For these ScoresandStats.com baseball betting previews, our perspective will be along the lines of scouting reports on teams. This will include what they do and don’t do well and various odds from sportsbooks on the teams.
1) Houston (1st Division odds, 2nd in AL, O/U 97)
The World Series champs are stronger if anything. However, as we saw with the Cubs last year, repeating is never easy and maintaining focus becomes the task. All the talented young players in the lineup are what makes them special and most are either still approaching or are in their prime like Jose Altuve. It would be almost impossible for Justin Verlander to pitch better than he did last year as an Astro, but don’t be shocked if he starts slowly, as he’s done that the last few seasons. A power pitcher at 35 is never easy. Adding Gerrit Cole only improves the rotation and the same said about Joe Smith and Hector Rondon now in the bullpen. Huge win total number, but the talent is in place, probably best to pass or play Under.
2) L.A.A. Angels (2nd, 5th, O/V 84)
Best defensive team in baseball, with serious leather at almost every position. The offense has been upgraded by adding Ian Kinsler, Zack Cozart and having Justin Upton for a full season. Albert Pujols is a shell of his days with St. Louis and if they continue to bat him fourth or even fifth, the Angels are only hurting themselves. The starting rotation has possibilities, but there is a host of hurlers who’ve injured and they seem susceptible to land on the DL again. Take these question marks and add prized pupil Shohei Ohtani who has performed far below expectations both pitching and hitting. This is either a Wild Card team who posts 88 wins or one that finishes below .500.