Weather has been a huge factor the first 12 weeks of the 2013 MLB betting campaign, with 32 games canceled due to inclement weather and countless others delayed, often for several hours.
But that rumbling noise you've been hearing from the north the past week or so isn't a huge line of thunderstorms advancing on the Lower 48. No, that's the Toronto Blue Jays finally roaring to life after a slow start to the season when they were picked by many to finally end a 20 year playoff drought.
Welcome to the wild, wild east, the AL East to be exact. A quick check of the standings entering Week 13 finds all five clubs playing above .500 ball and packed within five games of each other. Another quick check of the updated MLB futures odds also shows that now might be the time for those bettors who successfully shorted Toronto in the spring to jump back on the Blue Jays' bandwagon for their baseball picks.
The tightly-bunched standings for the division are reflected in the current MLB futures as all five teams from the AL East are grouped just behind the three frontrunners in the American League -- Detroit, Oakland and Texas. Boston rates fourth on the Junior Circuit betting charts at 7/1 to win the flag, followed by Baltimore and Toronto, each at 15/2, New York (9/1) and Tampa Bay (14/1).
Can Jays Continue Comeback In October?
If you recall, the Blue Jays were carrying the most chalk back in February when we first previewed this division, going off at 7/1 to win the World Series then and return to the postseason for the first time since 1993 with a bang. Along with the present 15/2 odds to win the AL, Toronto is now 16/1 to go all the way.
The Jays came out of the gate very slow, winning just 10 of their first 31 to sit dead last in the division on May 4, 10.5 games south of the lead. Pitching was a huge problem the first six weeks with a team ERA above 4.50, but that facet of the game has turned itself around with an MLB-best 2.21 ERA in the month of June. Mark Buehrle has rebounded from a bad beginning, and the return of Josh Johnson from the DL has also given the rotation a boost.
Red Sox Remain On Top Of Wide Open Division
John Farrell and Boston (14/1 to win WS) deserve credit for a fine season up to now, but chinks are beginning to appear in the armor, specifically on the mound. Jon Lester has come back down to earth with an 8.44 ERA in his first four starts of June and Clay Buchholz's 9-0 start to the campaign has been derailed by a trip to the DL which could last another 2-3 weeks.
The good news is there's plenty of offense in Beantown and the Sox are 20-14 against AL East foes, the best division record of the bunch.
Baltimore (16/1 to win WS) also has plenty of offense thanks to an MLB-best 104 home runs. The O's, however, are near the bottom of several pitching categories and, outside of Chris Tillman, Buck Showalter has been unable to find five arms to consistently man his rotation.
It has been the opposite for Joe Girardi in New York (20/1 to win WS) where pitching has held up pretty well but the offense has been mediocre. Considering all of the injuries the Yanks have had to overcome on the offensive side, that was to be expected. Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson are back on the DL for a second time this year, while Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have yet to appear on the field.
Tampa Bay (25/1 to win WS) currently brings up the rear of the AL East despite owning a 39-37 mark which would place second in two other divisions. Pitching has been a big problem for Joe Maddon's squad, and it doesn't help that his most consistent starter, Alex Cobb, is now on the DL after taking a liner off his head a little more than a week ago. The Rays will need both Matt Moore and Jeremy Hellickson to step things up in the rotation, along with Fernando Rodney to rediscover his mojo at the back of the bullpen.
Check back all week as we continue to update MLB futures odds here at SBR. Next on the slate are the two Central Divisions this Wednesday.