MLB American League Championship
The American League Championship Series (ALCS), also known as the AL Championship, is the annual championship series of the MLB’s American League (AL). In tandem with the NLCS, the ALCS constitutes the MLB’s semifinal round of postseason play. The American League Championship winner is awarded the AL pennant and the William Harridge Trophy and earns the right to move on to the World Series and play against the winner of the NLCS.
In the past, the AL pennant was simply awarded to the team that had put together the best record following the regular season. Things changed in 1994 however, when the AL was restructured into three divisions, the AL East, AL Central, and Al West. After the reorganization, the three division winners, plus a wildcard team, would qualify for the American League Division Series (ALDS) in order to decide who moves on to the American League Championship. The ALDS is played in a best-of-five format, as opposed to the ALCS, which is played in a best-of-seven format. The team with home field advantage hosts the first two games and the last two games of the series, for a 2-3-2 format. Simply put, the first team to win a total of four games automatically wins the series.
The AL has not experienced a high degree of parity in its 119 years of existence, with the New York Yankees winning the American League Championship 40 times, the most in league history. The Yankees are followed in wins by the Oakland Athletics (previously known as the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics), who own 15 titles, and the Boston Red Sox, who have 14 pennants. In fact, the most common recurring matchups in the American League Championship game include at least one of the aforementioned teams. They are the Kansas City Royals vs. New York Yankees (four times), the Yankees vs. the Red Sox (three times), the Oakland Athletics vs. the Baltimore Orioles (three times), and the Red Sox vs. the Oakland Athletics (three times).
Furthermore, despite being occasionally sneered at by NL teams as a result of their once minor league status (it is still sometimes called the “Junior Circuit”), AL teams have won 66 of the 116 World Series, with 27 of those wins coming from the New York
Betting the MLB
More money than ever before is being wagered on the MLB. In 2016 alone, over $1 billion was bet on baseball, according to Nevada sportsbooks. This sum represented an all-time high and was nearly double the amount wagered in 2010. The trend speaks for itself. Baseball already enjoys significant interest in the US. Unlike sports such as American Football, baseball also has a large international following, which contributes to its value. Partnerships with the sports betting world are also seeing the MLB’s betting stock rise.
One of the trendiest ways to get in on this action is futures bets. Given the importance of the American League Championship, it is a no-brainer that the ALCS winner is one of the top futures bets bettors can make. Additionally, bettors also have the option of betting on single player futures in the ALCS, with bets such as ALCS MVP being a popular choice.