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Best futures bets for AL Central – Chicago Tribune


The Chicago White Sox and their American League Central rivals open the 2024 MLB regular season in a month.

While late free agent additions could change win totals between now and then, for the most part things are pretty set.

Let’s take a closer look at three projections in the section that look exploitable from a futures betting perspective.

2024 AL Central win totals

  • Minnesota Twins: Above 86.5 (-114), Below 86.5 (-106)
  • Detroit Tigers: Above 80.5 (-115), Below 80.5 (-105)
  • Cleveland Guards: Above 77.5 (-110), Below 77.5 (-110)
  • Kansas City Royals: Above 72.5 (-115), Below 72.5 (-105)
  • Chicago White Sox: Above 63.5 (-110), Below 63.5 (-110)

Odds via FanDuel

2024 AL Central best bets

Chicago White Sox (63.5)

The White Sox fell from 81 wins in 2022 to just 61 wins last season.

We expect Chicago to lose fewer than 98 games to get 63.5 wins overall this season.

The pitching staff has taken a hit over the past few seasons as right-hander Dylan Cease took a step back last season, posting a 7-9 record and 4.58 ERA.

Cease ranked eighth in MLB with 214 strikeouts, but the Sox pitching staff put together a 4.87 ERA, third-highest in the American League.

The stoppage sparked interest in the trade market, particularly from the Yankees. While this would hurt the top of Chicago’s rotation, acquiring multiple players in return would fill holes at other positions and provide health throughout the roster.

Chicago finished last year with 101 losses, going 14-32, but with expectations this low, it’s a good idea to go the other way, especially in a league that isn’t so top-heavy.

While it wouldn’t surprise anyone if the Sox finish this season in the basement of the AL center, they should be able to muster 65 wins.

Cleveland Guards (78.5)

The Guardians are going through a transition period after long-time coach Terry Francona announced his retirement in the off-season.

Cleveland finished third in the standings and is trying to avoid back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 2009-10.

Veteran catcher Stephen Vogt replaced Francona as Cleveland had solid arms led by Shane Bieber, Tanner Bibee and Triston McKenzie.

All-Star third baseman Jose Ramirez compiled 172 hits, the second-highest season total of his 11-year career.

Cleveland had the fewest home runs among AL teams in 2023, but the Guardians had the fewest home runs because they consistently put the ball in play.

It won’t be easy to follow Francona, but Vogt should have enough pitching and offensive ability to finish at least .500.

Minnesota Twins (86.5)

The Twins are the reigning champions of the AL Central, albeit with an 87-75 record last year, the worst record of any division champion.

Putting aside the shortened 2020 season, Minnesota has won more than 86 games just twice in the past 12 seasons.

Minnesota tied World Series champion Texas for the most home runs in the AL last season, prompting 12 players to hit at least 10 home runs.

Veteran right-hander Sonny Gray committed to St. Louis in the offseason. He left for St. Louis, but the Twins are still led by Pablo Lopez, who ranks second in the AL in strikeouts.

The AL Central featured four teams with losing records last season, but Minnesota couldn’t gain the upper hand by any means.

The Twins will still be competitive and likely finish with a winning record, but Minnesota should see a slight regression and finish in the low 80s in wins.


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