left right
Betting Blog

MLB 2018 Season Preview & Picks

After a fascinating World Series which saw the Houston Astros win their first World Series just mere weeks after their city was decimated by Hurricane Harvey in a true Cinderella story, we are back ready for what should be yet another enthralling season of baseball. Here we break down each division with an aim to predict who will be the eventual Pennant and World Series winners.

Click on any of our picks to add them straight to your bet365 betslip

Throughout the 2018 season, we will be posting MLB picks, predictions and betting tips including which will be updated by 6pm GMT each day.

American League

American League East

This division contains by far the biggest rivalry in all of Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees vs the Boston Red Sox. This is a rivalry which dates back over 100 years, and relations between the two have not improved one bit. However what has improved over the last couple of years is the ability of these teams, with last year them both making the playoffs.

Normally in the offseason the top teams worry about losing their star players, however this year both made a splash in Free Agency picking up star slugging outfielders. The Yankees picked up a Mr Giancarlo Stanton who casually smacked 59 home runs last season. Add in the fact that Yankee Stadium features notoriously short porches and the Yankees clearly have a better batting lineup than the Marlins and Stanton will get even more plate appearances- and more importantly RBI situations.

The Red Sox on the other hand bolstered their artillery by picking up star outfielder J.D Martinez in Free Agency, and whilst he may not be quite as dominant as his New York rival, he makes a very nice addition to an already stacked outfield featuring Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi.

Whilst the Yankees certainly have a strong pitching rotation with the likes of Tanaka and Severino, the Red Sox hold the clear advantage in this department boasting two world class pitchers in David Price and Chris Sale- the latter is in my opinion the best starting pitcher in the American League.  

Although the rest of the division features several star players such as Josh Donaldson and Manny Machado, the other three teams have an incredibly difficult task to try and catch either of these two rivals- especially over a 162 game season and I definitely see this being a two horse race.

With all this in mind, whilst the Yankees certainly hold the advantage in slugging, with the Red Sox’s pitching rotation- on top of having an above average lineup themselves I believe that they represent great value in the AL East.

PICK: BOSTON RED SOX TO WIN THE AL EAST AT 9/5

American League Central

Cleveland Indians MLB

This honestly looks a one horse race with the Cleveland Indians priced at very short odds to win this division.

The Detroit Tigers are a shadow of their former self due to letting star players like Verlander and JD Martinez go, and former Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera is past his prime. At odds of around 40/1 to claim the division crown I can rule them out immediately, I predict a bleak season for Detroit’s faithful.  

The Twins are an interesting team with an array of young talent, however I don’t anticipate them getting anywhere close to the Indians who will be keen to make up for last years shock Postseason exit to the Yankees after squandering a 2-0 series lead.

Whilst I don’t think the Chicago White Sox have any chance of actually winning this division, I do believe they have some talent on the roster with the likes of Jose Abreu and Yoan Moncada but it would take a big shock for them or the Royals to upset the Indians and gain a homefield playoff series.

PICK: CLEVELAND INDIANS TO WIN THE AL CENTRAL AT 1/5

American League West

The last division in the American league features arguably the best player in the entire world, Mike Trout of the LA Angels. However as we all know, baseball is a team game and this division also contains the best team in the world, the reigning World Champions, the Houston Astros.  

The Astros strengthened their hand even further by picking up the very good starting pitcher Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates to add to their pitching rotation which already has two established aces in Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. Looking through their lineup it is simply stacked and leaves no wonder as to why they were able to claim their first World Series ring in Franchise history last season. Whilst repeating as World Series champs is a hard ask, they certainly have the talent to do so, and should be far too good for the rest of this division- although I thoroughly expect the second Wildcard spot to come from this division.

The Angels made arguably the biggest move off the offseason by picking up the highly touted Japanese two way star Shohei Ohtani and will certainly be looking to make a playoff push. The Mariners on the other hand still boost the star players Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, Kyle Seager and of course King Felix as well as picking up the allstar Dee Gordon in an offseason trade. Both of these teams display an above average array of talent, however in my view it will take far more than that to catch the Houston Astros.

PICK: HOUSTON ASTROS TO WIN THE AL WEST AT 5/14

National League

National League East

Onto the National League now, and for me this is a very intriguing division. The Marlins are no hopers, but the other four are all improving.

The Nationals have won this division three of the last four years including the past two seasons and will be looking to make it a three-peat. They have several star players such as Bryce Harper,Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner in their batting lineup, to go nicely with their aces Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg and are the favourites to win this division once again. However standing in their way are the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves.

Starting with the Mets, they made a couple of very interesting offseason acquisitions to boost their slugging with Adrian Gonzalez and Todd Frazier who along with Yoenis Cespedes make a fearsome power hitting trio. If David Wright can ever recover his health and form? Look out. The Mets went to the 2015 World Series on the strengths of their awesome pitching rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom and Steven Matz. Whilst they took a big step back in 2017, it is easy to imagine that they’ll be boosted by this added offensive production and I can definitely see them running the Nationals at least close for the division title.

