The Chicago Cubs made history last season but now the Baby Bears, the San Francisco Giants and the New York Mets are all sub-.500 in the National league as we enjoy the 2017 MLB All-Star Break and prepare for the start of the Second Half on Friday.
Looking at the First Half of the 2017 Major League Baseball Regular Season we find that the vast majority of money won and lost came in the National League, where eight of the top 10 overall unit winners and losers sit as we begin the Second Half of play on Friday with a full slate of 15 games. Let’s look at three MLB teams who have really surprised—the Arizona Diamondbacks, Milwaukee Brewers and Houston Astros—and three clubs which have totally disappointed so far—the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs, New York Mets and San Francisco Giants—as we embark on the last 73 or so games of the Regular Season and make a Futures Book team pick and a pair of NL Players’ Awards’ picks before Football occludes the sports betting landscape.Surprise—Arizona Diamondbacks
Paul Goldschmidt (.+198 to win NL MVP, 5Dimes) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (16/1 to win World Series, Intertops) have been the fourth most profitable MLB team on which to bet at this point (+15.3 units) and with 33-15 Record at Home at Chase Field in Phoenix, a +102 Run Differential (446 RF-344 RA) and a newfound fire under new Manager Torey Lovullo, the Snakes have been a nice surprise and are a team to watch from this point on. One problem? Arizona (6/1 to win NL, Bovada) plays in the upstart NL West where Clayton Kershaw (-140 to win Cy Young, 5Dimes) and super-Rookie Cody Bellinger (18/1 to win NL MVP, 5Dimes) have led Los Angeles (+18.8 units, #2 MLB) to a sparkly 61-29 Record at the All-Star Break—the best mark in the Bigs. Zack Greinke (11 Wins, 2.86 ERA), Robbie Ray (141 Ks) and the Diamondbacks—who head to Atlanta on Friday to face the Braves—are 10/1 to win the NL West (William Hill).
Eric Thames (23 HRs) and the Milwaukee Brewers (40/1 to win World Series, Sportsbetting.ag) have quietly become the 3rd-best team on which to make money betting on in the first half of the MLB Regular Season (+17.4 units) thanks to a nice combination of Power (451 Runs, #6 MLB) and Speed (0.82 Stolen Bases per Game) and with the other four teams in the NL Central all floundering under the .500 mark, maybe now is a good time to get down on some Milwaukee Futures bets. Travis Shaw (.299, 19 HRs) and The Brew Crew are priced at 12/1 to win the NL (Bovada) and at 21/10 to win the NL Central (Bet365). And with the defending world champion Cubs (43-45) struggling so much, taking Matt Garza (10-1 lifetime vs. Orioles) and Milwaukee now to win this decision at these still better than 2-to-1 odds is advised.
The starting lineup for the American League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night looked like the Houston Astros (5/1 to win World Series, BetOnline) had puked onto the scorecard, with Jose Altuve (.347, +750 to win AL MVP, 5Dimes) leading off and playing 2B, normal Houston leadoff guy George Springer (27 HRs) batting cleanup and with Carlos Correa (65 RBI; +1,025 to win AL MVP, 5Dimes) at SS and batting 5th for the Junior Circuit, which ended up winning 2-1 at Marlins Park in Miami thanks to a A-S Game MVP Robinson Cano solo HR in extra innings.
Houston (+225 to win AL, Bovada) has the biggest lead of any team in any division (16½ games over LAA and TEX), the best Record in the AL (60-29) and Lance McCullers and the Astros (33-11 Road) have been the most profitable team on which to wager on in MLB (+20.5 units). These definitely aren’t your father’s Houston Astros who have gotten out to a record-setting pace and. Besides the oft-named studs, Houston also has guys like veteran Carlos Beltrán, Josh Reddick, Alex Bregman, Evan Gattis, Brian McCann, Yulieski Gourriel (.297/11/44) and Marwin Gonzalez (.308/16/53). Houston is loaded. The Astors rank #1 in MLB in Batting Average (.289), Runs (527), On Base Percentage (.355) and Slugging Percentage (.500).
