Archive for March, 2011

Final Four Picks: Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats Analysis

March 30th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Picks: Connecticut Huskies vs. Kentucky Wildcats Analysis
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The Kentucky Wildcats and Connecticut Huskies met earlier this season at the Maui Invitational, and little did we know that this team that would go on to have a horrible record on the road and the other, which was unranked at the time, would be playing for the right to go to the National Championship Game. Check out how the Final Four odds stack up in this one!

Connecticut vs. Kentucky Odds at JustBet
Connecticut Huskies +2
Kentucky Wildcats -2
Over/Under 140
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Trends Of Note
Considering the fact that both of these teams ended up winning their conference tournaments this year, it’s no wonder why both have a heck of a lot of March Madness trends on their side in this one.

Kentucky has gone 5-1 ATS over the course of its last six games overall, and its only ATS loss in there was that escape from the Princeton Tigers in the first round of the tourney. UK is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 NCAA Tournament games as favorites. It is also 16-5-1 ATS in its last 22 games against Big East teams.

Connecticut has played six neutral site games in which it has been the underdog since the Big East Tournament, and it is a perfect 6-0 in those games. The Huskies are also 8-1 ATS since that magical run in the Big East Tournament started, and the lone failed attempt at a cover came against the Arizona Wildcats in the Elite 8. UConn is 7-2 ATS in its last nine NCAA Tournament odds battles and is 23-8 ATS in its last 31 games as an underdog. Head Coach Jim Calhoun and company are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 neutral site games overall and are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 against the SEC.

We’ve already mentioned the 84-67 win for UConn in this series at the Maui Invitational earlier this year, but there are also two other meetings that these teams have had since 2006. Kentucky won 64-61 at the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic last season at Madison Square Garden, while the Huskies pulled out an 87-83 win in the NCAA Tournament when these teams met in 2006.

Players To Watch
For Connecticut, this is a simple game plan. Get the ball in Kemba Walker’s hands and let him do his thing. Walker can really do anything and everything that is asked of him. He has averaged 23.9 points, 5.3 boards, and 4.5 assists per game this year, and he already has 74 swipes of the rock as well on the defensive end of the court. This is the leading scorer amongst players left standing in this tournament, and save for perhaps BYU Cougars’ Jimmer Fredette, there is no man in this entire tournament that is more feared than Walker. He also has played all but six minutes during the dance for Calhoun and company.

There are really only six men in the rotation for the Wildcats this season, and though men like Brandon Knight and Doron Lamb tend to get all of the accolades, Josh Harrellson is really the difference maker this year on this team. For a man that, for all intents and purposes, was nothing more than a stiff at the outset of the season, Harrellson has come on strong and averaged 14.8 points and 9.0 boards per game in the dance. He’s coming up with the big plays in the paint over and over again, and Calipari knows that his team would be forgotten if not for the play of Harrellson.

Keys to the Game
Connecticut has to find some players to step up aside from Walker. Jeremy Lamb, just a freshman, has really matured beyond his years in the postseason this year. He carried the team in the win against the DePaul Blue Demons, and since that point, he has had nine straight double digit scoring games. Lamb is a heck of a shooter, and he is likely going to end up being the man that has to take this team over after Walker is gone, and whether it is him or Alex Oriakhi that is picking up the slack, one of them just has to help out Walker.

For Kentucky, the trick is going to be staying out of foul trouble. When Walker is cutting to the basket on a regular basis, he tends to be able to lure some fouls out of some of the most disciplined teams in the nation. The Wildcats just cannot afford to do stupid things, because the team just isn’t deep enough. Calipari complained about turnovers and dumb fouls about this team all season long, and if those issues rear their ugly heads again in this one like they were at times this year, the Cats are in a ton of trouble.

World Series Picks: 2011 NL West Predictions and Preview

March 30th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on World Series Picks: 2011 NL West Predictions and Preview
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Complete List of NL West Lines Can Be Found Below

The NL West is one of the more interesting divisions this year in the game, as always. There really aren’t any teams that you can totally count out of this mess, but there aren’t any that you’d think are a surefire lock either. Check out the NL West odds and our NL West preview!

The San Francisco Giants (1.30 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) are the defending World Series champs, and they largely have the exact same team that they did last year. However, what we have to remember about this team is that it just barely got into the second season last year, and the hope is that it can do a heck of a lot better and get into the dance with plenty of games to spare this year.

