The Toronto Blue Jays were one of the most aggressive teams in baseball's offseason, and bettors have responded by hammering Over the Jays' win total of 87 at William Hill Sportsbook. The Boston Red Sox also are taking a solid Over lean on their number of 79 wins, while the defending AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays are getting a lot of action Under their number of 86.5 victories. Here's an overview of AL East win total betting trends from the book.
Toronto was 32-28 in the 60-game shortened 2020 regular season, which got the Jays a wild-card spot. They were eliminated in a two-game sweep by Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays play in a massive market and are owned by corporate goliath Rogers Communications. Long story short, the team should always be a big spender but often isn't – until this offseason.
The Blue Jays won the bidding for one of the top free-agent position players on the market in Astros outfielder and former World Series MVP George Springer as well as adding former Oakland A's All-Star shortstop Marcus Semien, former Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz and ex-Padres closer Kirby Yates – who was utterly dominant in the 2018-19 seasons before elbow issues in 2020.
The Jays have a talented young corps led by Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette. A whopping 97 percent of all money wagered on Toronto's win total of 87 is on the Over at William Hill as well as 86 percent of tickets sold.
One thing to keep in mind: The Blue Jays will not have much of a home-field advantage to open the season as they will play at their spring facility in Dunedin, Fla., at least through May 2 due to COVID border restrictions at the US/Canada border. William Hill lists Toronto at +400 to win the AL East.
Boston was last in the AL East in 2020 at 24-36 and is a +2000 long shot to win it this year, but 96 percent of all money wagered on the Red Sox's win total of 79 is on the Over as well as 71 percent of the tickets sold. The Red Sox's biggest move was rehiring manager Alex Cora this offseason, and the team will get ace Chris Sale back from Tommy John surgery perhaps by late May.
Tampa Bay was a surprise winner of the AL East last year at 40-20 and reached the World Series for the second time in franchise history, falling to the Dodgers in six games. So why do the Rays have a win total of just 86.5? The organization has little money and lost two of its top starting pitchers in Blake Snell (traded to Padres) and Charlie Morton (declined option). A total of 94 percent of all money wagered on the Rays' win total is on the Under, but 52 percent of the tickets on the Over. Tampa is +400 to win the AL East again.
The Yankees are set at 96 wins, the second-most in the majors at William Hill. However, that has dropped from an opening of 97 as the Bombers were relatively quiet for them in the offseason other than re-signing DJ LeMahieu and adding pitchers Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon. Luis Severino is expected to be back midseason after last winter's Tommy John surgery. While 64 percent of all tickets sold have been on Over the Yankees' win total, 79 percent of the money is on the Under. New York is -190 to win the division.
Finally, the Orioles are at 63 wins and face another rebuilding season – they are +8000 to win the division. Sixty-three percent of all tickets sold on the Orioles' win total is on the Over but 52 percent of the money on Under.
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