MLB Betting Trends: Three Surprising Teams Have Impressed So Far

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12: Gavin Lux #9 of the Los Angeles Dodgers makes a throw to first base against the Seattle Mariners during the eighth inning at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images)

We’re not even two months into the 2021 Major League Baseball season, and already a handful of teams have improved their MLB betting odds considerably. Boston, Kansas City, and San Francisco’s odds have changed a great deal.

“The Red Sox, Royals and Giants are three teams that have seen their respective division odds improve the most since the baseball season began,” said Seamus Magee, a BetMGM sports trader. “With long odds to start the season, Boston, Kansas City and San Francisco are currently BetMGM’s biggest liabilities.”

The Boston Red Sox have been the biggest movers for those who bet online, opening the season at +2500 and now coming in at +375. So far, they’re tied for the second-best winning percentage (.595 — 26-18 record as of May 20) in the American League, and they lead the AL East. 

They have surpassed expectations so far, but can they continue it?:

BetMGM MLB preview: “The Red Sox are officially in rebuilding mode and finished dead last in the AL East in 2020, behind even the moribund Orioles. It was a tough season for Boston fans, who saw their star Mookie Betts traded away to the Dodgers and go on to lead them to a World Series championship. The Red Sox rotation is a disaster right now, and the team is a long way from contention. Free agency should help if Boston opens its pocketbooks, but it’s too steep a task.”

The Royals have shifted from +4000 on opening day to +1400 currently. While the ballclub is six games behind the AL Central division-leading Chicago White Sox, a decent start to the season (16-14 two weeks ago) turned heads for those betting MLB online. The Royals have cooled off some but are still ahead of expectations — and betting odds and trends reflect it.

BetMGM MLB preview: “The Royals look nothing like the team that appeared in back-to-back World Series in 2014 and 2015, back to rebuilding once again. Fun fact: The last three times the Royals made the playoffs, they played in the World Series, winning twice in 2015 and 1985.”

The Giants (from +4000 opening day to +1400 currently) have been the biggest movers in the National League. They’ve posted the top record (27-16) in MLB so far.

BetMGM MLB preview: “The Giants missed out on the playoffs in 2020 by a tiebreaker, but this is no longer the team that used to contend for the World Series year after year. San Francisco needs a bounce-back year from Johnny Cueto, and they also need a healthy year out of Brandon Belt. Can Brandon Crawford help get the Giants back on track?”

The highest betting handles have been with the Milwaukee Brewers (74.9%), New York Mets (71.0%), and Houston Astros (66.9%).

ODDS TO WIN DIVISION – OPENING VS. NOW

DIVISIONTEAMOPENING ODDSNOWTIX%HANDLE%
AL-CENTRALWhite Sox-110-35015.437.5
Indians+600+3509.46.0
Tigers+4000+1500023.47.6
Royals+4000+140030.720.3
Twins+140+150021.128.6
AL-EASTOrioles+5000+1500010.11.6
Red Sox+2500+37525.314.6
Yankees-175-11524.264.9
Rays+350+45019.410.6
Blue Jays+600+40021.08.3
AL-WESTAstros+150-11523.666.9
Angels+400+100024.715.0
Athletics+120+1108.44.6
Mariners+2000+350037.812.7
Rangers+4000+150005.50.8
NL-CENTRALCubs+275+90017.63.0
Reds+225+8509.93.2
Brewers+300+12527.174.9
Pirates+5000+150007.40.8
Cardinals+250+11038.118.1
NL-EASTBraves+125+26026.68.7
Marlins+1600+50006.63.3
Mets+175-12026.071.0
Phillies+850+35022.512.0
Nationals+650+140018.35.1
NL-WESTDiamondbacks+5000+100007.22.9
Rockies+3500+2000025.75.9
Dodgers-200-30013.334.7
Padres+175+22532.232.2
Giants+4000+140021.724.3

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Brian McLaughlin is a writer for BetMGM and co-host of BMac and Herd’s FCS Podcast. He has covered the national recruiting scene in football and basketball for The Sporting News, headed up the PARADE Magazine High School All-America selections, handled FCS college football for HERO Sports, and covered Jacob deGrom for his local newspaper when he played for a tiny Class 1A high school in Daytona Beach, Fla. Follow BMac on Twitter @BrianMacWriter.

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