The Phillies are an interesting one as they have just snagged the prize haul of the ace and 2015 Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta in free agency. They already picked up star Indians first baseman Carlos Santana, and looked to of struck the jackpot last season with the slugging rookie Rhys Hoskins who smashed 18 home runs since being called up to the big leagues in the last two months of the 2017 season.

The Phillies and Mets are certainly going in the right direction, and whilst there is certainly value to be had in these selections, I still feel that they have a lot to make up to catch up to the Nationals.

PICK: WASHINGTON NATIONALS TO WIN THE NL EAST AT 1/2

National League Central

MLB Picks

This is a division in which the Chicago Cubs have won the previous two years, including their famous 2016 World Series victory breaking their 108 year drought. The Cubs certainly deserve our respect as one of the best teams in baseball. Whilst as mentioned they have lost ace Jake Arrieta, they wasted little time in replacing him by acquiring Yu Darvish from the World Series runners up Los Angeles Dodgers, in a move that some feel is even an upgrade! The Cubs possess a frightening batting lineup with the likes of Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo and whilst the Brewers have certainly made strides to compete, I just feel that the Cubs will be a class above in this division due to the lack of quality pitching the Brewers have in their artillery.

The St Louis Cardinals are always a tricky team, but the Cubs have gotten the best of them in the last couple of seasons and I see no reason for this to change whilst their young offensive stars are all still in their prime. Add in the seemingly good value on this selection and its a no brainer.

PICK: CHICAGO CUBS TO WIN THE NL CENTRAL AT 4/7

National League West

This may be the final division we cover but it is also probably the most competitive. The current NL pennant holders, the Los Angeles Dodgers are favourites to retain their division crown. They certainly hold serious talent with the likes of Justin Turner, Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger- not to mention the best pitcher in the sport, Clayton Kershaw.

The Arizona Diamondbacks also boost some stars of their own such as ace Zach Greinke and arguably the best first baseman in Major League Baseball, Paul Goldschmidt, however this looks to be a very tough division this year and I simply don’t think that the Diamondbacks have enough star quality in depth to make a run this season- in a weaker division they could however this certainly is not a weak division.

One team that really intrigues me is the San Francisco Giants. The 2014 World Champs had an uncharacteristically abysmal season last year summed up by their ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner injuring himself in a dirtbike accident. However the Giants seemed intent on regaining their reputation as a serious contender by acquiring two of the best players in the past decade- Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen. Adding to Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence, along with Johnny Cueto and of course Bumgarner on the mound, I truly believe that this years San Francisco team will right their wrongs and at least gain a playoff spot. The value for them to win the division seems ludicrous and whilst I advise caution with your stakes, the odds on offer seem far too big a price considering the talent level on this team.

PICK: SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TO WIN THE NL WEST AT 6/1

The Playoffs

National League

Whilst I am in National League mode I shall start here. I do believe that the National League is more competitive than its AL counterpart, however also has more opportunity for a surprise team to break through and win the pennant.

Once again I find myself attracted to the prices of 16/1 and 40/1 for the San Francisco Giants to win the National League and World Series respectively and certainly wouldn’t put anyone off backing this, however questions do remain about them after such a dismal season- I am willing to write it off due to their talent, reputation and offseason acquisitions but understandably a lot of punters won’t and this is more of a selection for value rather than one to lump on.

I believe that the Chicago Cubs and the Los Angeles Dodgers complete the three best teams in the National League and out of the two I give the edge to the Chicago Cubs, on the basis that their youngsters are more proven than the Dodgers and have shown they have what it takes to win the World Series. By no means do I think that the Dodgers are a weak team even though I have backed against them against San Francisco and the Chicago Cubs- that’s just how highly I rate both of those two.

PICKS: CHICAGO CUBS TO WIN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE AT 4/1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TO WIN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE AT 16/1

American League

Onto the American League now and boy is this tough. There are several great teams who could not only win the pennant- but win it all as well.

I seriously consider the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians and Astros all as genuine World Series contenders. Personally though, I think the Indians and the Astros are the pick of these and have been the AL champions the past two seasons.

The Indians have great pitching complimented by good batting and the Astros, well, they’re just great. Just like we saw in the 2017 playoffs I don’t see how the Yankees or Red Sox can keep the Astros quiet and I fancy them to repeat and return to the World Series again in 2018. It may be a boring pick, but there is nothing boring about winning money, or watching the way they play baseball.

PICK: HOUSTON ASTROS TO WIN THE AMERICAN LEAGUE AT 11/4

World Series Picks

This then leads onto the World Series- as mentioned I will be having a slight dabble on the Giants because 40/1 is just a ludicrous price but lets assume the oddsmakers have got it sort of right and its a Chicago Cubs vs Houston Astros World Series.

I think the Cubs are great, they have an array of young talent and power hitting with gold glove winning fielders along with veteran pitcher Jon Lester and new signing Yu Darvish- both of whom have pitched in the World Series before. However whilst this Cubs team possesses recent World Series winning experience, so do the Houston Astros and earlier I stated that its very hard for the World Series Champions to repeat and retain their title the following year and it certainly is. The Last team who achieved this is the New York Yankees who won an incredible threepeat in 1998-2000. The last 17 champions have all failed to defend their crown!

