MLB American League West Predictions 2021, Odds and Expert Picks: Don't sleep on the Angels
It’s a busy time of the year for sports fans, with NFL free agency in full swing and March Madness dominating the airwaves. But it’s not all about college hoops right now, the start of the MLB season is also right around the corner. Baseball will be back in just over a week, and time really flew by since the Dodgers were crowned World Series champs. This year the AL West should be exciting, with plenty of fascinating storylines.
It’s going to be a very interesting season overall, as the league is coming off an unprecedented year where they played only 60 games due to COVID-19. Nobody knows how that shortened season will effect the 2021 campaign, but we’re about to find out. Before the season starts you’ll need to get your futures bets in, so let’s break it all down.
We’ve got a ton of great MLB content coming, so make sure to check out our ‘MLB news‘ tab in the coming days. We just did a piece with a couple of World Series best bets. When the games start, head on over to our ‘MLB picks‘ tab for free picks on the side and total of every game. But right now we’re talking AL West, and we’ll start with the odds, courtesy of DraftKings:
The Astros are coming off a down (abbreviated year) where they went only 29-31, but they had a strong run in the playoffs and oddsmakers are clearly expecting a bounce back. That’s despite the fact that they lost some key pieces from last year’s team, including George Springer.
The A’s have to feel pretty disrespected to not be the favorites here after going 36-24 and winning it by seven games last season. The Angels are looking to finally get Mike Trout some playoff success, while the Mariners are looking to build off last year’s surprisingly respectable 27-33 campaign where they were expected to fare much worse. The Rangers brought up the rear last year, and clearly that’s where oddsmakers see them yet again.
Now to the fun part. Let’s dive into a couple of best bets:
Best AL East division winner bet
At these odds, I’m most intrigued by the Angels at +375. They were a big disappointment last year, but I think they just got off to a really slow start due to the unprecedented circumstances. Once they got used to it they really settled down over the final month of the season, and they actually went 17-12 in their final 29 games. If it had been a full 162-game slate, I think they’d have made the playoffs.
There are plenty of reasons to believe they’ll be much better than they were in 2020. Shohei Ohtani will make his highly anticipated return to the mound after not pitching last year, and I’m cautiously optimistic that he’s going to be a stud. Trout, Anthony Rendon, and Ohtani is as nice an offensive trio as you can ask for, and the offseason acquisition of Raisel Iglesias will seriously bolster a shaky bullpen. The upside on this team is sky-high, so I also like them as a dark-horse World Series contender. I’m not sure why everyone thinks the Astros are going to be so great again, and Oakland overachieved last year.
I don’t care that it’s spring training, Shohei Ohtani is doing things on a baseball field we’ve never seen before.
• 14 Ks across 8 IP on the mound (throwing 101-mph)
• .571 BA, 5 HR, 8 RBI at the plate
— Danny Vietti (@DannyVietti) March 25, 2021
Best AL East win total bet
I hate to kick them while they’re down, but I’m going under on the Rangers’ win total of 66.5. The gap between the league’s best and worst teams keeps getting wider, and there’s truly no floor for bad squads these days. In the last full season in 2019, eight teams were held to 70 or fewer wins. The Rangers are certainly one of the worst few teams in the league on paper, and their win percentage last year was just .367.
To get to the 67 wins they’d need to hit the over here, they’d need to get to .414. Kyle Gibson is going to be Texas’ Opening Day starter, which tells you all you need to know about the sorry state of their rotation. He had a 5.35 ERA last year. The Rangers are entering a full-blown rebuild, and their recent trade of Lance Lynn (one of their only good players in 2020), was a pretty concrete acknowledgement of that.
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