The Toronto Blue Jays finished well ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East last season, but will Boston rebound in 2016 and climb all the way from last place to first in the division? The oddsmakers at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com think that’s a distinct possibility, with the Red Sox now the favourite on the odds to win the AL East.
Back in late February the Blue Jays and the Red Sox were listed as the +160 (or 8/5) co-favourites on the odds to win the AL East at the sportsbooks, but flash forward a couple of weeks and Boston remains at +160 while Toronto has dropped to +180 (or 9/5) on those 2016 baseball futures. Both teams remain ahead of the third choice, the +350 New York Yankees.
The Blue Jays earned their first postseason berth in two decades last season with a 93-69 mark that saw them finish six games up on the Yankees in the AL East standings. The Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays ended up 12 and 13 games, respectively, behind Toronto in the division standings, with the Red Sox finishing 15 games behind in last place.
And that was Boston’s second straight basement finish in the AL East, as it went 71-91 back in 2014 to end up fifth in the division; the Blue Jays were 83-79 and in third that season.
However, the Red Sox signed starting pitcher David Price away from the Blue Jays in the offseason, inking him to a seven-year deal after he'd led Toronto into the postseason. Set to headline Boston's rotation in 2016, the lefthander went 18-5 with a 2.45 ERA and 225 strikeouts between Toronto and Detroit last regular season before stumbling in the playoffs.
Toronto also doesn't have history on its side this season as it strives for another shot at a World Series championship, but it does still have a stacked lineup that includes Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Edwin Encarnacion, and Jose Bautista – contract talks or not.
Rounding out the AL East odds are the Baltimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays, both at +750 – a slight improvement from their +900 odds two weeks ago. The Kansas City Royals are the +110 favourites to win the AL Central, with the Houston Astros +160 AL West chalk.
Toronto will see plenty of action against AL East foes early in the season, as it opens with a series in Tampa Bay before hosting both the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Blue Jays then head out on the road again after that homestand for series in both Boston and Baltimore.