Expert MLB Betting Picks: Division Winner Props
I'm about to look at Major League Baseball division winner prop bets, but before I do I have to get a rant off my chest. The American League just sucks this year. Don't get me wrong, the teams are great at the top and one of the teams is very likely to win the World Series. It's not the quality of the teams or the play on the field. It's that it is barely past the middle of June and there is no drama left in the division. The Indians aren't particularly good right now, but they are running away from a truly awful division anyway. The Red Sox and Yankees are in a serious battle, and the Astros and Mariners are in one, too, but both teams that lose those races are very, very likely to be in the playoffs anyway. The summer and the fall are supposed to be about pennant races and excitement and drama and tension, but the AL will very likely offer none of those things. It's like they aren't living up to their unspoken contracts to us as fans.
But enough complaining. The races are at least a little more interesting in the NL, and there are odds, so there is some fun to be had. And let's have it. (Odds to win the division are from Bovada ):
The Yankees have a two-game lead and are favored at -220 compared to Boston at +140. New York is a little younger, and I don't trust their rotation quite as much - though they probably are more likely to add more than Boston is if needed - so I would be willing to gamble on the Red Sox at this price. It would just be for action over value, though.
Cleveland is favored at -1500. It may as well be -15000000. They have a five-game lead, they have turned a corner after a really rough start, and they are the only team in the division that has any real upside. They are just 16-20 on the road, so they have a lot of work left to do, but it would be a world-class shock if they didn't win it at this point.
Houston is at -450 with their current 3.5-game lead, and Seattle is second at +333. As happy as the surprising resurgence of the Mariners makes the 12-year-old version of me, this price feels just fine. Houston is a very good team in full stride finally. Seattle is playing very well and would have to collapse to miss a wild card spot, but they would need even more of a miracle than this season has already been to catch up to Houston.
Washington is at -200, with Atlanta at +230 and Philadelphia at +700. Right now Atlanta has a 3.5-game lead over the other two teams, which are tied. That's bizarre, but I am willing to gamble on the Braves. Washington is a game below .500 at home, Bryce Harper isn't playing great and his status is going to be a distraction going forward, and the rotation isn't quite as reliable as it could be - still very good but not quite as elite as it could be. Atlanta is indicating that they aren't interested in waiting until next year, and GM Alex Anthopoulos showed in Toronto that he is both fearless and savvy in these situations. This will be a fun rooting interest if nothing else - and if Atlanta was a stock I would be buying them aggressively.
The Cubs are at -160 with Milwaukee at +165. The two teams are essentially tied, but Chicago is on the upward trend, and they are the deeper and more talented team. I have struggled to believe in the Brewers all year, so now that they have been caught I don't think they have enough fight in them to win here. There is some value in the Cubs.
This is the tightest race, with the Dodgers at +135 and the Diamondbacks at +150. I have very little interest in betting on the race, though, for one big reason - I don't like or trust either team. The Diamondbacks have a two-game lead and a strong offense, but the rotation isn't deep enough. And the Dodgers have gotten healthier and hotter, but I still don't trust the team mentally any more than I have over the last few years - and that's not much. This is a total coin flip. The good news, though, is that I don't really see the Rockies or Giants getting back into this race, so if you are into small-but-relatively-safe returns then you could bet both of these teams and make a small profit no matter what. It's not much, but how often do you get to make a sure profit betting on a coin flip?
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