It seems that the baseball season has only just begun, but we are already about a quarter of the way through the season. That means that it is a very good time to look at what has happened so far from a betting perspective. Which teams have been particularly pleasurable to bet on? And which ones have burned large sums of bettors' money without shame? Let's take a look at baseball's betting studs and duds to this point:
1. Houston Astros: If you have been paying even a little attention to baseball this year then you would be not even a little surprised that Houston is on top of this list. After so many years of just awful baseball, they have the second-best record in the American League and a 5.5-game lead in their division. It might not last, and the team is certainly a year or three ahead of schedule, but for now all we can do is enjoy the boost to our pocket book.
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2. Kansas City Royals: The Royals are not a surprise like Houston is. What is somewhat surprising, though, is that the team has been able to carry their momentum forward from last year. They have the best record in the American League, while other teams in a somewhat similar situation in recent years - Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Baltimore and so on - have not been able to carry on their success.
3. St. Louis Cardinals: Heading into the season they seemed like one of the best teams in baseball. They have the best record in the league right now. In other words, things are going just according to plans. They have the talent and experience to keep this rolling all season long.
4. Minnesota Twins: The Astros are clearly the shock of the AL, but if it weren't for them then the Twins would get that mantle. No one expected them to even have a pulse this year, but they have a very nice .575 win percentage and would be a wild-card team if the season ended right now. It isn't likely to last - they have a losing record on the road, among many other concerns - but for those who have been aboard the train so far this year they have certainly enjoyed the ride.
5. New York Mets: A lot of people are like me - they just assume that the Mets are going to be terrible because that's what they do. The fact, then, that they have been pretty solid means that they are delivering nice profits to true believers and skeptics both. The team is a dismal 7-12 on the road, though, so the profits haven't been all that they could be - and it's hard to believe that the party can last.
1. Oakland A's: What have we learned from the mess that this season has been in Oakland so far? Well, it turns out that you can't always get strong results by basically turning over your entire roster. Who would have guessed? There were a lot of people who thought that this could be a wild-card contender, but they started badly and have gotten worse. They have won a league-worst five games at home. Terrible team. A pleasure to bet against.
2. Miami Marlins: They have two great hitters playing really well and pretty much nothing else of note. You have to reserve judgment to an extent because of the managerial change - though the choice of a new boss was a perplexing one. They should be better than this, but then again they are the Marlins.
3. Milwaukee Brewers: If you were to find a dozen very casual baseball fans, I bet you could convince at least a couple of them that this team had folded a couple of seasons ago. They are a totally forgettable mess of a team right now, and it can't even be a little surprising that they are struggling as much as they are. Their offense is barely average, and no team in the league has allowed more runs. Things are not getting any better in a hurry.
4. Cleveland Indians: There were plenty of people who had some hope that this could be a good team this year. Those people forgot that we were talking about the Indians. They are a respectable 11-11 on the road. The problem, though, is that they can't win at home. Things could get a little better, but I am skeptical in the longer term.
5. Seattle Mariners: It's a tradition. Every year I believe that the Mariners are going to make a breakthrough - that things are going to be different. And every year they find a way to disappoint me. Last year they teased by being almost, but not quite, good enough. This year they have just been awful. I have no idea how King Felix manages to not completely lose his mind and destroy the clubhouse about three times a year.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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