The Major League Baseball season isn't even half over yet. All-star voting is still open. Yet, for several teams the season is already over. Heck, for some teams the season was over in April. It has to be soul crushing for both players and fans to be playing out the string as the summer is just getting started. For bettors, though, these teams can present an opportunity. They are forgotten by the public, so if they can be better than their record suggests down the stretch - or even worse than people think they are - then they can provide some nice betting value.
So, let's check in on these no-hopers and what their futures look like:
Minnesota Twins (25-51): The Twins are a total and utter mess. They have the worst record in baseball. They are the worst betting team by a wide margin. They have scored the fewest runs in the American League. They have allowed the most runs in the AL, too. They are just horrible. Their young players are struggling. Their old guys mostly look old. Eduardo Nunez is having a nice season, but that is pretty much the whole list. On the other hand, Ervin Santana and Ricky Nolasco are making just short of $20 million combined this year and are a combined 5-12. There isn't a guy on the roster that will have real value at the deadline outside perhaps of a couple of guys in the bullpen. This is a lost organization, and the path to respectability is far from clear. They are going to be attractive many more times this season from a betting perspective - to bet against.
L.A. Angels (32-46): It's just pathetic that this team is here. Remember just a couple of years ago when they were really aggressive in free agency and seemed ready to explode? And they have Mike freaking Trout!!! Yet here they sit, 19 games out of first in their division and totally irrelevant. Jared Weaver is totally ordinary. Garrett Richards was the only pitcher who was pitching well, and now he is on the 60-day DL with elbow problems - an injury that never ends well. There are some decent bats doing decent things offensively - and that is a big part of the issue here. The offense could be better but isn't dramatically underperforming, yet here they are. There isn't a whole lot of reason for optimism on this front. I'm not as negative about this team as I am Minnesota - how could anyone be? - but it is not going to be a great year going forward. They are too broken - mentally as much as anything. They are the second-worst betting team behind the Twins, and that could easily continue down the stretch. There are going to be plenty of opportunities to bet against them.
Atlanta Braves (26-51): If possible, I am actually pleasantly surprised by the Braves - I thought they would be a fair bit worse than they are. That's saying something since they have the second-worst record in baseball. They have scored the fewest runs in all of baseball, and that's no fluke. Freddie Freeman is their runaway offensive leader while having a season that pretty much exactly mirrors his fine-but-unspectacular career numbers. They are ridiculously young and only getting younger as they keep bringing guys up from the minors to try them out. They are only barely fielding a major league roster, yet they have won more than a third of their games. That is an accomplishment worth applauding on some level. I don't have much issue with what they are doing - they are committing to a slow rebuild and are doing a decent job of it. It could be worse -- they could be Minnesota. In an interesting twist, though, they have actually been quite profitable to bet on when they are on the road, where their 15-20 record looks positively dominant next to their 11-31 at home. Situationally, then, this is a team that could be as easy to bet on as to bet against.
Cincinnati Reds (29-50): The Reds have allowed 466 runs so far this year. That's 5.9 per game and 49 more runs in 79 games than the second-worst Rockies have given up. This is an impossibly-bad defensive team. They have 12 pitchers who have started multiple games this year. Twelve! In 79 games! That alone is an incredible accomplishment. They just can't pitch, and it's not going to change. The rotation is horrible. The bullpen is worse. Bet against. With glee.
Philadelphia Phillies (34-45): The thing to remember here is that they are far worse than their record. They were, somehow and incomprehensibly, 26-21 on May 27. That means that they have gone 8-24 since. The latter is closer to representative than the former. Bettors who backed them made a lot early and have given most of it back. They are going to be a disaster down the stretch. Bet against. Repeatedly.
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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