It should be a fun final month of the MLB season. Three of the six division races remain up for grabs. And as for the wild cards, 12 clubs are all within three games and with legitimate shots at reaching the postseason.
This week's look at the hottest and coldest bets in MLB has playoff-contending clubs on both sides of the ledger. The Indians had their lead in the AL Central trimmed while costing bettors big. On the flip side, the Royals and Dodgers each turned tidy profits while boosting their postseason hopes.
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Here's this week's look at the hottest and coldest bets in MLB.
Hottest Bets in MLB (8/22 through 8/29)
Los Angeles Dodgers (5-2, +3.5 Units)
It was a big week for the boys in blue. After closing out a series win against the Reds last Monday, the Dodgers took two of three games from both the Giants and Cubs to finish the week as the best bet in baseball. Los Angeles now holds a two-game lead over the Giants in the NL West.
The starting rotation has continued to do an excellent job for the Dodgers despite the absence of ace Clayton Kershaw. Last week, it was a combination of veteran journeyman Rich Hill and Scott Kazmir, along with four rookies--Kenta Maeda, Julio Urias, Ross Stripling and Stewart Brock--that helped keep the Dodgers in the division lead. Los Angeles has used 14 different starting pitchers this season.
As for Kershaw, he is scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Tuesday. If all goes according plan, the three-time Cy Young winner should be back in time for the postseason.
This week the Dodgers play three games in Colorado and then host the Padres for a three-game weekend series.
Kansas City Royals (4-2, +2.9 Units)
The red-hot Royals, winners of 12 of their last 14 games, have remarkably pulled to within three games of the second wild-card spot. Last week, Kansas City went on the road and took two of three from both the Marlins and Red Sox. In a boon for bettors, three of those four wins came as an underdog.
The Royals have gone from six games under .500 at the start of August to six games above .500 entering Monday's action. A key factor in the resurgence has been OF Alex Gordon. The Gold Glove winner has jacked seven HRs this month to up his OPS nearly 250 points to .907.
The Royals have no time to rest on their laurels as there remains three teams to leapfrog (Tigers, Astros, Royals) for a playoff spot. Kansas City will be home this week for three games against the Yankees followed by a critical three-game set against the Tigers.
Other hot MLB bets: New York Mets (4-2, +2.9 Units), Houston Astros (4-2, +2.3 Units)
Coldest MLB Bets (8/22 through 8/29)
Minnesota Twins (0-6, -6.0 Units)
A couple weeks ago it seemed manager Paul Molitor finally had something going in the Twin Cities. Some of the young offensive talent was finally producing at the plate, and the starting rotation, which is straight-up atrocious, was actually keeping the Twins in games. All of that is a distant memory now.
Last week, the Twins were swept at home by the Tigers and then they dropped three straight to the Blue Jays in Toronto. Minnesota allowed an average of 9.5 runs per game in that stretch, which lifted the team ERA to 5.12 for the season. That's the second-worst mark in MLB.
The Twins will try and put an end to the losing streak this week with three games in Cleveland followed by a four-game set at home against the White Sox.
Cleveland Indians (2-5, -4.4 Units)
It was a disappointing week for the first-place Indians as they lost two of three to the last-place A's and were then beaten in three of four on the road by the Rangers. Despite the rocky week, the Tribe are still 4.5 games up of the Tigers in the AL Central.
Cleveland this year ranks among the top six in runs scored, batting average and slugging percentage, but last week the bats went cold. The Indians scored just 16 total runs last week, with 12 of those coming in just one game, a win against the Rangers on Friday night.
Every team will go cold at the plate at some point during the season, of course, and the season-long numbers suggest this shouldn't last. This could be a good week for the Indians to get right, as well. They open with a three-game series against the dreadful Twins before hosting the Marlins for three games.
Other cold bets: Washington Nationals (2-5, -3.9 Units), Seattle Mariners (2-5, -1.4 Units)
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