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Updated look at AL East standings, best value bet to win based on odds movement

The Yankees were favored to win the AL East entering the season, but how have the odds changed two months into 2021? We break down the movement and identify the best value bets.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow throws a pitch in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at TD Ballpark.
Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Through two months this season, the American League East has become more of a dogfight than perhaps anyone initially imagined. The Yankees were the clear early favorites, but a mix of injuries and inconsistent play have them in the middle of a four-team race.

Let’s examine the latest AL East odds on DraftKings Sportsbook and figure out where is the best place to put your money.

  1. Tampa Bay Rays (36-22) —
  2. Boston Red Sox (33-23) 2.0 GB
  3. New York Yankees (31-26) 4.5 GB
  4. Toronto Blue Jays (29-25) 5.0 GB
  5. Baltimore Orioles (19-37) 16.0 GB

The big surprise in this group is the Red Sox, who led this division for many weeks before the Rays decided they were never going to lose. Boston opened the season at +2000 to win this division and are now +385. I don’t think they will win the division, but they are probably the best value pick here. I view Toronto (+600) and Boston as very similar teams — clubs centered around offense that have received some better-than-expected performances from their pitching staffs.

But the Red Sox should get starting pitcher Chris Sale back this summer, they have a top-notch stopper in Matt Barnes, and hitters such as Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez have lived up to the highest of preseason expectations. Plus, the fact that most of those guys have been in a pennant race before is another reason to favor the Sox over the Jays.

The one challenger I want no part of is the Yankees. Too many questions still exist about their ability to score consistently, pitch well in the rotation behind Gerrit Cole, stay healthy and play fundamental baseball. Granted, the Yankees, like the Red Sox, will get a key arm back soon in starter Luis Severino.

The Rays will have a notable reinforcement joining them soon in infielder Wander Franco, the No. 1 prospect in baseball. The Rays already have the best pitching staff in the division thanks to youngster Shane McClanahan, grizzled vet Rich Hill and ace Tyler Glasnow. But who expected this team to rank third in MLB in runs scored through two months? I certainly did not.

Betting value: Tampa Bay appears to be the most complete team in the division and should be seen as the favorite by a greater margin than the slight edge that the Rays, at +150, are being given over the Yankees (+160). But if you are looking for the bigger payoff, take the Red Sox.

Odds to win AL East

Division Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
Division Team Opening Odds April 1st May 1st June 1st
AL East TB Rays +350 +375 +550 +150
NY Yankees -180 -212 -111 +160
BOS Red Sox +1000 +2000 +300 +385
TOR Blue Jays +650 +355 +400 +600
BAL Orioles +5000 +6000 +8000 +30000

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