The marathon MLB regular season is now down to a sprint. Just three weeks remain in the months-long battle for a coveted playoff berth, and things are tight.
As things stand entering Monday's action, the AL East would send three teams to the playoffs. The Red Sox lead the division by two games over both the Blue Jays and Orioles, who are up two games on both the Yankees and Tigers in the wild-card chase.
In the NL, it's down to a three-team fight for the wild cards. The Giants, who aided their chances with a three-game sweep of the Rockies over the weekend, hold a 1.5-game lead over the Mets for the first wild card. New York, in turn, is up a half game on the Cardinals for the second wild card.
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While both New York clubs provided big boosts to their playoff chances last week, they also provided plenty of profit to bettors. The Yankees churned out +5.9 units in winnings with its 6-1 mark, while the Mets went 5-1 to provide +3.9 units in profit.
That's where we'll begin this week's look at the hottest and coldest bets in MLB.
Hottest MLB Bets (9/5 through 9/11)
New York Yankees (6-1, +5.9 Units)
Gaby Sanchez and the Baby Bombers have electrified the Bronx the past few weeks. Their rather remarkable run to contention continued with a three-game sweep of the Blue Jays followed by taking three of four from the Rays.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, their remaining schedule is as tough as it gets. Upcoming opponents include the first-place Dodgers, first-place Red Sox and the wild card-leading Blue Jays and Orioles. It's certainly been an exciting run for the Yankees, who have improved to the sixth-best bet in baseball at +6.7 Units for the season. But the playoff surge looks likely to come up short.
Seattle Mariners (6-1, +4.4 Units)
The Mariners have been a streaky team all season. It seems every run of success is promptly followed by a 1-5 or 2-6 stretch, which has helped leave them 3.5 games off the wild card pace. Alas, the Mariners remained on the periphery of playoff contention with one of their big weeks that included taking three of four from the first-place Rangers and sweeping a three-game set in Oakland.
The M's have been mashing the ball lately. Their 35 runs scored against the Rangers was the most in a four-game series in Safeco Park history, which dates to 1999. Seattle also had six straight games with at least two home runs.
The Mariners have boasted a potent lineup all season, and now the pitching staff has also gotten its act together. Felix Hernandez is again pitching like an ace, and Hisashi Iwakuma just picked up his 15th win of the season.
Next up for the Mariners is a three-game set against the Angeles in Anaheim followed by three games against the Astros at Safeco Field.
Other hot MLB bets: Washington Nationals (6-1, +4.1 Units), New York Mets (5-1, +3.9 Units),
Milwaukee Brewers (4-3, +3.3 Units)
Coldest MLB Bets
Toronto Blue Jays (1-5, -5.8 Units)
The Blue Jays have picked a bad time to hit the skids. After leading the division much of the season, they are now clinging to a wild card after being swept on the road by the Yankees and then losing two of three to the Red Sox at Rogers Centre. All but one of those losses came as the favorite.
It's largely been the pitching that has let the Blue Jays down of late. Last week, Toronto posted an unacceptable 5.85 team ERA. Despite the recent troubles, look for the Blue Jays to get back on track. They still boast one of the top starting rotations in all of baseball, and the bullpen has been productive enough. It's also a plus that Toronto gained valuable experience playing meaningful late-season games a year ago.
This week the Blue Jays have a chance to make some hay. They open the week hosting the last-place Rays for three games then travel to Anaheim for a three-game set against the Angels (63-79).
Other cold MLB bets: Arizona Diamondbacks (0-6, -5.9 Units), Pittsburgh Pirates (2-5, -4.8 Units)
Oakland A's (2-4, -2.3 Units)
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