Congratulations to the 2016 AL Central champion Cleveland Indians... is what we will be saying if all these projections and predictions come true. First, FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus both pegged the Tribe as the AL Central champs, and now Vegas is getting in on the action. Sunday afternoon, the Las Vegas Superbook announced their odds for every baseball division, including the AL Central-winning Indians.
The Indians have 9/5 betting odds to win, with the Kansas City Royals coming in second with 5/2 odds, the Detroit Tigers with 5/1 odds, the Chicago White Sox with 5/1 odds, and the Minnesota Twins as the least likely to win the close AL Central race with 6/1 odds.
Unlike projection systems such as FanGraphs' Depth Charts or Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA, we do not really know how Vegas is coming up with these odds, but they probably want to be right and get the most money out of bets so that has to count for something, right?
I suspect that oddsmakers, as well as projection systems, are not expecting the Indians offense to all slump at the same time for two seasons in a row. That assumption, combined with a revitalized defense and one of the best pitching staffs in the league, make the Indians a damn formidable team on paper. On paper.