The up and coming team on the NL West odds is the Colorado Rockies (2 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook). The Rockies really didn’t do a heck of a lot in the offseason this year, but they did wrap up a ton of their young players to incredibly long contracts. Colorado still has a great starting rotation, anchored around Ubaldo Jimenez, who looked like he had a chance to win 30 games last year before he fell off in the second half of the campaign.

We’re really not so sure why the Los Angeles Dodgers (3.90 to 1 @ BetUS Sportsbook) are in the same sort of discussion right now as the Giants and Rockies. Sure, Manager Don Mattingly is certain to bring in a new flare to the team this year, but when push comes to shove, there just weren’t enough moves that were made to keep this team competitive in all likelihood.

The San Diego Padres (13.50 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) were the upstart team down the stretch last season, and they really went for it to get into the playoffs. As we know, they didn’t succeed, and they really don’t have that impressive looking of a team. However, it wasn’t all that sharp looking last year either. Now that Adrian Gonzalez is gone though, this isn’t really the best looking team in the world. Don’t really look for the rebuilding Arizona Diamondbacks (20 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) to compete either, though we know that this team has a great nucleus of young hitters like Stephen Drew and Justin Upton to build around.

Odds to Win NL West @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Arizona Diamondbacks 20 to 1
Colorado Rockies 1.75 to 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 3 to 1
San Diego Padres 10 to 1
San Francisco Giants 1.25 to 1

Betting Lines to Win NL West @ Sportbet Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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San Francisco Giants 1.30 to 1
Colorado Rockies 2 to 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 3.90 to 1
San Diego Padres 13.50 to 1
Arizona Diamondbacks 20 to 1

2011 NL West Odds @ Hollywood Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Arizona Diamondbacks 18 to 1
Colorado Rockies 1.80 to 1
Los Angeles Dodgers 2.75 to 1
San Diego Padres 10 to 1
San Francisco Giants 1.50 to 1

2011 MLB Free Picks: NL Central Preview and Predictions

March 30th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on 2011 MLB Free Picks: NL Central Preview and Predictions
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Complete List of NL Central Lines Can Be Found Below

The NL Central is a wide open division this season, and there are legitimately four teams that could ultimately end up making the playoffs out of this bunch. Check out how we stack up the NL Central odds this season.

The favorites to win this division this year are the Milwaukee Brewers (2.05 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook). We know that Zack Greinke isn’t going to be in the lineup on Opening Day, but he really has the ability to win 20 games this year for this team. This is largely the same type of squad that made the postseason a few years ago with CC Sabathia, and now, the Brew Crew have the use of Greinke for the whole year. Yovani Gallardo is a great No. 2 starter, while John Axford should be able to anchor the bullpen. Prince Fielder, in a contract season, could be in line for a great year, and if he gets off to a great start, this team really could be a terror on the rest of the division.

The defending champs on the division are the Cincinnati Reds (2.35 to 1 @ Hollywood Sportsbook). Joey Votto in an unheralded star, and Manager Dusty Baker has a great set of bats and arms at his disposal as well. Was Cincy a one year wonder last year in the postseason? We’ll soon find out. However, one thing is for sure, and that’s that the rest of the division is a heck of a lot better this year.

The team that suffered the worst break of the offseason was the St. Louis Cardinals (3 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook). Not only did the team not ultimately end up winning the race with Albert Pujols to get a contract done, but then it lost Adam Wainwright in Spring Training for the year as well. It would be a tremendous accomplishment for this team to make it into the second season this year, and if it doesn’t, don’t be surprised if both Pujols and Manager Tony LaRussa end up flying the Cardinals’ coup.

The team that could be the real upstart this year out of nowhere is the Chicago Cubs (5 to 1 @ Hollywood Sportsbook). The Cubbies were one of the teams that raided the Tampa Bay Rays in this offseason. They picked up both Carlos Pena and Matt Garza in the winter, and those acquisitions really might make up for a number of bad signings over the years. This is the longest shot of the realistic teams that can get the job done, but we aren’t counting out the North Siders yet.

Both the Houston Astros (33 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (45 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) really have no shot to do that much damage. You can bet that the Pirates are good for yet another season below .500.

