by Josh Nagel - 06/12/2008
Here is a look at some Major League baseball betting trends through June 10:
American League East
Baltimore Orioles - The Orioles are in the midst of a nice little run during which they have won six of their last eight. Although they are not a serious contender in this division, their value shouldn't be overlooked. They cashed as a +140 dog or better in four of their past six wins, bringing their season profit to +742.
Toronto Blue Jays - The hitting-starved Blue Jays could provide tantalizing values if they were able to just shove a couple more runs across the plate. Anchored by Roy Halladay, Toronto has one of the league's strongest pitching staffs, as its team ERA of 3.47, third in MLB attests. Toronto also ranks second in quality starts (40) and strikeouts (497), but its 26-th ranked offense (4.07 runs per game) should give bettors cause for pause.
American League Central
Minnesota Twins - The reeling Twins just got clobbered in a four-game sweep at the hands of division rival Chicago and poor pitching was the culprit. They were out of every game basically before it started with the exception of the finale, in which they blew a 5-1 lead and lost 7-5. They were outscored 40-15 in those four games and have lost seven of eight overall, including six straight.
Cleveland Indians - Cliff Lee can only start every four days or so, and the lineup has yet to find consistent production. Thus, it continues to be an up-and-down season for the Indians, who have split their last 10 games and can't seem to get any firm traction so far this season. Injuries to Jake Westbrook and Fausto Carmon haven't helped, either.
American League West
Los Angeles Angels - The Angels are one of MLB's hottest teams, winning eight of their last 10, a span that included a six-game win streak. Although they have surprisingly scored more than five runs just once in their last 10, and their 4.24 runs per game is 24th in the majors, the Angels have an overachieving starting staff whose combined record is 29-14
Mariners - Perhaps the anti-Angels of this division, the Mariners have one of the most underachieving starting staffs in the majors, a group that was expected to lead the way to a possible playoff berth. Instead, Seattle has the worst record in baseball and the worst return for bettors at -1,921 units for the season. Despite the chaos that engulfed the team last week when management went on a public tirade after a sweep at the hands of the Angels, manager John McLaren has kept his job for now. The Mariners did take two of there at Toronto and got much-needed performances from Felix Hernandez and Jarrod Washburn.
National League East
Philadelphia Phillies - Behind career years from Chase Utley and Pat Burrell, the Phillies have shook off a slow start and are becoming one of the hottest teams in the National League. They have the third-highest run production in the majors at 5.27 runs per game, and the pitching staff, led by Cole Hamels, has held up its end of the deal as Philadelphia has won seven of 10. The streak included a sweep at Atlanta in which the Phillies brought home underdog money in all three contests, bringing their profit to 730 units on the season.
Washington Nationals - When a team has hitting-challenged as the Giants can come to town and plate 25 runs in a four-game sweep, you know your pitching staff has some serious issues. Well, so does the offense. In losing eight of 10, the Nationals have to score more than three runs and reached that mark just once. Their 3.67 runs per game are 29th in the majors. The best you can say is that they have a youth-laden roster with some long-term potential, but that does not ease the pain of an -879 hit for Washington backers this season.
National League Central
St. Louis Cardinals - The sudden injury to star slugger Albert Pujols should have St. Louis backers understandably worried and, while it is a long-term concern with him on the sidelines indefinitely, there's a good chance they can hold it together without him for a while. The team's starting pitching has been a pleasant surprise, and if it keeps up its pace with a team ERA of 3.90 (10th in the majors), the Cardinals should still have enough offense to get by.
Pittsburgh Pirates - Although the Pirates rank 28th in both team ERA (4.81) and errors (52), they have gotten surprising run production from their lineup (4.85, seventh in the majors), which has allowed them to stay close in a lot of games. Their better-than-expected offense has led to a record of 37-23-5 against the over for the season.
National League West
Los Angeles Dodgers - The Dodgers have a starting staff that is solid enough to whet any bettor's appetite, but their woeful offense will leave you hungry. Sometimes prices on guys like Brad Penny and Derek Lowe seem too good to resist, until you realize the two runs they give up is usually more than enough for the opposition to take the game and the money. It seems no matter how much they tinker with the offense - and a big-name free agent seems to come every off-season - the Dodgers just can't find enough offense to make it worth your while. Because of this, Dodgers backers are down nearly -700 for the season.
San Francisco Giants - The Giants have shown that they have enough pitching to be competitive against just about any team in any game, but the fact that journeyman Bengie Molina is penciled in at the clean-up spot should tell you something about their offense. After getting healthy with a four-game thumping of the Nationals, the Giants are still 26th in the league at 4.11 runs per game. Perhaps their recent improvement will spark a little surge in their offense, but an upcoming weekend homestand against the A's should provide a stiff challenge.