With less than two months left in the MLB regular season, four of the six division races remain competitive. Only the Cubs in the NL Central (12 games up) and Nationals in the NL East (8.5 games up) appear to have things wrapped up. This should make for an exciting stretch drive, as teams will badly want to avoid relegation to a one-game wild card "crapshoot" in the postseason.
With that in mind, a pair of clubs came up big last week to boost their chances at claiming a division title. The Mariners, who are chasing the Rangers in the AL West, and the AL Central-leading Indians went a combined 10-2 last week. It resulted in 8.7 units in profits to bettors.
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Below is a closer look at the best and worst bets in MLB for the previous week.
Hottest Bets in MLB (8/8 through 8/14)
Cleveland Indians (5-1,+4.7 Units)
The Tribe's big week provided some separation in the AL Central as they are now five games in front of the Tigers. The Indians last week split a pair at the Nationals--with their win coming as a +165 underdog--then swept four at home against the Angels all as a favorite.
The Indians got some unfortunate news this week when it was revealed All-Star outfielder Michel Brantley will have season-ending shoulder surgery. While Cleveland has certainly managed well without Brantley in the lineup this season, he would have been a huge boost for the stretch drive and postseason.
This week Cleveland hosts Boston for one game on Monday then hosts the White Sox and Blue Jays for three games each.
Seattle Mariners (5-1, +4.0 Units)
The Mariners have quietly won eight of nine and are just two games back of an AL Wild Card berth. Last week, Seattle swept three games at home from Detroit and took two of three from the A's in Oakland.
Playing a huge role in the Mariners surge has been outfielder Nelson Cruz (.284, 27 HR, 73 RBI). In six games last week, Cruz batted .435 with a 1.370 OPS. But it hasn't been just Cruz as the Mariners boast multiple weapons in the lineup. Robinson Cano (.294, 26 HR, 74 RBI) leads the club in batting average, while the top RBI man is emerging third-baseman Kyle Seager (.284, 22 HR, 77 RBI). That's the type of diversity any lineup would enjoy.
Next up for Seattle is a four-game set in Anaheim against the Angels followed by three games at home against the Brewers.
Other hot MLB bets : Philadelphia Phillies (4-2, +3.3 Units), New York Yankees (4-2, +2.9 Units); Kansas City Royals (4-2, +2.1 Units)
Coldest MLB Bets (8/8 thru 8/14)
Los Angeles Angels (0-6, -6.0 Units)
Things just keep getting uglier in this lost season for the Angels. Last week, Los Angeles was swept two games by the Cubs and four more by the Indians to extend its current losing streak to 10 games. That's the franchise's longest losing streak since 1999 (11 games).
While the Angels are middle-of-the-pack offensively, the pitching staff has been dreadful since the All-Star break. Its 4.95 ERA is the second-highest in the bigs, while the bullpen has more blown saves (4) than saves (3) the second half of the season. The wheels have definitely come off in Anaheim. Best to stay clear of the Halos.
The Angels will be home this week for four games against the Mariners followed by a three-game set against the Yankees.
Colorado Rockies (1-6, -5.3 Units)
After pulling into contention for an NL wild-card berth, the Rockies postseason chances took a huge hit last week. Colorado started by dropping three of four to the Rangers then followed with an ugly three-game sweep at the hands of the lowly Phillies over the weekend.
The Rockies had enjoyed much-improved pitching in the second half. It came to a crashing halt last week, as the bullpen endured four blown saves while posting an ERA of 6.00. Colorado also suffered a huge blow when it was revealed likely NL Rookie of the Year Trevor Story (.272, 27 HR, 72 RBI) was lost for the year because of an injured thumb.
Maybe next year, Colorado. The Rockies are home this week for three games against the Nationals followed by a three-game set against the Cubs.
Other cold MLB bets: New York Mets (2-4, -4.3 Units), Miami Marlins (2-4, -3.0 Units)
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