Having started covering baseball back in early March, I still cannot believe we are this point of the year following the betting odds and still going toe to toe with the sportsbooks.
While I have a great love for football and the other sports as a professional handicapper, there is something intoxicating about the rhythm of daily making MLB picks.
On that subject matter, the playoff push has begun and here is a look at all the contenders and what lies ahead for them that could either enhance or deflate their postseason chances.
AL East Wagering Outlook
The New York Yankees would appear to have the edge in the division because they can hit home runs, have a very good bullpen and just enough starting pitching to outlast their competitors. The Yankees are 35-21 at home but they have generated only a small profit due to inflated MLB odds, which is always going to be the case when this team is in first place and playing at home. New York is seemingly in a good stretch playing 20 of 26 at Yankee Stadium, where they control their destiny.
Toronto had their chances to take over first place but lost a home series to the Yanks. The Blue Jays have gotten better overall pitching lately (up from 12th in ERA to 7th in AL) and we know about the runs they can score. Beginning on Aug. 18th, Toronto has to play twice as many road games as home games (18 vs.9) over the next month and has to improve on one-run outcomes (12-24).
Baltimore's up and down nature this season makes them a tough choice most nights for sports picks, let alone making the playoffs. After Minnesota this upcoming weekend, the Birds are at Kansas City, Texas, Toronto and the Yankees with a home series with Tampa Bay in the middle. Rugged stretch for the O's.
AL Central Wagering Outlook
Both Minnesota and Detroit are headed south and unless they close the season like the 2007 Colorado Rockies, they are just playing to finish .500 and remain in the discussion about the playoffs.
For Kansas City it might be easy to finish the season properly, with the division all but wrapped up, a significant lead for the best record in the AL, while still having roughly a quarter of the season to go. Other than six games with Baltimore, the remainder of the season is very light, which should lead to big money lines on the Royals.
Must Read: Do Hard Throwing Teams Have an Advantage?
AL West Wagering Outlook
Good luck trying to figure out this mess! After playing like road warriors to begin the season at 12-3, Houston is 12-32 in away games since. Beginning Aug.24th, the Astros will be away from home for 16 of their next 22 conflicts. Houston will have to rely on their pitching, which has been solid all year and hope they can put together enough offense.
The underachieving L.A. Angels are 24-34 when not in Anaheim which includes dropping 11 of their last 12 in road uniforms. Oddsmakers like those at Heritage Sports are dialed into the Halos and they are a disgusting (depending on what side the wager you are on) 13-30 as underdogs. We will know what to think about the Angels after they travel to Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland starting on the 25th.
Texas got back in the chase by playing better at home and as this article was posted, they were on a 12-2 run in Arlington. The Rangers are the best away squad in the AL at 33-28 (+20 units) and now with Cole Hamels and Derek Holland in the mix, they could really get hot and steal this division with a more favorable slate remaining.