David Ortiz and the Red Sox are battling an unrecognizable American League East this season. (Getty Images)

Nevada reminds us American League East isn't scaring anybody this time around

Rob Bradford
February 15, 2015 - 7:11 pm

The kind folks in Nevada have weighed in on the upcoming Major League Baseball season. One of their takeaways? The American League East isn't scaring anybody this time around. The Atlantis sports book in Reno is the first to release their projected 2015 win totals for all MLB teams, using the numbers to encourage bettors to either bet that clubs will finish over or under the set number. While we understand the impetus setting such a number for each team is to get betting action, it also offers a representation as to how the professionals in the sports betting industry view the landscape of the coming regular season. It translated into good news for the Red Sox. It also reminds us that this division is, to be kind, unpredictable. Atlantis sports book director Steve Mikkelson slotted the Sox with an over/under of 86 wins, the most of any AL East team. Baltimore was second with 84.5, the Blue Jays are at 83.5, the Yankees slot in at 80 and Tampa Bay have been tagged at 77.5. While the numbers will ultimately be off base (because, despite the best efforts of Mikkelson and the rest of his Nevada counterparts, they always are), it is interesting to note the perception of the once-all-powerful AL East. The Red Sox' win over/under is the lowest of any of the other projected division leaders. That isn't what this division is supposed to be all about. Put it this way: If the Red Sox actually do win the AL East with 86 wins, it would be an unbelievable aberration. Since the leagues were broken up into three divisions in 1994, there have been just two times the top team in the East hasn't won at least 95 games. The Yankees needed just 87 wins to claim the division in 2000 -- (the first year in MLB no team finished with a winning percentage below .400 or above .600) -- and also won the division crown with 92 victories in '96. But with what appears to be an unusually top-to-bottom flawed AL East, it's a scenario that could surface. Basically, the entire division mirrors how we view the Red Sox. Cases could be made for and against every single participant. Usually the East offers some certainty thanks to at least one roster constructed with top-to-bottom proven success. Not this time. Take a look '€¦ RAYS Why they'll go over: With Alex Cobb, Drew Smyly and Chris Archer -- along with the June return of Matt Moore -- they could have the division's best starting rotation. Why they'll go under: The offense is yucky. And if you don't believe me, remember that John Jaso is currently scheduled to be the Rays' designated hitter. ORIOLES Why they'll go over: They have shown a propensity to figure things out, while getting good enough pitching. The return of Matt Wieters and Manny Machado won't hurt, either. Why they'll go under: The O's no longer have a guy named Nelson Cruz and added little in the offseason. YANKEES Why they'll go over: If Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda prove they can stay healthy, New York's offense and intriguing bullpen will keep them competitive enough until a midseason, game-changing move can be executed. Why they'll go under: The Yanks have to rely on the health of Tanaka, Sabathia and Pineda. BLUE JAYS Why they'll go over: The addition of Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin allows for one of the best lineups in the American League. The emergence of starting pitcher Marcus Stroman would also make a world of difference. Why they'll go under: Brett Cecil is the Jays' closer, and the top of the rotation is being manned by R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle with a bunch of unpredictability behind them. RED SOX Why they'll go over: A lot of players with at least some history of success. Why they'll go under: A lot of players with at least some history of uneven performances. This isn't your older brother's American League East. Thanks for the reminder Nevada.