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MLB Betting Odds to Win AL Central Reflects Talent Gap

The Cleveland Indians are the MLB betting odds-on favorites to win the American League Central Division, even though they are only 2½ games ahead of the Minnesota Twins and have only won 47 games – compared to the Houston Astros’ 60 over on the AL West Division. The Indians have struggled at home, though, with a 21-24 in Progressive Field. However, the Tribe is either holding back or slacking off, because they are more stacked than Pamela Anderson’s 2006 sitcom. At the 2016 All Star break, the Indians had won 52 games, which is rather queer seeing as how they didn’t have Edwin Encarnación then.

The former Texas Ranger – as in the baseball team, not the division of the Texas Department of Public Safety – signed a $60 million three-year contract with the Cleveland Indians on January 5th. The Dominican first baseman wasted no time proving his worth to the Tribe and was walking the parrot on opening day against his erstwhile club.  That was an anomaly though; as people who bet on baseball know – or at least as they should know – Encarnación doesn’t come out swinging from the very get-go. He is more of a slow-burner. The veteran is currently batting .263 and slugging .481 and has 18 home runs and 48 runs batted in.

While Encarnación continues to be the ruination of opposing pitchers, the Indians’ own starting rotation has live down to the expectations of MLB betting experts. Danny Salazar got off to a rocky start and that was before the shoulder injury which he is currently nursing; Josh Tomlin has a 4-9 record with a 6.09 ERA that speaks for itself; and Trevor Bauer has just recently started to pitch well. That leaves Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger as the only consistent pitchers in the rotation, and they could very well be soon joined by some new arms.

Those arms could be attached to the bodies of Johnny Cueto, Sonny Gray, and Jose Quintana, among others that the Tribe might want to add to the roster before the trade deadline. Cueto is 5-7 with a 4.20 ERA this season but had an 18-win 2016 season and finished 6th in the NL Cy Young voting. Gray is 3-3 record with a 4.45 ERA but retains plenty of worth as trade chip. Quintana is 4-8 with a 4.37 ERA but the White Sox might want to hang on to him nonetheless if only so that their divisional foes don’t get their hands on him. Other alternatives include Ervin Santana, Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, Yu Darvish, and Gerritt Cole.

All things considered, the Indians shouldn’t be grasping at straws to patch up their roster. And yet, that is where we’re at. Thus, of people who bet on baseball think about it, it is a testament to the dormant potential of the Tribe that they are the MLB betting odds-on favorites to win the American League Central Division. And the rest of the ALC must somehow let sleeping dogs lie.