If this year has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected even when it comes to betting on the 2020 American League Championship.
Still, if you want to bet on the AL championship, there are certainly a few favorites in this race through 60 games. Let’s take a look at the top three American League teams in terms of betting odds, according to the BetUS sportsbook.
2020 American League Championship Odds & Preview
New York Yankees AL Pennant Odds (+150)
2019: 103-59, Won AL East
While the Yankees came up short in six games against the Houston Astros in last year’s AL Championship Series, they come in with the top spot in terms of odds for the 2020 pennant. A large part of that is due to the acquisition of Gerrit Cole over the offseason. Cole was brilliant for the Astros in 2019 (20-5, 2.50 ERA). The Yankees are hoping he can replicate his dominance in their pinstripes.
Aside from a Cole-led pitching staff, the Yankees’ offense should be dynamic this year. The silver lining of the pandemic shutdown is that it allowed time for Aaron Judge (.272/.381/.540 with 27 home runs, 55 RBI and 75 runs in 378 at-bats) and Giancarlo Stanton (.288/.403/.492 with three home runs in just 59 at-bats) to heal.
Both are hoping to be good to go for Opening Day. If they can stay healthy through the short season, they should be in for monster years. With an Over-Under of 36.5 wins in the MLB regular season wins odds category, only the Dodgers, at 37.5 games, are expected to win more games than the Yankees. In our odds to win the World Series, both teams are tied as favorites at +350.
One thing to keep an eye on is the bullpen. Aroldis Chapman (37 saves, 2.21 ERA) tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss the beginning of the season. Zach Britton will likely take over the closer duties in his absence.
Houston Astros AL Pennant Odds (+275)
2019: 107-55, Won AL West
The defending AL champions come into this season as the second-best ranked team to win the AL in 2020. One of the biggest hits they took was losing the aforementioned Cole. But they still have a solid rotation. Which will undoubtedly be led by 2019 Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander (21-6, 2.58 ERA). Zack Greinke (18-5, 2.93 ERA) will contribute as well.
On offense, the Astros are loaded. They are led by AL MVP runner-up Alex Bregman (.296/.423/.592 with 41 home runs, 112 RBI, and 122 runs), Jose Altuve (.298/.353/.550 with 31 home runs, 74 RBI, and 89 runs) and George Springer (39 home runs, 96 RBI, and 96 runs).
One name to watch in their effort to repeat is Yordan Alvarez (.313/.412/.655 with 27 home runs, 78 RBI and 58 runs in just 313 at-bats). He has still not reported to Astros camp and has been placed on the injured list to start the season. With Alvarez out, it will likely be Kyle Tucker getting the first crack at designated hitter until Alvarez can return.
Minnesota Twins AL Pennant Odds (+550)
2019: 101-61, Won AL Central
While the Yankees made quick work of Minnesota in a three-game sweep in the 2019 playoffs, the Twins shouldn’t be overlooked. Their offense is dynamic and a threat to hit it out the park from top to bottom in their lineup.
While the lineup is a threat throughout, the two most consistent threats should be Nelson Cruz (.311/.392/.639 with 41 home runs, 108 RBI and 81 runs) and Josh Donaldson (.259/.379/.521 with 37 home runs, 94 RBI and 96 runs with the Atlanta Braves).
In the rotation, two players to keep an eye on are Kenta Maeda (10-8, 4.04 ERA) and Rich Hill (4-1, 2.45 ERA in 13 starts). Having come over from the Los Angeles Dodgers, they boost a rotation led by Jose Berrios and Jake Odorizzi.