For these 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 the various odds are from Intertops on the teams. In order, the odds will list the chances of winning the division, league and Over/Under total.
1) Cleveland (1st Division odds, 4th in AL, O/U 90.5)
The Cleveland Indians are here by default. The AL Central is thought as a terrible division, such that Cleveland could lose to free agency or trade away a total of nine players from last year's team and still be decisive favorites. Cleveland has posted six straight winning seasons and seventh seems a given, but this will be the weakest team they have fielded in this period. The Tribe though is not dead because they still have five starting pitchers that give them a better than 50-50 chance against any opponent not named the Red Sox, Astros and Yankees in the American League. The outfield at this time is thin, but having two of the best players at their positions in Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez is outstanding. Division champs yes, just they won't dominate.
S&S Pick: 80/20 to win division and 60/40 Under on the total
The Twins are the most intriguing club in the Central and maybe the entire AL. Minnesota shifted gears in hiring a new manager in Rocco Baldelli, who embraces the way the game's played today and he fits the new front office thinking. The Twins picked up low-priced veterans to retool this club, adding C. J. Cron, Jonathan Schoop, and Nelson Cruz. The outfield has the potential to be above average if Baldelli can make this group play as a unit as opposed to three individuals. The starting staff and bullpen has to be figured out, but having a base of Jose Berrios, Kyle Gibson and closer Trevor May is a good start. The Twins could go a number of ways and it will interesting to see how it works out.
S&S Pick: 20% chance to win division and 50/50 on total
3) Chicago (3rd, 9th, O/U 74.5)
The White Sox tried to be a player in attracting the big fish in Harper and Machado, explaining what you see today is not what to expect in two or three years. Chicago's farm system has loads of potential, with none of it ready to help in 2019. The sad truth about the Pale Hose is other than 1B Jose Abreu, not many of the other Sox everyday players would find everyday work elsewhere. Adding Ivan Nova as a starter, James McCann behind the plate and Yonder Alonso as the DH brings veteran know-how. For Chicago to have any chance to reach their anticipated win total, Carlos Rodon, Reynaldo Lopez and Lucas Giolito have to make 30 starts apiece. Not enough positives on the South Side.
The Royals season took a turn for the worse in March, as one of the few still strong everyday players from back to back World Series appearances this decade, which yielded a championship is gone. Catcher Salvador Perez underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his throwing arm and took his 27 homers and 80 RBI with him. That leaves 35-year Alex Gordon as the last piece and the players around him are unremarkable. At 30, Danny Duffy is a No.3 or 4 starters on many teams, but he's the ace in K.C. Brad Keller and Jakob Junis showed they could develop in big league starters. Unfortunately, they will not pick up many wins, even with a lead in the 7th inning, because the bullpen could match last year's AL-worst 5.04 ERA. Another long season in Kansas City.
S&S Pick: 60/20 chance of Under on total
5) Detroit (5th, 15th, O/U 68)
The Tigers have lost 98 games each of the last two seasons and there is little optimism that Detroit will not approach that figure again. Longtime DH Victor Martinez retires, yet this organization is still on the hook for an aging Miguel Cabrera and arguably one of their worst signings in pitcher Jordan Zimmermann. With few assets and farm system years away from producing major league talent, the best case scenario for the Tigers is starter Michael Fulmer rebounds and Nicholas Castellanos has a big first half and playoff contenders will give up useful young players or draft picks to help Detroit start somewhere.