Two Horse Race in AL East? Handicappers Explain

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 1:15 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jul. 29, 2014 1:15 PM GMT

Let’s take a closer look at each club in the division as August approaches and which might be play on or play against options for sports picks.

It has been a wild ride in the American League East since the All-Star break with four teams playing over .500, making them a simple choice for MLB picks against the sportsbooks.

 

Baltimore Orioles
In what could have been a horrible road trip against the giants of the AL West, Baltimore was a highly respectable 6-4 and could have gone 8-2 with a little better bullpen work.

Seemingly out of nowhere the Orioles have taken command of the division and are among the best bets in baseball. They have done so by being terrific on the road and thrived as an underdog, picking a remarkable +17.2 units in winning 32 of 55 games.

Their offense has really blossomed and as of today, they are up to ninth in the majors in runs scored and lead all of baseball in home runs per contest.

With the Birds opening up a homestand against the Angels and Mariners this week, here is a secret not everyone is paying attention to in researching MLB odds, Baltimore is 32-15 UNDER at Camden Yards.

 

Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays road trip continues this week and they have to be feeling pretty spry, ending their 17-game losing streak at Yankee Stadium in winning the last two. Toronto can continue to force their way back in the division race against weak squads like Boston and Houston this week.

With the Blue Jays starting to hit again, curious to see if they go after more pitching this week before the trade deadline. They did receive some bad news as Edwin Encarnacion suffered a "minor" setback Friday and will be shut down for a few days according to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm. Reports have Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie not that far away from returning, which should only make the Toronto offense better.

Definite Play On potential with the Jays.

 

New York Yankees
After a 7-1 spurt, the Yankees looked poised to make a run despite obvious weaknesses. But two defeats against a Toronto places this team essentially back at square one, making them as close to a no play as any team in the big leagues for MLB handicappers.

New York continues to defy the betting odds with a winning record despite have a substantial negative number (-30) in run differential. While it would be unusual for a team to make the postseason with such a number, it is not unprecedented.

The Yankees are 29-25 (+5.9 units) away and will be at current last place teams Texas and Boston this week, which could allow them to pick up where they left off. Unless you are a fan of the Pinstripes, it is hard to get excited about betting for or against the group.

 

Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are still one of the worst wagers in the bigs, but they have cut out a wide portion of negativity with a 21-6 record since June 25 (+14.85).

Here is dilemma for Tampa Bay, should they try and move a few players that others see as commodities before the trade deadline, trying the strengthen their team for the near future or go all in trying to chase a wild card slot which could mean just one extra game this season and lose players without getting anything in return?

The Rays homestand continues versus Milwaukee and the Angels before heading to Oakland and they are the second-worst bet at home at -16.1 units (25-29) and still have to be considered Play Against material as favorites at -15.7.

 

Boston Red Sox
Off a dismal 2-5 road excursion, Boston is in the mood to sell. Jake Peavy was already dealt and others could be out of the Red Sox clubhouse also this week.

While the makeup of the team has changed from a year ago, for the veteran players, going from being World Series champions to last place has to be mentally challenging. With the BoSox already 18-28 in division play (-13.8), I am forecasting a general decline. Yes, Boston will have a few 5-2 weeks the remainder of the season, but look for them to finish in the low 70’s for wins and be primarily a fade team. 

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