Four of the five Major League Baseball playoff teams from the American League have already been decided, and the Minnesota Twins are on the verge of completing the set with five games left to play in the 2017 regular season. But there’s only one team on top of the American League pennant odds list, and that’s the defending champions from Cleveland at +160. The 98-59 Tribe secured the AL Central Division ages ago, thanks to a historic 22-game winning streak. They have the best run differential in the majors at plus-239. Is this finally Cleveland’s year?

The road back to the World Series has its pitfalls, though. The Houston Astros (+210) are a close second on the AL pennant odds list; 2017 has been an incredible year for the 97-60 Astros, who clinched the AL West nearly two weeks ago. Houston’s acquisition of Justin Verlander (2.44 FIP in four starts) and the return to health of both Lance McCullers (3.14 FIP) and Charlie Morton (3.53 FIP) could put the ‘Stros over the top in the junior circuit. Expect an MLB betting frenzy if these two teams end up playing for the pennant.


Value Betts

The Boston Red Sox (+350) are back in the AL playoffs after a slow start, and they have a tremendous rotation of their own. But the hitting leaves something to be desired, ranking No. 15 overall at 17.1 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and No. 22 overall at .737 OPS. Boston’s bats have been even colder over the last 30 days at .703 OPS, and they got a scare Monday when OF Mookie Betts (.800 OPS) had to be put on ice with a sore left wrist. Tuesday’s CT scan showed no structural damage, though.

The 91-66 Red Sox might not even be the best team in their own division. The New York Yankees (+650) may have gotten into the playoffs through the back door with their Wild Card, but the American League Championship odds should reflect how close a Red Sox-Yankees series would look on paper – if New York makes it that far. They have the better run differential at plus-192 to Boston’s plus-123, making the 88-69 Bombers a potential value pick on the MLB futures market.

That AL Wild Card game should be better than a coin flip for the Yankees. Minnesota (+1400) has won five straight games to bring their magic number for clinching the second AL Wild Card to one. But while the 83-74 Twins have been shredding the MLB betting lines at +13.08 units, their plus-26 run differential isn’t the stuff of champions. Then again, anything can happen once you get in the playoffs: The Red Sox were a Wild Card team when they broke their World Series curse in 2004.


*Odds as of September 27, 2017