Odds to Win NL Central @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Chicago Cubs 5 to 1
Cincinnati Reds 2 to 1
Houston Astros 25 to 1
Milwaukee Brewers 1.75 to 1
Pittsburgh Pirates 40 to 1
St. Louis Cardinals 2.75 to 1

Betting Lines to Win NL Central @ Sportbet Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Milwaukee Brewers 2.05 to 1
Cincinnati Reds 2.35 to 1
St. Louis Cardinals 3 to 1
Chicago Cubs 4.85 to 1
Houston Astros 33 to 1
Pittsburgh Pirates 45 to 1

2011 NL Central Odds @ Hollywood Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Chicago Cubs 4.50 to 1
Cincinnati Reds 1.80 to 1
Houston Astros 40 to 1
Milwaukee Brewers 1.80 to 1
Pittsburgh Pirates 100 to 1
St. Louis Cardinals 3 to 1

2011 NL East Predictions, Picks and Preview with MLB Odds

March 30th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on 2011 NL East Predictions, Picks and Preview with MLB Odds

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Complete List of NL East Lines Can Be Found Below

The NL East is going to be one of the toughest divisions in baseball this year, and the favorites on the odds to win the World Series are clearly in this division. Check out how we stack up the five squads for our NL East preview.

Even though they didn’t look all that dominating in Spring Training, the Philadelphia Phillies (1 to [email protected] Sportbet Sportsbook). The Phils really made the coup of the offseason by swiping Cliff Lee from the grasps of both the Texas Rangers and the New York Yankees. Lee really was a huge difference maker for this team in the half season that he spent with the Phils two years ago, and he loved his time in the City of Brotherly Love so much that he elected to come back. The man that he was traded for, Roy Halladay is still here, and so are Roy Oswalt, Cole Hamels, and Joe Blanton. Sure, Jayson Werth is gone, but the rest of this lineup in still intact. There are some concerns injury wise, most notably Brad Lidge and Chase Utley, and if these two can’t get the job done, they’re in some trouble. If the much maligned bullpen pulls it together though, the Phils won’t be touched in this division.

The Atlanta Braves (4 to [email protected] Hollywood Sportsbook) are the one team that really could make a stink this year as well. This is the first time in decades that Bobby Cox isn’t with the team. However, he didn’t leave the cupboard bare, as the starting lineup is still fantastic and the pitching staff is still full of youngsters that are up and coming. The question is going to be whether this very young bullpen is going to keep it together this season. The playoffs aren’t a guarantee.

It seems as though the Florida Marlins (10.25 to [email protected] Sportbet Sportsbook) are the team that proves to be the pain in the backside every single season, but when push really comes to shove, they almost always end up falling short. The Fish have one of the best and most underappreciated players in the game in Hanley Ramirez, and they really have one of the best starting pitchers in the game as well in Josh Johnson. Leo Nunez anchors a fantastic bullpen with a ton of arms in it as well. Is it enough to win this division? Probably not. However, we have to believe that there is at least a 10 to 1 shot that the Fish get the job done.

The New York Mets (25 to [email protected] Sportbet Sportsbook) and the Washington Nationals (37 to [email protected] Sportbet Sportsbook) are a long, long way out of the division race right now. New York just wasn’t able to make any splashes in the offseason due to tight money conditions with ownership, and though Washington did sign Jayson Werth, it also let Adam Dunn get away. Both teams are missing stud pitchers this season as well, as Johan Santana won’t be ready until at least July, while Stephen Strasburg is out for the entire season following Tommy John surgery.

Odds to Win NL East @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Atlanta Braves 4 to 1
Florida Marlins 10 to 1
New York Mets 18 to 1
Philadelphia Phillies 1 to 3.50
Washington Nationals 25 to 1

Betting Lines to Win NL East @ Sportbet Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Philadelphia Phillies 1 to 2.60
Atlanta Braves 3.25 to 1
Florida Marlins 10.25 to 1
New York Mets 21 to 1
Washington Nationals 37 to 1

2011 NL East Odds @ Hollywood Sportsbook (as of 3/30/11):
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Atlanta Braves 4 to 1
Florida Marlins 8 to 1
New York Mets 25 to 1
Philadelphia Phillies 1 to 4
Washington Nationals 60 to 1

Final Four Picks: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs Analysis

March 28th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Picks: VCU Rams vs. Butler Bulldogs Analysis
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The Butler Bulldogs and the VCU Rams are arguably two of the most unlikely teams to ever make it to the Final Four. Here at Bankroll Sports, we have all of the ins and outs that you need to know about the first of the two national semifinals in Houston, TX.

