Oddsmakers make Guardians favorite in AL Central again for 2023 season

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Cleveland Guardians Jose Ramirez follows through on a sacrifice fly to drive in Austin Hedges during the third inning of Game 5 of an American League Division baseball series against the New York Yankees, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The 2023 MLB season is upon us, and there is a ton of excitement to start the season. With the new pitch clock starting this year, fans across the world are ready to see a different style of baseball as teams begin the race for the playoffs and compete for the World Series.

One of the teams that made it to the playoffs last season was the Cleveland Guardians. The Guardians won the AL Central with a 92-70 record and were able to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round before falling to the Yankees in five games in the divisional round.

While the team was able to get to 92 wins last season, the over/under total on wins this year is slightly lower. The number for the Guardians is 86.5 at FanDuel Sportsbook, with the over coming in at -128, while under is +104. To get to 90 wins, the Guardians are +125, so if you think the team is just as good, if not better than last season, that is a very sneaky and potentially profitable bet.

The Guardians dominated the AL Central last year, winning the division by 11 games over the Chicago White Sox. That 11-game difference was second in all of baseball last season, with only the Dodgers winning the NL West by more (22 games over the Padres).

With the success of last season, the Guardians are the favorite in the AL Central.

At +115, the Guardians are in front of the Minnesota Twins (+200) and the Chicago White Sox (+260) at FanDuel Sportsbook.

While it wouldn’t be a complete surprise if any of those three teams win the division, it is basically a three-team race as the Detroit Tigers (+3000) and the Kansas City Royals (+3500) are not looked at as teams that have much chance at the division title.

Even if the Guardians are unable to win the division, with baseball’s modern format of three wild-card teams, Cleveland is looked at as an odds-on favorite to be involved in October baseball.

The Guardians are -150 to make the playoffs, which is the sixth-best odds in the American League. The Central is widely looked at as one of the worst divisions in baseball, so two teams making the playoffs isn’t a sure thing.

While the Guardians are looked at as the best team in the division, the odds of the Guardians making a run and winning the ALCS are low.

At +1200, the Guardians are looked at as the sixth-most likely AL team to go to the World Series. Three teams from the American League East have better odds: the Yankees (+370), Blue Jays (+600) and Tampa Bay Rays (+900). In the West, the Astros are the AL favorites (+280), while the Mariners are one spot above the Guardians at +1000.

Cleveland is an even longer shot to win the World Series, as the Guardians rank 12th in Major League Baseball with +2500 odds. The Astros have the AL’s lowest odds at +600, while the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers are tied in the National League with +750.

If you are a Guardians fan, there is plenty to be optimistic about. If the team’s young core can continue to improve and get better, there is a very good chance this team will once again be a playoff team.

Last season, the Guardians had 506 more plate appearances by players 25 years old or younger than any other team in the MLB.

One of those talented young players was Andres Gimenez, who is only 24 years old. He was an All-Star starter last year, won a Gold Glove and finished sixth in the American League MVP race. He led all American League second basemen in defensive wins above replacement (2.4) and fourth in the league in batting with runners in scoring position (.333).

While some of those numbers may be tough to duplicate this season, the Guardians showed earlier in the week they believe he can be that type of player. He signed a 7-year, $102 million contract this week and will pair with third baseman Jose Ramirez to help lead one of the best infields in all of baseball.

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