With Spring Training heating up and MLB Opening Day only weeks away, it is a great time to look at who the oddsmakers have winning the AL Central in 2021. The Minnesota Twins won the division last season with a record of 36-24, while the Chicago White Sox and Cleveland Indians each finished a game behind and clinched wild card spots in the playoffs.
But looking forward to this season, there should be a lot of competition between those top three squads for the AL Central crown. Minnesota will be trying to win the division for the second-straight year, while Chicago will try to win the central for the first time since 2008. Let’s breakdown the betting splits for the five teams in the AL Central this season, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.
Chicago White Sox (-143)
The White Sox have the best odds at -143 to win the AL Central under new manager Tony LaRussa. They are receiving 66% of the handle and 68% of the bets too, which makes sense. The White Sox have a good starting rotation led by Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito and their batting lineup features Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez, Luis Robert, Nick Madrigal, and reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu.
Minnesota Twins (+175)
While there’s a lot of attention on White Sox, keep an eye on the Twins. They have +175 odds to win the division, but are only receiving 18% of the handle and 20% of the bets.
Minnesota is basically returning the same squad from last season minus Kenta Maeda and Jake Ordorizzi from the rotation. The Twins are hoping that free agent acquisition J.A. Happ can solidify the pitching staff, along with Michael Pineda, Lewis Thorpe, and two-time All-star Jose Berrios. Minnesota also added Alex Colome from the White Sox in offseason to upgrade their bullpen.
Manager Rocco Baldelli will also hope that Miguel Sano can return back to his 2017 and 2019 forms this season. Last season, Sano slashed .204/.278/.478 with 13 home runs and only 25 RBI.
Cleveland Indians (+650)
The Indians surprisingly have the third-best odds (+650) to win the division, but the public does not have a lot of faith in them. Cleveland is receiving 3% of the handle and 4% of the bets. A big reason for the lack of confidence is they traded away All-Star Francisco Lindor and starter Carlos Carrasco to the New York Mets.
Both players were integral parts of the Indians organization for multiple years and will be tough to replace with WARs of 4.7 and 1.9. But the Indians still have reigning AL Cy Young Award winner in Shane Bieber leading the pitching staff, to go along with Zach Plesac and Triston McKenzie. The batting order still features who can hit the ball out of the park or get on base such as Cesar Hernandez, Jose Ramirez, Andres Gimenez, and Amed Rosario.
Detroit Tigers (+4000)
Rounding out the AL Central are the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals. Two teams who are in the process of rebuilding to catch up to the Twins and White Sox. Last season, the Tigers finished in last place with a record of 23-35.
Detroit is receiving 9% of the handle and 5% of the bets. The Tigers will try to continue to groom their young talent in the rotation, but also in the batting order. Detroit still has No. 1 starter Matthew Boyd, but one does wonder if they move him at the trade deadline. Outside of Boyd, there will be a lot of attention on young pitchers Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal, who have tons of talent.
Then there’s last year’s first overall pick in Spencer Torkelson, who is only 21-year-old and is the best prospect in baseball. Its highly unlikely that he will begin the year with Detroit, but Torkelson could be a September call-up sooner than later. And of course, we can’t forget about the ageless wonder Miguel Cabrera, who still is producing at the plate, despite being 39 years old.
Kansas City Royals (+4000)
There’s not a lot to say about the Royals, who finished with three more wins than the Tigers last season. Kansas City is receiving 4% of the handle and 2% of the bets. For the Royals to be competitive, they will hope for another 40-home run season from Jorge Soler. Soler had a career-high 48 home runs and 117 RBI in 2019, while hitting .265 at the plate.
Along with Soler, keep an eye out for Bobby Witt Jr., who is in Spring Training with the club, but will start the season in the minors. Super-utility player Whit Merrifield is the team’s best hitter and many analysts expect Adalberto Mondesi to have a breakout season at Kaufmann Stadium.
Here’s a look at the betting splits as they sit as we kick off Spring Training.
AL Central betting splits, March 1
|Handle Rank||Team||Odds||% of Handle||% of Bets|
|Handle Rank||Team||Odds||% of Handle||% of Bets|
|1||CHI White Sox||-143||67%||69%|
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