For most of the season, the American League Central looked like the Harlem Globetrotters against the Washington Generals. But Kansas City changed that and is a top pick against the MLB odds.
As the Royals and Detroit are set to do battle down the stretch, let’s review how they and others in the division might do in the comings weeks against the sportsbooks.
Kansas City Royals
Any thoughts by baseball handicappers thinking Kansas City might return to past ways after their eight-game winning streak this month have dissipated by turning right around and winning six of seven.
The Royals spurt of 22-5 has helped them become extremely popular with those making MLB picks and reminiscent of the Dodgers last year in June. Kansas City have moved up to the fourth-best bet in baseball for the year at +8.3 and their strength is measured in a 53-34 record in contests determined by two or more runs.
The schedule sets up for the K.C. express to keep on rolling over the next two and half weeks facing opponents barely over or below .500.
As you read this, the Tigers are 1-4-1 this month in series played and have the look of a club that is shell-shocked to be fighting for their playoff lives. Sportsbooks are no longer placing overvalued MLB betting odds on Detroit, because nobody is biting, even when David Price and Max Scherzer are pitching at -180 or higher.
However, Detroit’s run differential of +36 matches their actual record, which proves this is far from a dominant squad.
The Tigers remainder of the season is similar to Kansas City’s and it could come down to those six confrontations with the Royals for the division crown.
All season, Cleveland has solid at Progressive Field with 37-24 record (+6.8 units) and an unsavory 26-37 (-9) away from Lake Erie. At this juncture of the season, no real reason to make sports picks any differently with the Indians.
Consider the Tribe at home and play against them on the road.
Chicago White Sox
After hanging around the .500 mark most of the year, like many teams before them, the White Sox are succumbing to a lack of pitching, ranked 28th in the majors in runs surrendered.
The Chicago offense has shown - binge and purge – tendencies all season, but in August they plated three or fewer times a game in 12 of their 17 outings. Add the lack of offense to suspect pitching and the Pale Hose are 6-11 (-6.35) in August.
With 19 matchups versus postseason contenders, even Chris Sale cannot help the White Sox enough.
While this case could be made with several teams, if we take Phil Hughes pretty remarkable season off the Minnesota books, the Twins are 39-60 in all other games and in double digits of units lost for baseball bettors.
Nonetheless, Hughes (16-9, +10.5 units in all starts) has kept Minnesota relevant from a wagering perspective and to show you what he has meant from one of my favorites stats, the Twinkies are 13-27 in contests determined by four or more runs when the right-hander has not pitched.
Starting this Friday, the Twins have Detroit, at K.C., at Baltimore and after a home series with the White Sox; the Angels are in the Twin Cities. Ouch!