MLB Picks: Top Underdog Teams, Will They Last?

Doug Upstone

Thursday, May 14, 2015 9:50 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 14, 2015 9:50 PM UTC

One of the problems with wagering on underdogs against the betting odds is the mental aspect of not having a very good record over a long major league baseball season which can take its toll.

Everybody likes to win but much a batter or even a horse player, the amount of success cannot be calculated in simple terms like wins and losses. Being a MLB baseball handicapper to bet non-favorites almost exclusively takes a different mindset and if you end up .500, chances are you will enjoy a very profitable season against the sportsbooks with your MLB picks.

We are about at the 1/5 point of the baseball season, here is look into the best underdog teams in baseball and what their chances of maintaining these results.


Astonishing Astros Flying High as Underdogs
Until Yu Darvish was lost for the season, Houston was predicted to once again to finish in the basement of the AL West. Their pitching was no good, too many wasted at bats with strikeouts and too much youth at different positions.

Astros players ignored the so-called experts and believed they were more than good enough to compete. Starters Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel took off from how they finished last year, the remade bullpen has gone from last in ERA in the American League to second and leadoff man Jose Altuve is the table-setter for the offense.

For MLB picks, there is not better live underdog than Houston who is 14-7, +9.5 units. Can the Astros keep up this wicked pace? Being in first place in the division is going to mean fewer chances of an underdog role as the MLB odds will have them flipped more often to favorites if they keep playing like this.

The Astros starting pitching beyond McHugh and Keuchel is below average and it impossible to believe Houston will win 12 of their next 14 starts like they have the first double baker’s dozen. As underdogs, Houston will win their share when the offense heats up, otherwise, just a 50-50 bet.


Kansas City is No Dog to Sleep On
There can be an assumption all oddsmakers are brilliant and have every edge imaginable. The fact is they are human and be wrong just like the rest of us. Current case in point is the current AL champion Kansas City Royals, who are in first place in their division. Most every sportsbook had the Royals a .500 team or worse this season (myself included) and ignored the fact nearly every key everyday player was returning, with most in or rising towards the prime years of their career. While bullpens can change from year to year by results, basically the same cast returned for 2015 and all were proven commodities.

Despite the World Series appearance, Kansas City has been an underdog just over 40 percent of the time, though the division was thought to be very competitive coming into the season. The Royals have flourished as a pooch at places like WagerWeb with a 10-5 mark and picking up +6.9 units.

Given their lofty status they have earned, Kansas City will have fewer underdog roles as the season marches if they continue to play like this and avoid injuries and they have to be considered a play in all underdog assignments.


Minnesota a Confounding Underdog
A legitimate case can be made that Minnesota is nearly as big a stunner as Houston. The Twins were widely regarded as the worst squad in the AL before the season and for them to be above .500 is remarkable.

To illustrate this point, Minnesota has only been favored six times in their first 35 contests. The Twins have often good-sized dogs and which is why they are up +5 units in spite of a 15-14 record.

First-year manager Paul Molitor has handled the pitching staff well to this juncture and the bullpen has not been the negative it was last year. The offense has been effective with Torii Hunter returning, but can you really expect a 39-year player to be your lead dog? I would imagine the Twins will be modestly profitable close to where they are now for units, having good and bad periods over the next month.

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