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 various odds from Intertops on the teams. In order, the odds will list the chances of winning the division, league and Over/Under the total.
N.Y. Yankees (1st Division odds, 1st in AL, O/U 97)
They might not have won the World Series last year but the Yankees are who the preseason buzz is about. With an everyday batting order that had a dozen players with 12+ home runs (MLB record), it is a given the Yankees will score a lot of runs. With a still potentially devastating bullpen again, the key is starting pitching. Adding lefty James Paxton is a huge plus, with his stuff at times unhittable. The Yanks are hoping that Luis Severino pitches like he did the first half of 2018 and they get strong contributions from Tanaka, Happ, and Sabathia. It is hard not to think the Yanks will be in the postseason, but like last year, they have to win the AL East and avoid going the wild card route.
S&S Pick: 50/50 to win the division and on the total
The Red Sox were arguably the best team since the 1998 Yanks with a wire to wire dominance of baseball. Now the tough part, the encore. Some might consider this a budding dynasty, but with six key free agents coming up the next two years, this becomes a very important season to capitalize on the roster they currently have. Adding J.D. Martinez brought a professional hitting approach to every hitter a season, no reason that does not continue. The starting pitching again should be exceptional. The question about the pitching though is last year's bullpen has been thinned out. Though the front office believes they still have enough to continue to do as well, it will have to be proven on the field. No baseball team has repeated as champions since the Yankees from 1998 to 2000, so this will not be simple.
S&S Pick: 60/40 to win the division and 70/30 Over on total
Tampa Bay (3rd, 6th, O/U 85)
Go ahead, guess how many games Tampa Bay won last year? Was it 84, 86, 88, nope, the Rays won 90 games last year. With a dominant home record of 51-30, Tampa Bay really believes they can be even better this season. As opposed to previous years when Tampa Bay would look to sell off players, they mostly kept what they had and added Yandy Diaz as a right-handed bat and catcher Mike Zunino. They are excited to add hard-throwing Charlie Morton from the Astros to go with Cy Young winner Blake Snell. Blend those players with what remains and this is a very dangerous ball club. Yet, you still have to wonder if manager Kevin Cash can get the same kind of results out the bullpen. The roster is good but not great.
Toronto is seemingly in baseball purgatory. They are not good enough to compete with the Red Sox or Yankees nor are they close to being as bad as Baltimore. The fact is direction-wise they really aren’t moving upward. They still have good hitters like Justin Smoak, Randall Grichuk, Kendrys Morales and Kevin Pillar. Everyone cannot wait until Vladimir Guerrero Jr. reaches the Blue Jays to begin his career at 20. Starting pitching-wise they have Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez and a bunch of other guys who are basically No. 5 starters. So in other words, not really much.
S&S Pick: 50/50 on total
Baltimore (5th, 15th, O/U 59)
The Orioles were 37-115 last year. (Not a misprint) Baltimore had 18 pitchers with losing records, which tied for the second-most since 1920. Plus, they had 15 players who make their MLB debut, the most in franchise history. Playing in a division that had three teams win 90+ games and could do the same again in 2019, you don’t have to be a major league bench coach to understand how long of a season the Orioles will have again. If you are looking for positives, pitchers Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb, and Andrew Cashner can’t be any worse. And Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis are on board to be somewhat better, but not much. Another long season in the land of crab cakes looking only to the future.