Why the White Sox Have the Second Best AL Champion Odds

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It promises to be a very special season on the southside of Chicago, as the White Sox look to be a strong World Series contender. Yes, the hire of Tony La Russa as manager was very questionable to say the least, for numerous reasons, but they still have the best and most exciting young lineup this side of the San Diego Padres.

There are so many talented hitters, of all stripes, on this Sox side that it’s made them the favorite to win the AL Central and a dark horse for the American League pennant.

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Sports betting is now legal in the state of Illinois, following the success of legal online sports betting sites in NJ, Nevada, and others. When sizing up the odds, you’ll see the White Sox priced to win the division in the neighborhood of -125. They’re being given 4-1 odds to win the American League pennant and 10-1 to win the World Series.

ESPN sees their win projection at 90.5.

There is only one team with a higher wins projection and better AL title (+250) and World Series odds (+550) in the American League and that is the New York Yankees.

In the National League, the San Diego Padres, a team the White Sox are very similar to on multiple dimensions, have slightly better series odds at 9-1 while their division rival, the LA Dodgers at +350, are the team with the best World Series odds of anyone in baseball. So why are the bettors so bullishly backing the White Sox?

It all starts with Jose Abreu, who matched a major league record with a home run in four consecutive at-bats last season. He finished the season with an OPS just under 1.000.

Additionally, if you projected his season totals for HRs (19) and RBIs (60) to a full season of at bats, (the shortened 2020 season meant he only had 240) he’d have monster numbers. 

You should expect him, as well as many other White Sox position players, to be among the top five in statistical categories such as HRs, RBIs, batting average, OPS and SLG in 2021.

Tim Anderson, the 2019 AL batting champion hit .322 last season with a .529 slugging percentage and .886 OPS. Luis Robert is a 5-tool player/star in the making and with a 600 at bat season last term, he would have projected to a home run total somewhere in the 30s and RBIs in the 90s. Ditto for Eloy Jimenez, who was across the board impressive in his hitting numbers. 

Then there’s Yoan Moncada, who has tremendous upside, plus Yasmani Grandal and Nick Madrigal in the lineup. In other words, there is nobody and nowhere you can really pitch around, because every slot features someone who can hurt opposing pitching.

It’s a team that can out-bludgeon anybody, even the Yankees, on any day. With an offense like this, the White Sox are going to be very tough to beat. 

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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