VCU vs. Butler Odds at JustBet
VCU Rams +2.5
Butler Bulldogs -2.5
Over/Under 133.5
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Trends Of Note
The Rams have absolutely stormed through five games in the NCAA Tournament this year, accounting for five covers on the March Madness odds and five outright victories as underdogs, something that is just unprecedented by any standards in most any sport. They are now 9-0 ATS over the course of their last nine NCAA Tournament games overall, though they have never been in this type of a spotlight before in school history. However, if there is one bugaboo surrounding this team, it is that it is just 1-4 ATS over the course of its last five games played on Saturdays.

Butler has had a remarkable run as well, and it has some significantly more important NCAA basketball trends on its side. Sure, the Dogs are 4-0 SU and ATS as well in this tournament, something that is absolutely remarkable, but more importantly, they are 17-5 ATS over the course of their last 22 games played in the dance, many of which have come under Head Coach Brad Stevens. The Bulldogs are a whopping 21-4-2 ATS in their last 27 games against teams with a winning percentage above .600, and they are 40-16-2 ATS in their last 58 games played outside of the Horizon League. Butler is also 15-2 ATS in its last 17 neutral site games, which includes some great duels against fantastic teams both in and out of conference.

Players To Watch
For VCU, the men to really watch out for are Jamie Skeen and Bradford Burgess. These two make the perfect inside, outside combination, and they can both do a ton of damage from all over the course. Burgess actually had his quietest game against the Kansas Jayhawks over the weekend, as he only scored nine points. However, just like we saw against the Florida State Seminoles, he can be unconscious from beyond the arc and just knock down triples like it’s nothing. Skeen, a transfer from the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, stood toe to toe with Markieff Morris and Marcus Morris on Sunday, and the end result was one of his best games of the year with 26 points and 10 boards. He rarely takes time off in games, and he can stretch the entire court as well.

Of course, Butler has its own version of a dynamic inside, outside twosome with Matt Howard and Shelvin Mack. These two were key in the run to the finale last year in the dance, and they are both doing it once again. Howard is the gritty player that really probably doesn’t have all that much talent, but can really get the job done just through hard work. He’s always getting those tough boards, and he’s got a great shot from the outside as well. Howard has six straight games with at least 14 points scored, something that is really key for his team. Mack can just go off as he did against the Florida Gators, scoring 27 points on Saturday in the Elite 8. He also had 30 against the Pitt Panthers. The better the foe, the better this man plays, and this should be his time to shine now that he doesn’t have to split outside shots with the departed Gordon Hayward.

Keys to the Game
The trick for VCU is going to be three point shooting. March Madness betting fans know that this is the key to these mid major teams equalizing against the big boys, and the Rams have taken full advantage of it. Just listen to these three point stats from the games in this tournament… 12-of-25 against Kansas, 12-of-26 against Florida State, 8-of-21 against Purdue, 12-of-25 against Georgetown, 9-of-24 against USC… and all of this comes for a team that was shooting less than 36 percent from beyond the arc at the start of this tournament!

For Butler, obviously, defending the triple is going to be of paramount importance, but it seems like keeping Howard on the court is the bigger key. Howard is really the grit of this club, and if he isn’t in the fold, Butler is hard pressed to find a replacement for him. Over the course of the last two seasons in the dance, the Bulldogs were just significantly better with Howard out there than with him on the bench, and if he can stay out there, he should be able to provide Skeen with a heck of a battle in the paint. It’s not about the numbers. It’s just about keeping him and his presence out there on the court at all times.

World Series Picks: 2011 AL West Predictions and Preview

March 27th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on World Series Picks: 2011 AL West Predictions and Preview
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Complete List of AL West Lines Can Be Found Below

Last season, the Rangers weren’t just able to knock the Halos out of the catbird seat in the AL West, but they nearly won the whole enchilada as well. Will history repeat itself? Check out this year’s AL West preview and the AL West odds to find out.

The Texas Rangers (1.25 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) are once again the favorites to win this division, but we aren’t so sure that it’s justified. Sure, this was a team that did well most of last season, but Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina are both gone, and Texas wasn’t able to nail down Cliff Lee in the offseason either. The pieces are still in place for Manager Ron Washington to get the job done, but the task is going to be significantly harder now than it was at the end of last season when the Rangers probably did really have the best team in the American League.

As for those Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2.95 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook), they were truly losers in the offseason as well. Not only couldn’t they lure a big time starting pitcher to town, but they didn’t get Carl Crawford or any other big bats via free agency either. The Halos still have a nice looking nucleus, but there were definitely some faults last year, especially after Kendry Morales suffered his season ending injury relatively early on. Dan Haren might be a sneaky pick for AL Cy Young this year though, especially without any huge contenders emerging as early favorites.

