Most Major League Baseball “experts” would argue that the American League East is usually the best division in MLB because it features three big-market teams that spend a lot of money: the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays. In addition, the Tampa Bay Rays often overachieve and the Baltimore Orioles are generally competitive.
Yet, just one AL East team has won the pennant this decade: the Red Sox in 2013. The Yankees, after the big trade acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton this offseason, are +275 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 AL pennant with the Houston Astros at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
New York’s last pennant came in 2009. It had a 3-2 series lead over Houston in last season’s ALCS, but the Astros rallied to win the final two games at home for their first AL pennant ever – they used to be a National League team. Of course, the Astros went on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers for the franchise’s first-ever World Series title.
Houston’s pennant snapped a three-year streak of it being won by an AL Central team: the Kansas City Royals in 2014-15 and the Cleveland Indians in 2016. The Tribe are +325 third-favorites this year after blowing a 2-0 series lead in the 2017 ALDS against the Yankees. Boston is fourth-favored at +600 and then there’s a large drop-off to the Los Angeles Angels at +1400. The Halos have won the pennant just once, in 2002.
In the National League, the 2017 Dodgers won their first pennant since their most recent World Series title in 1988. They are +225 favorites to repeat on the 2018 NL pennant odds after leading the majors with 104 victories but coming up short in a home Game 7 of the Fall Classic against Houston. The last team to repeat as NL pennant winner was the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009. The Dodgers haven’t repeated as pennant winners since 1978.
The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs are +350 and +375, respectively, for the pennant. The Nationals have never won it and this might be their last hurrah as currently constructed with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper set for free agency next winter. The Cubs won the 2016 pennant on the way to the franchise’s first World Series title since 1908 but lost in five games to the Dodgers in last year’s NLCS.
The St. Louis Cardinals (+900) and San Francisco Giants (+1000) are next on the list. The Cards have two pennants this decade and the Giants three. Those franchises combined for all of them from 2010-14.
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