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Indians’ Odds to Win the AL Central Range from +200 to +850; Any Value on the Tribe?

Indians SS Francisco Lindor warming up.
Can Francisco Lindor and the Indians close an 11.5-game gap to the Twins in the AL Central standings? Photo by Arturo Pardavila III (flickr) [CC License].
  • The Minnesota Twins are an AL-best 40-18 and leading the AL Central
  • They are 11.5 games ahead of the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox
  • Is there any value in the trailing Indians?

Two months in, and the Minnesota Twins are dominating the AL Central.

Actually, they’re not just dominating the Central. They’re in control of the entire American League. This has resulted in an astronomical shift in their odds to take the Central, with the Indians falling way behind.

Is Minnesota as good as gone, or is there value in the trailers to catch-up?

Odds to 2019 Win AL Central

Team Games Back Odds at Bovada Odds at BetOnline Odds at  MyBookie
Minnesota Twins -2500 -1500 -2000
Cleveland Indians 11.5 +850 +800 +200
Chicago White Sox 11.5 +8000 +5000 +7500
Detroit Tigers 17 +4000 +1000
Kansas City Royals 21.5 +75000 +60000

*Odds as of 06/03/19.

It’s been a slow, gradual adjustment on the AL Central odds when it comes to the sportsbooks.

At Bovada, the Twins were at +330 on March 13th. After incremental climbs, they shot from -220 on May 22nd and, most recently, to -2500 on June 3rd. They’ve exploded similarly at BetOnline (-1500) and MyBookie (-2000).

The Indians were favorites across the board when each book opened their 2019 division futures, hovering between -400 and -450. While two books have adjusted their odds proportionate to their lackluster play and 11.5-game deficit, MyBookie still has them at just +200.

Twins Seeking Reinforcements in AL Central Race?

With the MLB Draft starting on Monday, the Twins are rumored to be considering two key free-agent arms who will no longer be tied draft-pick compensation.

Although we could see a decision from Craig Kimbrel sooner than later, Dallas Keuchel stills seems confident to bide his time.

If they land one, or both, it would add to an already strong area of the Twins’ roster. Their 3.88 team ERA is sixth-best in MLB, and tops in the AL Central. Their 1.24 WHIP slots in at the same spot. Both are just ahead of the Indians.

Pitching Stats: Cleveland Indians vs Minnesota Twins

Indians
VS
Twins

515.1 Innings Pitched 513.0
3.95 ERA 3.88
1.25 WHIP 1.24
2.43 OPP AVG 2.45
551/165 K/BB 558/159
75 HR Allowed 68

They’ll have competition for both Kimbrel and Keuchel, but getting one would go a long way to solidifying their long-term odds.

Could Jose Ramirez Bounce Back to Lead Indians to AL Central?

It’s been a strange season for Jose Ramirez.

After consistent, gradual improvement over the past five seasons, Ramirez finished third in 2018 AL MVP voting. He seemed primed for a dominant season, something that was reflected in the early AL MVP odds.

His ugly 2019 has not only hurt his odds to win individual accolades, but the Indians’ odds to make any noise in the playoffs, as well.

The third-baseman is slashing an ugly .206/.308/.313 with just 17 RBIs, mostly batting out of the five-hole these days. The only thing that hasn’t slowed down for Ramirez is his speed. He’s third in steals with 14, despite the second-lowest average among the top ten.

2018 vs 2019: Jose Ramirez’s First 58 Games

2018
VS
2019

.299 Batting Average .206
18 Home Runs 4
41 RBI 17
7 Stolen Bases 14
.397 On-Base Percentage .308
.624 Slugging Percentage .313

The results are damning when put side by side. While Ramirez isn’t the sole reason for Cleveland’s demise, his swoon has contributed to the Indians sitting 28th in batting average, 23rd in OBP, and 29th in slugging.

Despite this, there’s still hope.

Remaining AL Central Schedule

Team Games vs Twins Games vs Indians Games vs White Sox
Minnesota Twins N/A 16 19
Chicago White Sox 19 7 N/A
Cleveland Indians 16 N/A 7

The Twins have played just three games against White Sox and Indians, combined, this year. That means they still have to face off with their top-two division rivals 35 more times this year.

Who to Take in AL Central Race

While there’s plenty of baseball left to be played, the books are right in having the White Sox out of it.

They’re in the bottom half of some major pitching and hitting stats, so there’s not a lot of staying power. A career year from Lucas Giolito will only carry a pitching staff so far.

But the Indians? If you think that Jose Ramirez is going to bounce back, they’re a good buy at both Bovada and BetOnline. If you’re worried about them slipping further and selling? They’ve got 23 games in the next two months against the Royals and Tigers to fatten up on.

 

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