The team that really could make strides this year is the Oakland Athletics (2.25 to 1 @ BetUS Sportsbook). There were a lot of great signings in the offseason by General Manager Billy Beane, including Hideki Matsui, Josh Willingham, David DeJesus, Grant Balfour, and Brian Fuentes. None of the moves by themselves are all that amazing, but the whole story is now looking sharp in Oakland. This pen is stacked, and the starting rotation is featuring five up and comers this year, including Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Braden, and Brandon McCarthy. This is definitely a squad to watch out for this year.

Rounding out the pack will be the Seattle Mariners (23.50 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook). The M’s just haven’t made enough moves to make us go, “Wow!” Unless there’s suddenly some offense joining Ichiro Suzuki in the lineup, there’s no way that this team plates enough runs to consistently win for any pitcher not named Felix Hernandez. Things would really be disastrous for the Mariners if they had to trade King Felix at the trade deadline, something that is a legitimate possibility if the price is right.

Odds to Win AL West @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2.25 to 1
Oakland Athletics 2.25 to 1
Seattle Mariners 20 to 1
Texas Rangers 1 to 1.20

Betting Lines to Win AL West @ Sportbet Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Texas Rangers 1.25 to 1
Oakland Athletics 2 to 1
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2.95 to 1
Seattle Mariners 23.50 to 1

2011 AL West Odds @ Hollywood Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 2.75 to 1
Oakland Athletics 1.80 to 1
Seattle Mariners 20 to 1
Texas Rangers 1 to 1

2011 MLB Free Picks: AL Central Preview and Predictions

March 27th, 2011 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in MLB Baseball   Comments Off on 2011 MLB Free Picks: AL Central Preview and Predictions
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Complete List of AL Central Lines Can Be Found Below

The AL Central is one of the most interesting divisions this year. There are legitimately three teams that not only could win this division, but that could win the whole enchilada as well. Check out how the AL Central odds stack up this year!

It’s going to be really interesting in this division this year, especially if Adam Dunn can really help out the Chicago White Sox (1.75 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook). This is the man that is really supposed to help out this lineup this year, as there really needs to be some big time pop in the fold. Jake Peavy should help out the rotation as well now that he is once again healthy, and he and Mark Buehrle should make a great 1 and 1A in the Windy City. Manager Ozzie Guillen is certainly out if he can’t get the Palehose in the postseason this year.

The team that is always forgotten about in this division is the Minnesota Twins (1.80 to 1 @ Hollywood Sportsbook). The Twinkies once again have Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to rely on, but there really aren’t a heck of a lot of other stars that are out there on this club. Still, Manager Rod Gardenhire gets more out of his team every single year than any other manager in the bigs, and that’s what makes this team, a very good home team, a very dangerous one again this year.

General Manager Dave Dombrowski did everything he could to try to help out the Detroit Tigers (2.30 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) in the offseason. He brought in Victor Martinez to shore up the catcher position, though we’re not so sure how well that’s going to translate when push comes to shove defensively. Justin Verlander has 37 wins over the course of the last two seasons, and he is once again going to have to pitch like a Cy Young Award winner to pitch this team into the second season.

Neither the Kansas City Royals (50 to 1 @ Hollywood Sportsbook) nor the Cleveland Indians (25 to 1 @ Sportbet Sportsbook) are going to contend for anything but the gutter in this division this year. KC made a bad team worse by getting rid of both David DeJesus and Zack Greinke in the offseason. Now, we’re not so sure who any of these pitchers are that are taking the mound at Kauffman Stadium this year. The Tribe at least have some great looking youngsters, but they are definitely at least a couple of years away.

Odds to Win AL Central @ BetUS Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Chicago White Sox 1.60 to 1
Cleveland Indians 20 to 1
Detroit Tigers 2 to 1
Kansas City Royals 40 to 1
Minnesota Twins 1.50 to 1

Betting Lines to Win AL Central @ Sportbet Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Chicago White Sox 1.75 to 1
Minnesota Twins 1.80 to 1
Detroit Tigers 2.30 to 1
Cleveland Indians 25 to 1
Kansas City Royals 40 to 1

2011 AL Central Odds @ Hollywood Sportsbook (as of 3/27/11):
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Chicago White Sox 1.75 to 1
Cleveland Indians 25 to 1
Detroit Tigers 1.75 to 1
Kansas City Royals 50 to 1
Minnesota Twins 1.60 to 1