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DraftKings Sportsbook MLB Betting Preview: AL Central Odds and Lines

Matt Meiselman previews the American League Central with betting odds, insights, and analysis.

Chicago White Sox v Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Ron Vesely/Getty Images

The American League Central looks like it’ll be primarily a two-horse race, at least to start the season, with the White Sox and Twins having two of the best rosters in baseball. The White Sox are a particularly intriguing team, featuring a handful of promising young players and a few high-level veterans, as well. Neither the White Sox or Twins did much this offseason, but they didn’t really need to either, and both teams have over/unders set at around 90 wins for the 2021 season.

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Chicago White Sox

World Series Odds: +850

American League Odds: +380

AL Central Odds: -121

Win Total Over/Under: 90.5

MVP Contenders: Jose Abreu +2500, Luis Robert +2500, Tim Anderson +2500, Yoan Moncada +2500, Yasmani Grandal +3000

CY Young Contenders: Lucas Giolito +450, Lance Lynn +1700, Dallas Keuchel +2200

ROY Contenders: Andrew Vaughn +1250, Garrett Crochet +1800, Nick Madrigal +2000, Michael Kopech +2500

The one significant upgrade the White Sox made over the winter was the acquisition of Lance Lynn, who should be a large factor in improving a starting rotation which lacked in depth in 2020. Lynn threw more innings than any other pitcher in baseball last season, and that stability is something the White Sox rotation definitely needs. The White Sox offense also figures to be one of the best in the MLB this year with reigning AL MVP Jose Abreu leading the way, but they suffered a major setback late March with the announcement that Eloy Jimenez would be out for most of the regular season due to a pectoral injury. Jimenez had a tremendous 2020 and is likely still getting better at just 24 years old. But even without him, there’s still plenty to like in this Chicago lineup. This team has five legitimate MVP candidates, three Cy Young candidates and a handful of Rookie of the Year contenders, so missing a key player or two shouldn’t have the same kind of negative impact that it would for most other teams.


Minnesota Twins

World Series Odds: +2000

American League Odds: +750

AL Central Odds: +125

Win Total Over/Under: 88.5

MVP Contenders: N/A

CY Young Contenders: Jose Berrios +1700, Kenta Maeda +1700

ROY Contenders: Alex Kirilloff +2000

The Twins don’t have the top-end talent or the depth of the White Sox, but they do have a strong and balanced roster that should be enough to compete for the AL Central crown and potentially a World Series, as well. The most relevant move they made this offseason was signing former Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons, which presumably will allow Jorge Polanco to move to second base. The development of rookie Alex Kirilloff will be key in determining whether the Twins surpass the White Sox — he figures to play a role this year, especially if he can be productive enough to start in left field. Overall, the Twins don’t really have any weak points now, and they figure to be above average at just about every position.


Cleveland

World Series Odds: +4000

American League Odds: +2000

AL Central Odds: +700

Win Total Over/Under: 81.5

MVP Contenders: Jose Ramirez +1200

CY Young Contenders: Shane Bieber +400

ROY Contenders: Bobby Bradley +2200, Nolan Jones +2500

Cleveland enters the 2021 season without a ton of direction as potential playoff contenders, though likely still a few pieces away from competing with the top teams in the division. Cleveland lost its best player this offseason by trading Francisco Lindor to the Mets. While Jose Ramirez is among the best players in the game, there isn’t much around him to provide support on offense. Shane Bieber is the reigning AL Cy Young winner and figures to be a strong contender for the award again in 2021, but the rotation depth behind him isn’t that great either. There is a lot of young talent on the roster with two ROY candidates in Bobby Bradley and Nolan Jones, as well as second-year pitcher Triston McKenzie, but Cleveland will likely need them to develop quickly if they’re going to contend in the AL Central this year.


Kansas City Royals

World Series Odds: +10000

American League Odds: +5000

AL Central Odds: +4000

Win Total Over/Under: 73.5

MVP Contenders: N/A

CY Young Contenders: N/A

ROY Contenders: Bobby Witt Jr. +2500

The Royals are starting the 2021 season in roughly the same place they did in 2020, with a roster comprised mostly of veterans who aren’t quite good enough to make them into a playoff team. This will likely be a better team than the 2020 version with Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi improving the lineup and Mike Minor doing the same for the rotation, but there are simply no standout players on this team. The Royals best young talent Adalberto Mondesi still has a long way to go to turn into a star, and there aren’t a lot of MLB-ready prospects who have a chance to contribute in Kansas City this season either. The Royals definitely have a good enough team to hover around .500 for most of the season, but it’s hard to envision them making a serious run at a playoff spot with a team full of veterans who have probably already reached their ceilings.


Detroit Tigers

World Series Odds: +10000

American League Odds: +6000

AL Central Odds: +6000

Win Total Over/Under: 68.5

MVP Contenders: N/A

CY Young Contenders: N/A

ROY Contenders: Casey Mize +1500, Matt Manning +3000

The makeup of the Tigers is actually very similar to that of the Royals with Detroit featuring a handful of aging starters who should be decent but not great in 2021. The Tigers have the lowest win total in the AL Central and probably an even worse shot than Kansas City at making the playoffs, but they do have some decent prospects with plenty of upside potential. It might take a couple more years for it to come to fruition, but there’s hope for the Detroit’s future starting rotation with intriguing young pitchers like Tarik Skubal, Casey Mize and Matt Manning. There’s far less to be bullish about on offense, but the Tigers pitching staff at least has a chance to provide some excitement in 2021, especially if Matt Boyd can have a bounce-back season.

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