Spring training will open Feb. 10 for a couple of AL teams, leaving baseball bettors less than five weeks to gather information in advance of making MLB futures odds wagers.

Pitchers and catchers begin reporting to spring training in 35 days, at which time baseball bettors will have more wagering options than 2013 World Series odds to think about. Though nothing is official yet, and a few of the remaining free agents will certainly affect the numbers when they do come out, all signs point to a new team for everyone to chase in the American League.

Image previewIt won't be last year's pennant winners from Detroit. The heaviest chalk won't be on the Yankees, perennial favorites from the Junior Circuit. Nor will it be the Angels who landed the biggest hitter on the free agent market for the second straight winter.

Instead, the team listed lowest on the MLB odds boards is likely to be a franchise that made its last trip to the playoffs 20 years ago. Sitting at the top of the World Series odds at Bovada with a 15/2 price, the Toronto Blue Jays are projected to be 9/2 chalk to win the AL once the numbers come out.

The Blue Jays beefed up their lineup with Jose Reyes, Melky Cabrera and Emilio Bonifacio joining Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. Starting pitchers Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and 2012 NL Cy Young winner RA Dickey were also acquired in separate trades, and they should have a lot of runs to work with.

Toronto also made a change on the dugout's top step after losing John Farrell to the Red Sox. John Gibbons, who managed the club from 2004-08, has been rehired and is immediately on the hot seat with his task to get the Blue Jays back to the postseason for the first time since those 1992-93 World Series crowns. 

It will be tough enough to just win a division flag considering the entire AL East ranks among the top 9 clubs in the league. The Yankees (15/1 to win World Series), Rays (22/1), Red Sox (25/1) and Orioles (40/1) are each more than capable of upsetting Toronto's payroll boost. We saw that last season in the NL where the Miami Marlins were expected to contend for the playoffs, only to finish last in the division. 

Tigers Should Once Again Be Biggest Division Favorite

Detroit went off as 2/13 chalk to win the AL Central in 2012, by far the heaviest division favorite entering the campaign, and there's plenty of reason to think the Tigers will be priced similarly in 2013, perhaps even as bigger favorites.

The Tigers are listed at 10/1 to win the Fall Classic, No. 5 among 30 MLB crews, and their estimated AL win odds are 6/1. Manager Jim Leyland gets a lineup boost with the return of Victor Martinez plus the signing of veteran Torii Hunter who hit .313 with 92 RBI for the Angels last season. There might be some concerns in the bullpen where Phil Coke is penciled in as closer, but the rotation is headed by Justin Verlander and a deep group overall.

The Chicago White Sox are runner-ups in the division according to Bovada's World Series odds; at 40/1, that puts them even with Baltimore who is the biggest long shot out of the AL East. The Royals are 50/1 to win the Series followed by the Twins and Indians at 75/1 each. Kansas City could sneak up and play the part of last year's Pale Hose team that fell short; Cleveland is a year away from being a serious contender, but you have to like Terry Francona's chances of turning this team around in the short-term, and when it comes to making my MLB picks, the Tribe is on my early-watch list.

Can Halos End 3-Year Playoff Drought?

Image previewA 2-year postseason absence was supposed to end last year for the Los Angeles Angels after they added Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson to the fold. It didn't happen thanks to a very, very slow push out of the gate. Now they've brought in Josh Hamilton in another free agent grab, and heads will roll if a trip to the playoffs is once again missed.

Anaheim's hardballers are knotted with their NL brethren up in Los Angeles as 17/2 World Series choices. My projection has the Angels a tad less than 5/1 selections to take home the AL trophy. It's a scary lineup with Pujols and Hamilton joined by AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout plus Mark Trumbo for full seasons each. Mike Scioscia will have a new back of the rotation behind Jered Weaver and Wilson, who will need a bounce-back season, and Ryan Madson is in at closer coming off Tommy John surgery. 

The Rangers and Athletics will not give in easily, and both possess strong enough clubs to make it to the playoffs. Texas (12/1 to win World Series) and Oakland (30/1) both reached the postseason a year ago, and will be in the same division as Seattle (75/1) and Houston (200/1). There are 57 games that pit the Angels, Athletics and Rangers against the Astros this year, so a wild-card entry from the AL West should be counted on.

* Note: Estimated odds based on current World Series prices at Bovada (Jan. 1)

 MLB Betting: National League Futures click here~

TEAM

ESTIMATED AL WIN ODDS

Blue Jays

+450

Angels

+475

Tigers

+600

Rangers

+800

Yankees

+850

Rays

+1000

Red Sox

+1150

Athletics

+1275

Orioles

+2000

White Sox

+2000

Royals

+2500

Indians

+3250

Twins

+3500

Mariners

+3500

Astros

+9500

MLB Betting: Yankees Futures

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MLB Betting: Angels Futures

MLB Betting: Tigers Futures