Kris Bryant and the Cubs (-21.1 Units, 3rd worst in MLB) may have exorcised the demons at The Friendly Confines at Wrigley Field, but Addison Russell (.226) and Chicago (43-45) look like a shell of the team we saw dominate in 2016. We’ve seen Joe Maddon and Chicago (+835 to win World Series, BookMaker) embark on their first winless Road Trip of at least 6 games since Aug. 3-8, 2012 (at LA and SD), getting outscored 31-9 in the process and heading back to The Windy City with their royal blue tails tucked between their little-bear legs. No Cubs made the 2017 All-Star team and leadoff man experiment Kyle Schwarber (MLB-worst .178 Batting Average) was sent down to Triple-A before returning to Chicago’s North Side this past weekend where he homered against the Pirates.
We can all blame the retirement of David Ross or losing ladoff sparkplug Dexter Fowler (Cardinals), but this lovable Senior Circuit team (0 Run Differential)—which was 35-15 entering June in 2016 with a +128 Run Differential—just isn’t Scoring Runs (399 RF-399 RA) as we wrote about here last month at Sportsbook Review and as Manager Maddon has copped to. And in a season where Home Runs are being hit at a record pace to boot. You can’t win if you can’t score. Anthony Rizzo and Chicago (1/2 to win NL Central, Bet365) will be in Baltimore on Friday to face the Orioles in Game 1 of a 3-game Interleague series and on the struggling Cubs (+333 to win NL, Bovada) desperately need to start the Second Half of on the right foot.
Disappointment—New York Mets
The Mets (-21.1 Units, 3rd worst in MLB) Pitching Staff seems to have hamstrung this NL East team two seasons straight, with Injuries to Noah Syndergaard (Shoulder), Matt Harvey (Shoulder) and Closer Jeurys Familia (shoulder) along with Neil Walker (Leg), veteran David Wright (Shoulder) and others making the Second Half seem almost futile for New York NL (39-47). Yoenis Céspedes and the Mets have a pathetic 19-24 mark at Home at Citi Field in Flushing Meadows and with Manager Terry Collins having seen this movie before and ill-equipped to deal with Bryce Harper (.325), fading this team may be a good idea. The Metropolitans (15.4 units, 5th-worst MLB) have received no spark whatsoever from guys like José Reyes (.215 BA, 2nd worst MLB) and leadoff man Curtis Granderson (.232) and their -49 Run Differential (406 RF-4556 RA) is the 4th-worst in the NL—worse than perceived Rats, the Braves (-44) and the Reds (-39). This team sucks. Jacob deGrom gets the pill on Friday when the Mets welcome the Rockies to The Empire State for the start of a 3-game series.
Disappointment—San Francisco Giants
The Giants (-24.9 Units, worst in MLB) gained a reputation for winning World Series’ in even-numbered years (2010, 2012, 2014) but there won’t be champagne flowing in The City By The Bay this season with All-Star Buster Posey (.324/10/35 RBI) and San Francisco (34-56) having the 2nd-worst Record in the NL and suddenly finding themselves in the toughest division in MLB (the NL West) where Los Doyers, Los Diamondbacks and Los Rocosos (+13.9 units, #5 MLB) have been all playing great and where Los Padres (36-50)—whom Frisco pays a visit to on Friday for Game 1 of a 3-game NL West series—actually have a better Record than Los Gigantes at the All-Star Break.
So what’s gone wrong? What’s gone right would probably be a better question in the case of the 2017 Giants. Southpaw ace Madison Bumgarner is hurt, this team is 17-24 at Home and their Offense has been abysmal, ranking last in MLB in Slugging Percentage (.374) and second-to-last in both Runs (354) and On Base Percentage (.303). At 27 GB Los Angeles (+18.8 units), maybe it’s time to punt for Manager Bruce Bochy and this surprisingly weak club which has -99 RD (354 RF-453 RA) and a 4-game Losing Streak after making some headway.
Free MLB Futures Team Pick: Milwaukee Brewers to win NL Central 21/10Best Line Offered: at Bet365