In the middle of June in the AL Central, nobody saw this coming: we have a new leader in the division! Those making MLB picks should be profiting hugely with the new top dog.
In addition, using ones sports picks to bet against the former division leader has also yielded profits. Let’s break down all five squads in the AL Central and see where they might be headed.
Kansas City Royals
There are two kinds of hot right now, the sun’s surface and the Royals. Kansas City has won 10 in a row (+11.05 units), and done so in a manner even baseball handicappers have to be enormously impressed. The Royals average margin of victory has been 3.9 runs a win and in just these games, they have gone from -19 in run differential to +20 for the year: truly remarkable.
The Kansas City pitching has been there all year, but the offense has been scalding hot, scoring a sensational 6.9 runs per contest. Nobody working the betting odds could possibly expect this offensive outburst to continue, but if K.C. could settle into 4.2 to 4.5 range consistently, with their overall pitching, they could be hard to handle. The Royals return home to face Seattle and both L.A. teams, who have a combined 56 percent road record this season, making this a tough test.
The Tigers have tumbled out of first place thanks to a 5-11 record this month. If you have been using your sportsbooks and wagering against Detroit, you have picked up a tidy 10.35 units. While the offense has not been as steady as in the past, the pitching has been much worse, and has fallen from No. 4 in ERA, all the way to No. 8 in the AL in a short time. First year manager Brad Ausmus has been feeling the frustration with some of his recent comments. What has to be really bugging Ausmus is wondering what happened to his starting pitching.
The bullpen realistically is not very good, but if each reliever can stay in a particular role, Detroit improves. But every starting pitcher, particularly Justin Verlander, has been rocked which has thrown off the staff’s fragile chemistry. After losing three straight at home by Kansas City, the Tigers hit the road to Cleveland, and two stops in the Lone Star State in search of victories.
If there is a team setup to be .500 this season, it is Cleveland, yet those pouring over the daily MLB odds can find a way to fill up their wagering accounts nicely following the Indians. Cleveland is 22-12 (+7.1) at Progressive Field, and has a big weekend series with slumping Detroit, and could move into second place with a sweep of the Tigers.
The Tribe need to do no worse than win the series since they have an eight-game road trip up next and away from home they are hemorrhaging money with a 14-24 record (-9.1). It’s never easy to understand why teams some years have such home/road dichotomies, but if you bet baseball, you just ride the tide and play Cleveland appropriately.
Chicago White Sox
The White Sox have been a solid MLB wager all year, and have not shown a demonstrative weakness home or away this season, with profits in both places. The return of Chris Sale does help, yet the rest of the Pale Hose starting pitchers have done more than their fair share to help them have the worst ERA in this category in the American League, and be only marginally better in OBP and OPS.
Chicago has been an underdog in 75 percent of their games, and is up +3.6 units. For parlay consideration, taking the South Siders as dogs and the 'over' is not a bad strategy, as they are 31-22 'over' in that role. Chicago figures to be in this role a lot, embarking on an 11-game road trip to Minnesota, Baltimore and Toronto.
The Minnesota offense has gone the way of the frozen food section at the grocery store: ice cold. They have scored three runs or less in five of their past six contests, and as we predicted here at SBR, the offense has plummeted from a season-high of 4.8 RPG to 4.2. The Twins are still showing a profit (+3.7), cashing in particularly as underdogs for 6.6 units. You have to wonder with a dwindling offense and listed as a pooch 85 percent of the time, can Minnesota continue to thrive in this characterization or does the lack of overall talent fail over 162 games?
The Twinkies will have a chance to bust out on offense facing the White Sox four times this weekend, before hitting the bricks to face the Angels and Rangers, mostly as underdogs.