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AL Central 2022 divisional odds, value bets & season preview

AL Central betting preview

The American League Central seems like one of the least competitive divisions in Major League Baseball. It looks like it will be the White Sox and then a significant drop-off thereafter. Although this division is full of analytically driven teams, on paper no team other than Chicago look to be built for a post-season run.

AL Central divisional odds

  • Chicago White Sox -200
  • Detroit Tigers +700
  • Minnesota Twins +800
  • Cleveland Guardians +850
  • Kansas City Royals +1200

All odds provided by Bovada

Chicago White Sox

It looks like the White Sox are now the team to beat in a city full of Cubs fans. The White Sox are through the rebuild and look to be one of the best teams in the entire American League. Led by their pitching staff that includes Lance Lynn, Lucas Giolito, Dylan Cease, Dallas Kuechel, and Michael Kopech, they have one of the top rotations in the league. Lynn finished third in the Cy Young voting last season and the extremely consistent 34-year-old looks to be there again this year.

The White Sox lineup is certainly no slouch either. Tim Anderson has quietly become one of the best short stops in the league and Jose Abreu is just two seasons removed from an MVP campaign. Add in Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jiminez, and it looks like the White Sox have the perfect balance of young and old talent.

The White Sox’s biggest weakness last season was the bullpen, and that’s not the case anymore. Liam Hendricks has been everything the Sox could’ve hoped for when he signed a three-year $54 million deal last January. They also went out to acquire Craig Kimbrel at last year’s trade deadline, but he struggled. Despite his struggles and trade rumors this offseason, Kimbrel still remains a threat in the back end of the White Sox bullpen. His track record speaks for itself, and with the combination of Kimbrel and Hendricks late in games, the White Sox don’t look to be blowing many leads.

The White Sox cruised to an AL Central crown a season ago as they finished with a 93-69 record. They’ll likely do the same this year, but from a betting perspective we would not recommend taking the -200. Even though the White Sox are far and away the better team here, those odds shouldn’t get you out of the bed in the morning.

Detroit Tigers

The odds certainly reflect Detroit’s likelihood to win the division. At +700 they’re a true-blue long shot to take home the AL Central title, but it’s not impossible. Despite AJ Hinch’s past, he is a proven winner and has already started to do some very good things for a Detroit team that looked bleak just a couple years ago. The Tigers went out and signed Javier Baez, who spent seven years with the Chicago Cubs before joining the New York Mets in 2021. Baez brings an attitude that winning teams need to have and should fit in well there.

The Tigers certainly have some nice pieces, but they are no where near ready to contend against a tough Chicago White Sox team for the AL Central title, not even at +700.

Minnesota Twins

The Twins are known to be one of the smartest teams in baseball. On paper, they look to have no shot to win this division, but when you look into it, it gets a little more interesting. The Twins have never and will never be big spenders in free agency; similar to Cleveland and Tampa Bay, they need to find other ways to win. Thad Levine has done a tremendous job turning the Twins into constant contenders despite the low payroll, but it is hard to see them winning the division this year.

Josh Donaldson, Miguel Sano, and Byron Buxton are all very talented players that fit very well together at the top of the Twins lineup. Buxton’s speed with Donaldson and Sano’s power should result in a lot of runs scored for the Twins. The issue is that there aren’t many proven players behind them. The Twins will definitely not be one of the worst in the league, but we don’t see them being all that competitive for the division.

Cleveland Guardians

If you recall, in 2016 not one person had Cleveland making the World Series. Like the Twins, the Guardians are just a smart organization with very low spending power. The thing that makes Cleveland our favorite long shot to win the division is the ability to develop pitching. Shane Bieber, Zac Pleasac, and Aaron Civale highlight the current pitching staff, but the track record is proven. It seems like every year the Guardians have a pitcher that breaks out in a big way, and it’s a guessing game who that will be this season.

The Guardians finished last season just a game below the .500 mark, good for second place in the division. No one has ever pegged the Guardians to be winners, but year after year they find themselves overachieving. Is it likely that they surprise people yet again to win the division? No. It’s not crazy, though, and +850 it seems worth it to believe in the track record.

Kansas City Royals

The Royals were once most the exciting young team who had just won the World Series. Things changed in a flash, however, as their young core aged very quickly and the Royals were once again the basement dwellers of their division. There is not much of a case to make for the Royals to compete with the White Sox, or even with any other team in the division. Salvador Perez is still there and still grinding, but that is it. If Bobby Whit Jr finds his way to the majors this season, then the Royals could surprise some teams in the AL Central, but there is virtually no chance they take the crown.

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