Odds to Win the American League: The Yankees Are Meeting Expectations

Scott Edwards Jr.
Scott Edwards Jr.@ScottEdwardsJr
Odds to Win the American League: The Yankees Are Meeting Expectations

The 2024 MLB season is well underway with two months complete, giving us a good idea of who the true contenders will be come playoff time.

As expected, the National League is looking like a race between two teams with a third creeping in after a great start. However, the American League carried the most uncertainty heading into this season and it's proving to be the case with how the odds are playing out. Considering the Houston Astros were the original favorites and are now five games under .500, it shows the AL has a long way to go in finding their league winner.

Let's dive into the American League winner odds via the MLB odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook.

Note: All advanced statistics are used from FanGraphs.

Odds to Win the American League

AL League Winner Odds
New York Yankees+240
Baltimore Orioles+500
Houston Astros+600
Seattle Mariners+700
Texas Rangers+950
Minnesota Twins+1000
Cleveland Guardians+1100
View Full Table

New York Yankees (+240)

The New York Yankees came into the season looking to finally contend for a World Series title, and they're off to a start that suggests they have what it takes.

Right now, the Yankees sit at the top of the American League with 35 wins, which only trail the Philadelphia Phillies in terms of overall wins. It's an impressive start -- especially with Gerrit Cole still not having made a start.

The reigning AL Cy Young winner has been out of action since spring training, and while he's on the rehab trail, it's nice for the Yankees that there will be no need to rush him. Those who have stepped up in their rotation includes Luis Gil (2.12 ERA), who has been a real find for them.

Their pitching leads the majors in ERA, coming in at a 2.86 clip. Their SIERA, however, does rank down in 13th at 3.78, so Cole's arrival should still help that when the time comes. They're 11th in FIP (3.79), 5th in strikeout rate (23.8%), and 5th in WHIP (1.14). Ultimately, their pitching staff is coming through, and that's a big reason for their early season success. If they keep that up with the offense they have rostered, this can be their year.

Looking at that offense, it's of course led by their captain Aaron Judge. After a poor March and April stretch, Judge has found his swing and is absolutely mashing the ball in May. In the month, he's played 21 games, hitting .391 with a .593 wOBA and stunning 1.475 OPS. Along with Judge was their big offseason acquisition Juan Soto. He's been outstanding with 13 home runs, .419 wOBA, and a .972 OPS. These two hold the shortest odds to win AL MVP for a reason.

New York is running the majors with a league-leading 75 home runs. The Bronx Bombers are in full swing, and as long as those two stay healthy in the middle of their lineup, their offense should continue to dominate. Looking at the rest of the AL right now, it's hard to like anyone else than the Yankees if Cole can return to full form sometime this season.

Baltimore Orioles (+500)

As the battle for the AL goes into the playoffs, a big part of that is likely to run through the AL East. The Baltimore Orioles have the second-best odds to win.

Baltimore has followed up their excellent 2023 with a 30-18 record thus far, showing last season was no fluke. The growth of players like Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman has been great to see with Henderson's power helping push the Orioles to second in MLB with 71 home runs on the year.

The Orioles also rank 7th in wOBA (.321), 1st in ISO (.191), 1st in slugging (.435), and 9th in runs (237). The O's offense will have to bring them success against a team like the Yankees.

However, things stay comparable between Baltimore and New York when you dive into the Orioles' pitching, too.

After going out of their way to add an ace in Corbin Burnes, the pitching staff has held up for Baltimore within both the rotation and bullpen -- even without Felix Bautista. The Orioles are 9th in SIERA (3.71), a good judge of their overall performance. Where they also succeed statistically is their 1.14 WHIP (4th), 23.2% strikeout rate (8th), and 3.69 FIP (6th). In many ways, they check as many boxes as the Yankees do on the pitching end, which is a welcoming sign as we move into the second quarter of the long MLB season.

While the Yankees have experience and the record on their side, the Orioles shouldn't be counted out -- especially this early. There's still a lot of baseball left, and the AL can be as good as theirs. Baltimore still has room to grow.

Houston Astros (+600)

An incredible track record keeps the Houston Astros in the conversation. Otherwise, they'd be nowhere close to the top of these odds with how the season has started for them.

As of this writing, the Astros sit at 22-28, good for third place in the AL West and 4.5 games back of the Seattle Mariners. That's not great, which is why they went from having the best odds to win the league to trailing both AL East clubs. But, considering how poor their record is, the 4.5-game gap should spell out hope for the Astros to eventually turn things around -- as they often do. Yet, a lot will need to fix itself if they want to contend once again.

The Astros' pitching sits toward the bottom of the AL. They rank 29th with a 4.20 SIERA -- only better than the Colorado Rockies across all of baseball. The struggles don't stop there as they're 24th in strikeout rate (21.4%), 27th in ERA (4.58), 28th in FIP (4.48), and 28th in WHIP (1.39). This team isn't in a spot to make the playoffs with this pitching -- forget contending for the AL once again. Their pitching will need an overhaul as the season continues because their bats have done most of the work up until this point.

Offensively, the Astros are at their usual level of play. They're fourth in MLB with both a .333 wOBA and .333 SLG. They're also in the top 10 in home runs (62), runs (230), and ISO (.162). Houston does have the best batting average among all teams at .264. There are levels to championship contenders, and the Astros again do reach that level in the batter's box.

Betting on the Astros to win the AL doesn't seem wise with how much better both the Orioles and Yankees have been to this point. Until there's a sign of change on their pitching staff, it's best to look elsewhere in this market.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.