This week's look at the hottest and coldest bets in Major League Baseball includes a couple of teams with high expectations entering the season that have instead have been a drain on bankrolls as well as two teams from the American League that continued to exceed expectations with another profitable seven days. Let's get started.
Best MLB Bets
Season to Date
Washington Nationals (14-4, +8.4 Units)
Chicago White Sox (13-6, +6.9 Units)
Baltimore Orioles (11-6, +6.5 Units)
Kansas City Royals (12-6, +5.9 Units)
Chicago Cubs (14-5, +5.6 Units)
Week of 4/18 through 4/24
Chicago White Sox (5-2, +4.0 Units)
Oakland A's (4-2, +3.3 Units)
Washington Nationals (5-2, +3.2 Units)
Arizona Diamondbacks (5-2, +2.6 Units)
New York Mets (5-1, +2.5 Units)
White Sox- The South Siders boast MLB's third-best record and are the second-best bet in baseball following a strong week. After splitting four with the Angels, Chicago outscored the Rangers 13-4 in a three-game weekend sweep. Mat Latos (4-0, 0.74 ERA) is an early candidate for Comeback Player of the Year with his monster start to the season, while ace Chris Sale (4-0, 1.80 ERA) has been his usual dominant self. Closer David Robertson has also been lights out (7 SV, 1.08 ERA).
Chicago ranks near the bottom of the league in runs scored (3.2 RPG), but with the pitching they're getting it hasn't mattered. Next up for the White Sox is a brutal seven-game road trip that includes three in Toronto and a four-game set at first-place Baltimore.
A's- Those pesky A's (10-9) are in a tie atop the N.L. West following a strong week that included a three-game sweep of the Yankees, all as an underdog. Led by ace Sonny Gray (3-1, 2.73 ERA), A's starters have tossed 10 quality starts and the entire staff has the league's sixth-lowest ERA (3.30).
Of course, the low-payroll A's will usually struggle to score runs, and that's been the case this season. They are averaging just 3.5 runs per game, which ranks 22nd in MLB. That has led Oakland to actually having a negative scoring margin (3.5 to 3.7) despite an over-.500 record.
Next up for the A's is a four-game set in Detroit followed by a three-game series at home against Houston.
Nationals- Washington (14-4) continued its MLB-best start to the season with a 5-2 week that included a split of four in Miami followed by a three-game sweep of the Twins at home. The Nationals boast the league's lowest ERA (2.24), not to mention the most dynamic player in baseball in Bryce Harper (.323, 9 HR, 23 RBIs). Additionally, free agent signee Daniel Murphy (.397, 2 HR, 9RBIs) has continued his hot-hitting from last year's postseason while with the Mets.
After a couple seasons of major disappointment, it appears the Nationals have finally matured into the type of dominant team many baseball observers had expected the past couple of seasons.
Next up for the Nationals is three games at home against the Phillies followed by a three-game trip to St. Louis.
Worst MLB Bets
Season to Date
Houston Astros (6-13, -10.0 Units)
Minnesota Twins (5-14, -9.6 Units)
Atlanta Braves (4-14, -7.8 Units)
Miami Marlins (6-11, -5.8 Units)
New York Yankees (7-10. -4.8 Units)
Week of 4/18 through 4/24
Houston Astros (1-5, -5.2 Units)
Detroit Tigers (1-5, -3.8 Units)
New York Yankees (2-4, -3.6 Units)
San Francisco Giants (2-5, -3.2 Units)
Atlanta Braves (1-5, -3.1 Units)
Astros -It was another rough week for 'Stros, who at -10.0 units has been the worst bet in baseball this season. Last week they were swept by the division-rival Rangers and then dropped two of three over at home to the Red Sox. All the worst, four of the five losses came as a favorite. Much is expected of the Astros this season, but outside of Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, the starting pitching is a legitimate concern. As a staff, Houston has posted the league's fifth-worst ERA (4.85).
Next up for the Astros is a six-game road trip starting with three in Seattle and three in Oakland over the weekend.
Tigers- Detroit (8-9) was one of the better bets in baseball through the first two weeks, but that took a dramatic shift with a 1-5 stretch that dropped them to -0.4 Units on the year. They dropped two of three at Kansas City and then were swept three games at home by the Indians.
The Tigers rank just 18th in runs scored and the pitching staff ranks in the bottom half of the league with a 4.05 ERA. Erase Jordan Zimmerman's (3-0, 0.00 ERA) 19 1/3 scoreless innings on the season and it would be much higher. The positive is the Tigers have a potentially potent lineup that figures to up its run production at some point
Next up for Detroit is a four-game set at home against Oakland followed by three games in Minnesota.
Yankees- New York was a beaten favorite four times last week, which includes all three games when being swept by Oakland. That dropped the Yankees (7-10) to -4.8 Units for the season. New York ranks 22nd in runs scored (3.9 per game) and ranks in the bottom half of the league with a 4.32 ERA. Still, the Yankees do boast a virtually unhittable back-end of the bullpen (Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller) and Masahiro Tanaka (2.92 ERA, 2 QS) has been excellent. A turnaround at some point would not be a surprise.
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