With a month of the MLB season now in the books, there are a couple of notable storylines emerging for bettors. One of these is the fact the second-most profitable bet in baseball this season has been the surprising Philadelphia Phillies, who won six straight last week to improve to +10.5 Units for the year. Only the upstart Chicago White Sox at +11.3 Units have been a better investment this season.
On the flip side, two of the most public of all MLB clubs are reeling. Both the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers were abysmal last week, and that dropped them to among the five worst bets in baseball for the season.
Below are lists of the five best and worst bets in baseball both for the prior seven days and the season-to-date. Analysis to follow.
Hottest MLB Bets (4/25 thru 5/1)
Philadelphia Phillies (6-0, +9.9 Units)
Boston Red Sox (6-1, +4.4 Units)
Chicago White Sox (5-2, +4.4 Units)
New York Mets (5-1, +3.7 Units)
Pittsburgh Pirates (5-1, +3.8 Units)
Hottest MLB Bets (Season to Date)
Chicago White Sox (18-8, +11.3 Units)
Philadelphia Phillies (15-10, +10.5 Units)
Chicago Cubs (17-6, +6.5 Units)
Washington Nationals (17-7, +6.4 Units)
Detroit Tigers (14-10, +5.0 Units)
Not much was expected of the rebuilding Phillies this season, but after one month they sport one of the best records in the National League. Philadelphia was a perfect 6-0 last week, with every win coming as an underdog. They swept three from first-place Washington in D.C. in midweek then swept Cleveland at home over the weekend in a trio of one-run games.
The Phillies do boast some good young talent, and the pitching staff has been outstanding to this point. However, they remain one of the weakest offensive clubs in baseball. Consider this: of the top seven most-profitable teams this season the Phillies are the only one with a negative run differential (-0.6). It's tough to envision this success rate being sustained.
The Phillies hit the road this week for a four-game set with St. Louis followed by three in Miami.
The Red Sox slugged their way to a 6-1 record and to the top of the A.L. East last week. Boston now ranks in the top five in MLB in runs scored (134, No. 3), batting average (.285, No. 2), on-base percentage (.347, No. 3) and slugging percentage (.452, No. 5). This offensive prowess has overcome some suspect pitching. However, big-ticket free-agent signees David Price and Craig Kimbrel appear to be rounding to form following a tough start to the year. The Red Sox are dangerous.
Boston next goes on a six-game road trip beginning Monday with three against the White Sox in an intriguing series followed by a three-game set against the Yankees over the weekend.
The Pirates had a six-game winning streak snapped when losing to Cincinnati on Sunday. Pittsburgh sports the league's highest team BA (.290) and ranks fourth in runs scored (133). Outfielder Starling Marte (.327, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 7 SB) continues to develop into one of the NL's top offensive weapons, while leadoff man Gregory Polanco and Jody Mercer are both hitting over .300. The Pirates are also still waiting for former MVP Andrew McCutchen (.227, 5 HR, 10 RBI) to get hot. Pittsburgh looks likely to give the Cubs and Cardinals all they can handle in the N.L. Central this year.
Next up is three-game series at home against the Cubs followed by three on the road against the Cardinals.
Coldest MLB Bets (4/25 thru 5/1)
Los Angeles Dodgers (1-6, -9.7 Units)
Cincinnati Reds (1-5, -3.6 Units)
Arizona Diamondbacks (2-5, -4.5 Units)
New York Yankees (1-5, -4.4 Units)
St. Louis Cardinals (2-5, -3.4 Units)
Coldest MLB Bets (Season to Date)
Houston Astros (8-17, -12.1 Units)
Minnesota Twins (7-18, -11.8 Units)
New York Yankees (8-15, -9.2 Units)
Atlanta Braves (6-18, -8.1 Units)
Los Angeles Dodgers (13-13, -6.6 Units)
The free-spending Yankees and Dodgers have been a money pit for bettors thus far. New York is riding a five-game losing streak after being swept by Boston over the weekend, dropping them to among the five worst bets in baseball. Meanwhile, Los Angeles was inexplicably swept four games at home by Miami and former manager Don Mattingly last week then dropped two of three to last-place San Diego at home. The Dodgers are struggling to score runs. Their team leader in batting average is hitting just .287 (Chase Utley) and Adrian Gonzalez leads in HR's with only three. The pitching has been there for Los Angeles, but will they hit? It's certainly possible as these are mostly veteran hitters that figure to finish with their typical numbers.
Next up for the Dodgers is a two-game series at Tampa Bay followed by three in Toronto.
As for the Yankees, they've been bad both at the plate and on the mound. They rank 27th in runs scored (81) and are 24th in ERA (4.79). It could be a long year in the Bronx.
Next up for New York is three games at Baltimore starting Tuesday and three games at home against Boston.
The Astros, Twins and Braves continue to be among the five worst bets in baseball.
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