It has been an interesting start to the second half of the MLB season as every divisional race has tightened since the All-Star break. The Giants and Rangers, leaders of the N.L and A.L West divisions, respectively, have been at the forefront of this trend. Each has nosedived since the Mid-Summer Classic, earning them spots on this week's list of the coldest bets in baseball.
As the top teams falter, a trio of sub-.500 clubs has taken over as the hottest bets in MLB. The A's, Rockies and Angels have gone a combined 20-9 while posting 12.3 units in profits. Of the three, the hard-hitting Rockies would seem the most capable of keeping the run going.
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Below are the best and worst bets in baseball since the All-Star break.
Oakland A's (7-3, +5.5 Units)
Season: 45-54, -6.7 Units
Since the break, Oakland has taken two of three from both the Astros and Blue Jays and won three of four from the Rays. Incredibly, three of those wins were of the walk-off variety, and a fourth came when pushing the winning run across in the eighth inning.
A big reason for Oakland's success has been the improved pitching. The staff, which has the league's fifth-highest ERA (4.61) for the season, has posted a 3.61 ERA since the break.
Next up for the A's are three games in Texas against the Rangers followed by a quick two-game set in Cleveland against the Indians.
Colorado Rockies (7-3, +3.7 Units)
Season: 47-51, -1.9 Units
Playing the putrid Braves is a great way to pad the bankroll, and that's been the case Rockies since the All-Star break. Colorado opened the second half by taking two of three from Atlanta, then this past weekend they swept a four-game set from Atlanta in the Mile High City.
Leading the Rockies charge has been Trevor Story. The rookie shortstop has blasted six home runs since the break to give him a league-leading 27 on the season.
This has been a nice run by Colorado, but the waters figure to get deeper this week with a seven-game road trip. The Rockies play three against the A.L East-leading Orioles followed by a four-game set against the Mets.
Los Angeles Angels (6-3, +3.0 Units)
Season: 43-55, -12.1 Units
The Angels swept three-game sets from both the White Sox and Rangers in Anaheim to open the second half then themselves were swept for three games by the Astros in Houston.
A resurgent Albert Pujols (.249, 19 HR, 72 RBI) had a pair of two-home run games last week to lead an improved Angels attack. Since the All-Star break, the Halos rank third in the A.L in both runs scored (5.1 per game) and batting average (.264). The pitching has also been better, but it figures to be a concern moving forward given the rash of injuries. Starters Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney have suffered elbow tears and are likely out for the season.
Next up for the Angels is a three-game set in Kansas City followed by four at home against the Red Sox.
Other hot MLB teams: Baltimore Orioles (6-4, +2.4 Units), Houston Astros (6-3, +1.8 Units), Boston Red Sox (6-3, +1.5 Units)
San Francisco Giants (1-7, -9.5 Units)
Season: 58-40, +8.4 Units
The Giants lead over the Dodgers has been cut to three games following a brutal start to the second half. San Francisco was swept three games by the Padres, lost both games of a two-game set in Boston then lost two of three against the Yankees over the weekend.
The Giants have scored the second-fewest runs in the N.L since the All-Star break (2.9 per game) and have the league's third-worst ERA (4.96). That's the bad news. The good news is San Francisco is too talented for this to be much more than just a cold spell.
The Giants return to the friendly confines of AT&T Park this week for three games against Cincinnati followed by a four-game set against the Nationals.
Atlanta Braves (2-8, -5.2 Units)
Season: 33-66, -14.7 Units
Following an atrocious first half, things have actually gotten worse in Atlanta. The Braves 2-8 mark since the break has come exclusively against sub-.500 teams (Rockies, Reds). Atlanta has posted the highest ERA in the N.L in the second half (5.55) and posted the fewest runs (2.8 per game).
To add injury to insult, the team's lone bright spot--All-Star starter Julio Teheran--left his last start with an upper body injury and he could miss time.
The Braves continue their string of opponents with losing records this week as they play two in Minnesota followed by a four-game set against the Phillies at Turner Field.
Chicago White Sox (3-7, -4.7 Units)
Season: 48-50, -5.1 Units
The White Sox fast start had them as one of the best bets in baseball through the first two months of the season. That ship has long since sailed, and reports now are the struggling South Siders, with assets such as Chris Sale and Todd Frazier, are likely to be sellers in the trade market. For bettors, it's hard to foresee much good coming from the White Sox moving forward.
Next up for Chicago is four-game set against the Cubs--two at Wrigley and two at U.S. Cellular--followed by a three-game set in Minnesota.
Other cold MLB bets: Philadelphia Phillies (3-7, -2.9 Units), Kansas City Royals (3-6, -2.8 Units), Texas Rangers (3-6, -2.7 Units).
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