The MLB season is hitting its stride, and we are starting to see the cream rise to the top. There is no surprise that the Dodgers, Astros, and Yankees are at the top of the odds, but we do see the Red Sox still struggling to find their way. The Twins at 4th overall is the most interesting (and absurd) development of the year so far, and I think they are providing a lot of value to the board.
The Top Dogs:
I am perfectly okay with betting two of the top teams in different leagues with the ability to hedge out later. If someone came to me today and was dying to bet the Dodgers to win the World Series, I would say, “fine.” I don’t want to do it, but I get it. The Dodgers lineup has elevated their play from previous years for the most part, and their pitching staff is still elite. However, I think the odds on the being the favored WS team comes from the lack of depth in the National League and not because they are the best team in baseball.
Speaking of the best team in baseball, I still do not understand how the Yankees are considered the third best team in baseball based on the odds right now. The Yankees are 7-1 to win the World Series, and I think that is borderline egregious. The Astros over the Yankees makes almost 0 sense to me because of the roster changes that these two teams have gone through. The Astros have run into some injuries recently, but they don’t rival the Yankees in terms of most injured team in the league. Even then, they have similar enough records to call them equals, just like the Dodgers.
However, the Yankees have played 100% of the season without their Cy Young candidate pitcher and their starting shortstop, who batted 4th on a 100 win team last season. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge, who are both just 2 years removed from being in the top 2 in MVP votes in different leagues, have played in 3 and 20 games respectively. Dellin Betances hasn’t played a game. Aaron Hicks has played 15 games. They’ve missed Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier to the IL for limited time. This team is 38-21.
They are also reported to be the leaders for Dallas Keuchel right now. The Yankees have had to run into Verlander, Cole, Keuchel, and McCullers while starting Severino, Tanaka, Happ, and Sabathia. The Yankees bullpen is elite, but their starting pitching hasn’t been up to par with the Astros in recent years. This season, the Yankees would have any 4 of Severino, Tanaka, Paxton, German, Happ, Sabathia, and maybe Keuchel. The Astros have Verlander, Cole, uhhhh McHugh? Peacock? Martin? Miley? McHugh and Peacock have good stuff, but they are not going to be favored in games vs. Tanaka or Paxton. The Yankees have flipped the script on the Astro rotation and that why I absolutely love the Yankees at 7-1 right now.
The teams I just laid out for you are the reason you should do everything you can to fade the Twins in the playoffs. They don’t have anything relatively close to these two teams once October rolls around.
The Dart Throws:
I think that the Yankees and Astros are too good to let the same team beat both of them, so I am avoiding the American league down the line. I would be VERY heavily invested if I could get an Astros or Yankees to win the AL at a decent price because I don’t think it’s that viable that anyone else could.
Let’s run through the possible suitors:
Cubs: The price is too high for the lack of any bullpen security. The rotation is fine, but it’s not dominant to make up for the lack of bullpen
Phillies: I like the Phillie’s makeup, but I’m not sure if they have the total package necessary to make a run at the Dodgers for the price.
My favorite two teams are the Brewers and the Cardinals. Their odds are down because they are not winning their division, which can flip in a week or even less. Both teams have a versatile reliever that can become a huge asset in the postseason, although Andrew Miller has struggled a bit this season. Both rotations have talent at the major league level and just below it. I think it’s possible to see both of these teams call up a talent from the minors and then make a trade for another pitcher at the deadline, which would quickly improve their current outlook. Both lineups have good hitters through their first 6, and I think they are undervalued overall. I don’t think these teams can really compete with the winner of the AL at the end of the day, but the price should be basically the same as the Phillies and Cubs at this point.