-16 in the month, and they finished the regular season by losing ten out of their last fourteen games. That makes their final record look much worse than it should have and hides how good this team actually was at times last year.

And when you look at what this team has added in 2020, they added some real talent. The headliner is former Cy Young award winner, Corey Kluber. Kluber was injured most of last year but has been one of the best pitchers in the league for the last decade and is a massive addition to their starting rotation. They also added Kyle Gibson and Jordan Lyles to their rotation, and that gives them, in my opinion, the most improved rotation year over year in the AL.

The Rangers also added some bats in power-hitting catcher Robinson Chirinos, veteran slugger Todd Frazier, and former Yankees prospect, the oft-injured first baseman, Greg Bird. All of this adds up to what should be an improved team in 2020, that could very well make the playoffs.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • Shin-Soo Choo
  • Elvis Andrus
  • Joey Gallo
  • Danny Santana
  • Todd Frazier
  • Rougned Odor
  • Nick Solak
  • Robinson Chirinos
  • Greg Bird

Joey Gallo would have been an absolute superstar in the chicks dig the long ball 90’s. The guy hit 40 homers in back to back years in his age twenty-three and twenty-four seasons. A generation ago, that would have gotten you into the MVP conversation. But Gallo strikes out a ton, and despite the epic power numbers, barely hit above .200 in each of those seasons.

But last year, Gallo was finally finding a way to hit for average, despite injuries costing him over half of his season. Gallo hit .253 last year in seventy games. That is nearly fifty points higher than his career average coming into 2019. And his power number didn’t suffer, as he still hit 22 home runs, and was on pace to hit fifty, had he not missed so much time to injury.

If Gallo can stay healthy this year, and continue to build upon his gains from 2019, he could be a superstar in this era as well. Throw in veteran power hitter Todd Frazier, who, while clearly past his prime, still has pop, and assuming Danny Santana slots in at center field for 150+ games, this lineup is going to be powerful.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Corey Kluber
  • Mike Minor
  • Lance Lynn
  • Kyle Gibson
  • Jordan Lyles

The Rangers have cobbled together what could very well be the best top to bottom pitching staff in the American League this year. We all know what Kluber is capable of as he had a five year stretch of finishing in the top-ten for the Cy Young Award voting each year, while striking out at least 220 guys a season for the Cleveland Indians, before missing most of last season with an injury. But it is the rest of the staff that really intrigues me.

Mike Minor and Lance Lynn both had great seasons last year as they both won double-digit games, and finished with ERAs below 3.70, while striking out at least 200 batters. Throw in Kyle Gibson, who has won double-digit games in five out of the last six years as the Minnesota Twins ace, and Jordan Lyles, who was absolutely lights out for the Milwaukee Brewers after coming over in a mid-season trade last year, and you have a rotation that has no real weakness.

Seattle Mariners

  • 2019 Record: 68-94
  • Division Title Odds: +10000
  • AL Pennant Odds: +25000
  • World Series Odds: +50000

Key Departures

Felix Hernandez, SP; Omar Narvaez, C; Tim Beckham, SS; Domingo Santana, OF; Wade LeBlanc, SP; Arodys Vizcaino RP; LHP Tommy Milone, SP

Key Additions

Taijuan Walker, SP; Kendall Graveman SP; Yoshihisa Hirano, RP; Carlos Gonzalez, OF; Carl Edwards Jr., RP

2020 Outlook

After years of being just good enough to stay afloat, but not quite good enough to make the playoffs, the Seattle Mariners finally blew things up in 2019. They traded away Robinson Cano, Edwin Diaz, Jean Segura, Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce, Mike Leake, and anything else that wasn’t nailed down. They continued that trend in the offseason as they continue to look to get younger.

Longtime Mariner’s legend, King Felix Hernandez, is now pitching in Atlanta, and current veterans like Dee Gordon and Kyle Seager could get moved any day. It is all about the long term rebuild this year in Seattle. That being said, we should see some of those building blocks on the Major League level this year.

Guys like Justus Sheffield, Jared Kelenic, Braden Bishop, Kyle Lewis, Julio Rodriguez, Evan White, and Shed Long are all prospects that show a lot of promise, and all of them will likely make it to the bigs at some point before the year is over. That should be enough to keep the win starved Mariners fans hopes up as they slog through another 100-loss season.

Projected Starting Lineup

  • Shed Long
  • J.P. Crawford
  • Kyle Seager
  • Tom Murphy
  • Dan Vogelbach
  • Kyle Lewis
  • Evan White
  • Jake Fraley
  • Mallex Smith

There are some nice young pieces here, but you can expect this lineup to look a lot different by the end of the year. Mitch Haniger is the main veteran that the Mariners are building around, and he just had back surgery, and I would assume the M’s will work him back very slowly. And the parade of young guys looking for playing time should start whenever Major League Baseball says they won’t get a full year of service time in, for what is likely to be a shortened season. It will be interesting to see how these Mariners prospect play as many of them should get their first taste of the show this year.

Projected Starting Rotation

  • Marco Gonzales
  • Yusei Kikuchi
  • Justus Sheffield
  • Kendall Graveman
  • Taijuan Walker

Marco Gonzalez takes over for King Felix as the incumbent ace in Seattle, and the former first rounder is close to living up to his once ample hype. Gonzalez won twenty-nine games with an ERA of under four runs in the last two seasons combined, and at twenty-eight years old, he may be young enough to stick around to see the fruits of this Mariner’s rebuild in a couple of years.

While Gonzalez is clearly the ace of the staff, the guy most Mariners fans will have their eye on is Sheffield. The Mariners brought Sheffield over last year from the New York Yankees as the centerpiece of the James Paxton trade, and at one time he was considered the number one prospect in all of baseball. He had a cup of coffee with Seattle last year, starting seven games, and impressed as he racked up thirty-seven strikeouts in thirty-six innings pitched.

Where Is The Value

Now that we have broken down each team’s odds, and previewed the squads, we are going to give you a couple of places to bet that show high value.

Oakland Athletics +325 To Win AL West
I think Houston is going to struggle this year. They lost talent from last year’s team, and I think they are going to underachieve. Don’t be shocked if the Astros do a small in-season rebuild this year at the trade deadline by trading away Correa and possible even guys like Zack Greinke or Josh Reddick. That leaves the A’s as my pick to win the division with their balanced lineup and strong rotation. They show tons of value at +325 right now.
Texas Rangers +5000 To Win AL Pennant
I think the Rangers are going to catch a lot of people off guard and make the playoffs this year. And we all know that once you are in the playoffs, anything can happen. To be able to get a team at 50-1 to win the pennant, that I think has a playoff caliber roster, is outrageous value. The hedge value alone makes this a must bet scenario.

Wrap Up

The 2020 baseball season is sure to be one that is different than any other year. With the delayed start to the season, we could see a bunch of double-headers, a shortened regular season, or even more changes we haven’t even thought of yet. What we do know, though, is that this year is going to be one to remember. Thank you all for reading, and make sure to stay tuned to The Sports Geek all season long for all of the sharp Major League betting advice you crave!

Jason Gray / Author

Jason is a true Las Vegas insider as he has called the sports betting capital of the world his home for sixteen years. Jason started out his career in gaming by running the biggest poker tournaments in the world and managing some of the biggest sportsbooks on the strip. Jason has transitioned out of casino operations and has been covering sports betting for the sports geek for just over two years. His main focus is on baseball, college basketball, and the NFL