New York Yankees look worth a bet to enjoy a fine season
Chicago Cubs can recapture the National League title
The American League East has a more open look about it than the other sections and bookmakers are taking a chance by offering the New York Yankees at a shade of odds-against.
The Major League regular season starts with a full slate of 15 games and the divisional betting has a rather unexciting look about it, with five of the six divisions featuring rock-solid odds-on favourites.
However, in the more competitive-looking AL East the Yankees have had a few years in the wilderness, going as far as the Wildcard game just once between 2013 and 2016, but that all changed last year.
They fell just short in the Championship series, losing 4-3 to Houston, but the rebuilding program in the Bronx looks over and this team should be big competitors this season.
The Boston Red Sox won the AL East by a two-game margin with 93 wins but they were flattered by that large total, while the men from the Big Apple arguably underperformed.
The Yankees' run differential last season was more consistent with a 100-win team, and their hits, strikeouts and home-run stats suggested a century of wins was the minimum they deserved.
Star player Giancarlo Stanton has been added to their line-up. The National League MVP is one of the best sluggers in the game – he smacked 59 home runs last year, the highest in MLB – and is backed up by Aaron Judge, who chased him home in the home-run race with 52 long balls.
The Yankees tried to sign a starting pitcher in the winter but to no avail, and though their rotation could be improved, it looks more than good enough. If they can take a lead into the later innings, the bullpen is terrific and can close things out.
The Yankees were probably a year ahead of schedule when they had a run at the playoffs last year but have a much better chance of going all the way this time.
NY Yankees to win American League
2pts 3-1 general
NY Yankees to win American League East
4pts 11-10 BoyleSports
Chicago Cubs look a decent price to recapture the National League title.
After winning the Fall Classic in 2016 they couldn't follow up when convincing losers to the LA Dodgers in the Championship series, but they are a talented team who can again go close.
They're odds-on to win the NL Central and it looks pretty routine for them to take the honours for the third straight year.
The Illinois aces could have a run at repeating their 2016 win total of more than 100 victories.
The Cubs' rotation has a nicely balanced look about it – Jose Quintana is a fine pitcher and is projected to have an elite season with an ERA of around 3.00, while Yu Darvish and Jon Lester are also top class.
Their offence has been consistent too. They have averaged close to five runs a game for two seasons, and another challenge for the National League is on the cards.
Chicago Cubs to win National League
2pts 4-1 general
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