However whilst its hard for the World Series Champions to repeat the following season, it’s also hard for another team to usurp them when the champions have just added another ace to an already top quality rotation, which is exactly what the Houston Astros team have done in acquiring Gerrit Cole from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs are very good, but the Astros are just on another level. Baez, Bryant and Rizzo is easily countered by Correa, Altuve and Springer and whilst Lester and Darvish is certainly an impressive 1-2 combo, it falls short to the 1-2-3 of Keuchel, Verlander and Cole.

HOUSTON ASTROS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES AT 11/2
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS TO WIN THE WORLD SERIES AT 25/1

Free MLB Picks, Predictions and Betting Tips

Throughout the 2018 season, we will be posting MLB picks, predictions and betting tips including which will be updated by 6pm GMT each day.


Free Bets & Offers

Get up To £100 In Bet Credits!

New Customers only. Up to £100 in Bet Credits. Sign up, deposit £5 or more to your account and bet365 will match your qualifying deposit in Bet Credits when you place qualifying bets to the same value and they are settled. Min odds/bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. T&Cs, time limits & exclusions apply.
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets!

UK+IRE only. Promo code 'G30' required. Min first bet £10. Must be placed within 14 days of account reg. £30 credited as 3 x £10 free bets. Not valid with CashOut. Free bet valid for 4 days. 18+. T&Cs Apply.
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets!

Promo Code YSKA03
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

*Exclusive* Get a £50 Matched Free Bet!

New Betfair customers claim now
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets!

New Coral customers. Minimum Deposit and Stake £10. Free Bets Credited as 3x£10. Free Bet Stake Not Returned. Free Bet Valid For 4 Days. 18+. Terms and Conditions Apply, See Below
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets!

New William Hill online customers only. Min. unit stake of £10/€10 at odds of 1/2 or greater. Only the “win” part from EW bets will count. Free bet terms, payment method & country restrictions apply. Free bets credited as 3 x £10/€10. Free bet stakes are not returned as part of the settlement of successful free bets. All Free Bets must be wagered within 30 days.
Claim Now

*Exclusive* Bet £20, Get £20 Free Bet!

+ £10 In-Play Free Bet Every Week
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Deposit £10, Play with £50!

New BetBright customers
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Get up to a £30 Free Bet!

+ £10 Free Bet Every Week
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets & 30 Free Spins!

New Betfred customers claim now
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £40 in Free Bets & Bonuses!

+ Cash Out & Acca Insurance
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10, Get £30 In Free Bets!

New customers only - Minimum deposit of £10 using deposit code 30f - A qualifying bet is a 'real money' stake of at least £10 placed on any sports market - Minimum odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets credited upon qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days - Free bet stakes not included in returns - Deposit method and withdrawal restrictions apply. 18+. begambleaware.org. T&Cs Apply.
Claim Now

25/1 Liverpool to beat Roma!

Winnings paid in free bets. Max £/€1 stake
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

25/1 a goal to be scored in Liverpool vs AS Roma!

UK+IRE New Customers Only. Winning bets paid in cash based on the normal price on our website. Enhanced odds paid in free bets. Free bets valid for 4 days. Losing £5 free bet excludes Coral Connect.
Claim Now

5/2 Liverpool to beat Roma!

Winnings paid in free bets. Max £/€10 stake
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

25/1 Liverpool to beat Roma!

Winnings paid in free bets. Max £/€1 stake.
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

6/1 Liverpool to beat Roma!

Promo Code: UCL
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

25/1 Bayern vs 40/1 Real Madrid!

Winnings paid in free bets. Max £/€1 stake.
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10 Get £30 + £10 on Liverpool vs Roma!

New Customers only - £10 minimum deposit using promo code "SF10" - First bet must be placed on any market - Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets are credited within 72 hours of qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days. First qualifying bet must be placed within 90 days of registration. Members depositing with PayPal, Entropay, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill will not be eligible for this promotion.
Claim Now

6/1 Bayern Munich to beat Real Madrid!

Promo Code: UCL
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

7/1 Arsenal to beat Atletico Madrid!

Promo Code: EUROPA
New customers only. T&Cs apply, 18+, begambleaware.org
Claim Now

Bet £10 Get £30 + £10 on Arsenal vs Atletico Madrid!

New Customers only - £10 minimum deposit using promo code "SF10" - First bet must be placed on any market - Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets are credited within 72 hours of qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days. First qualifying bet must be placed within 90 days of registration. Members depositing with PayPal, Entropay, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill will not be eligible for this promotion.
Claim Now

Bet £10 Get £30 + £10 on Champions or Europa League Semi-Finals!

New Customers only - £10 minimum deposit using promo code "SF10" - First bet must be placed on any market - Minimum stake £10 at odds of 1/2 (1.5) - Free bets are credited within 72 hours of qualifying bet settlement and expire after 7 days. First qualifying bet must be placed within 90 days of registration. Members depositing with PayPal, Entropay, Paysafe, Neteller or Skrill will not be eligible for this promotion.
Claim Now