0 out of 6
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Forty-five percent through the regular season, and the relevant MLB teams couldn’t be clearer.
We’re past the point of small sample sizes or guessing games. Only two divisions appear to have clear leaders (AL East and AL West), while the other four are close races.
With that in mind, and until the close of trading in just over a month, let’s look at the current betting odds for the favorites to win their divisions.
For each division we offer the safest bet, the bet to avoid and a value play if you want to be left out.
Statistics on Baseball Reference and FanGraphs. Odds via DraftKings.
1 out of 6
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New York Yankees: -1400
Toronto Blue Jays: +1200
Boston Red Sox: +3000
Tampa Bay Rays: +6000
Baltimore Orioles: +100000
The Yankees were the best team in baseball this year, despite not making any notable additions in the offseason.
There’s an interesting race going on in the AL East, but it’s about second, third, and fourth place, not the division title. The Boston Red Sox, Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays could all make it as wild card teams with the extended postseason, and that’s what would happen if the season ended today.
It would take an epic Yankees meltdown to lose that division and even the No. 1 overall seed. They had a 12-game lead over the Red Sox for the division and an 8-game lead over the Houston Astros for the American League going into action Tuesday.
Betting against the Yankees means assuming they will eventually fall apart, and in this case it’s a follow-up question who is most likely to capitalize on such misfortune.
Toronto can really score, but his pitching is average. Tampa can really pitch, but his hitting is sub-par. Boston is the most balanced of the trio.
Safe bet: Yankees 1400
Avoid: Blue Jay +1200
Value selection: Red Socks +3000
2 out of 6
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Minnesota Twins: +115
Chicago White Sox: +175
Cleveland Guardian: +280
Detroit Tigers: +20000
Kansas City Royals: +60000
Welcome to baseball’s most disappointing division.
The White Sox would never run away with AL Central, but they were clearly the best team to come of the season. They could still be the most talented.
But this season has been a disaster on the South Side, where the Sox have been overshadowed by a seedy defense. poor Management and bad luck with injuries.
Meanwhile, it’s the Twins who have proven they are the class of this division. They held a two-game lead over the Cleveland Guardians, who despite their youth were a revelation, and a six-game lead over the previously favored White Sox.
Minnesota’s running difference is +47, leading the division by a wide margin. The Twins are a decent baseball team that could use some pitching help.
Chicago barrel differential is -45. It’s not a good baseball team. The best thing that can be said about the White Sox is that their bullpen is solid, they’re knocking out batters and many of the best players like Tim Anderson, Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada have missed a lot of time or underperformed since returning.
Safe bet: Gemini +115
Avoid: White Socks +175
Value selection: Guardian +280
3 out of 6
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Houston Astros: -5000
Los Angeles Angels: +3000
Seattle Mariners: +5000
Texas Ranger: +7500
Oakland Athletics: +100000
This is a division long dominated by the Astros, and 2022 was no different.
While offense has been her calling card over the years, Houston’s pitching is truly at the forefront this year, led by a 39-year-old Justin Verlander coming off Tommy John surgery.
Up until recently, the Astros offensive stuttered and it’s still a bit messy at times.
Still, they have the top designated hitter in the game in Jordan Alvarez, one of the deadliest lead-off hitters in Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman is starting to pick him up after a slow start.
Combine that with another disappointing Angels season, the Mariners aren’t good enough yet again, a Rangers team a year or two away and the A’s aren’t even trying and the Astros should go with the AL West run away.
Safe bet: Astro’s -5000
Avoid: Angel +3000
Value selection: Rangers +7500
4 out of 6
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New York Mets: -260
Philadelphia Phillies: +1400
Miami Marlin: +15000
Washington nationals: +100000
The Mets were as good as advertised despite handling the injury error. They entered Tuesday with a five-game lead over Atlanta, with the defending World Series champions having a one-game lead for top wild card spot.
New York is also the only team in its division with a winning record against teams over .500 (25-17). The 25 wins against such teams was a league high on Tuesday.
The Mets are doing so without their top pitchers Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom, both of whom are slated to return at some point.
Atlanta started June on an impressive 14-game winning streak, but may have peaked at this point. The Phillies finished eight games behind the division lead but are now grappling with the loss of Bryce Harper.
What happens at the close could really pick up momentum in NL East.
Safe bet: Met’s -260
Avoid: Phillies +1400
Value selection: Atlanta +240
5 out of 6
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Milwaukee Brewers: -190
St. Louis Cardinals: +140
Chicago Cubs: +35000
Pittsburgh Pirates: +60000
Cincinnati Reds: +90000
Aside from the race for second place in the AL East, this is the closest divisional race of all.
Milwaukee has a half-game lead over the Cardinals, but data suggests St. Louis could be the better team.
The Cardinals’ +71 stride difference is better than the Brewers’ +20. St. Louis has an expected win-loss record that is three games better than the actual record, while Milwaukee’s actual record is three games worse.
The Brewers’ trademark has been able to resist injuries and the offense has improved, trailing only the Yankees, Braves and Astros on home runs. But the Cardinals are second in runs scored and top 10 in OPS.
It will be interesting to see how the Brewers look when Freddy Peralta returns.
Safe bet: Brewer -195
Avoid: Boys +35000
Value selection: Cardinals +140
6 out of 6
Michael Owens/Getty Images
Los Angeles Dodgers: -275
San Diego Padres: +290
San Francisco Giants: +1100
Arizona Diamondbacks: +100000
Colorado Rockies: +100000
The Dodgers are still the most stacked team in the NL West, but the Padres have finally closed the gap like they should have last year.
There are also legitimate injury concerns for the Dodgers. They will be without ace Walker Buehler until the final month of the season. Mookie Betts has a rib injury that appears to be taking longer than expected to heal.
As talented as the Dodgers are, they could also benefit from the kind of blockbuster deal they struck at close last year for Max Scherzer and Trea Turner.
The Padres could use a little push too. They’re ninth in runs and 18th in OPS, which isn’t good enough to outperform the Dodgers.
Safe bet: Imposter -275
Avoid: Giants +1100
Value selection: Father +290
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