With the All-Star break in the rearview, let’s look back at our preseason predictions to see what we got right and wrong and what we can learn for the second half.
A major topic before the season was the deadening of the baseballs. I warned readers not to automatically assume they should bet a lot of Unders. Through the All-Star break, Overs actually hold a slim lead at 655-639-45 (50.6 percent) as oddsmakers have adjusted through the changes in the ball and the June 21 addition of umpires cracking down on illegal substances used by pitchers.
Let’s look at the division races.
I recommended betting the Padres Over 93.5 wins and also thought the Padres had a chance to make a run at +245 to win the NL West, +400 to win the NL and/or +850 to win the World Series.
Of course, very few of us expected the Giants to be leading the division at 57-32 at the break, two games ahead of the Dodgers and six ahead of the Padres. The Giants have been the biggest money-maker for bettors at +20 units through the first half. I wouldn’t bet the Giants often, however, in individual games. That +20 units was built on a lot of plus prices as dogs and short favorite prices, and they’re going to be laying a lot more juice.
The Cubs Over 78 wins was my favorite Over/Under season win total and I’m still confident they will get there, as they’re 44-46 after limping into the break. I’m not as confident, however, in them getting back in the division race with the Brewers and Reds. My Over 84 recommendation on the Brewers looks even more solid, and I expect them to be the only playoff team to come out of the NL Central. In fact, while all the attention seems to be on the NL West and the Mets, the Brewers look like the best NL value at 7/1.
I had no clue in this division as it seemed very wide open. The Mets have a 3 ¹/₂-game lead over the Phillies at the break with the Braves another half-game back. The -375 division price on the Mets is a little too steep, but I’m not sure it’s worth it to look at the Phillies at 6/1 or the Braves without Ronald Acuna Jr., at 14/1.
My Athletics Under 86.5 ticket is in trouble, though it looks better than it did earlier in the season. At 52-40, the A’s are on a pace for 91.5 wins, so I need them to fall off quite a bit more. At least my Astros -105 to win the division (some got them at plus-money) is looking a lot better, with a 3 ¹/₂-game lead at the break.
We have future tickets on the White Sox at +445 to win the AL and +1100 to win the World Series, and those look like decent investments with the White Sox leading the Indians by eight games and having the easiest path to a playoff berth. You can still get the Sox at +350 to win the AL and +900 to win the World Series. I am still sweating out my lone O/U season win total in the division as I took the Indians Under 81.5.
The Yankees were the prohibitive favorites at -235 to win the AL East as the season was about to start, and I hope no one out there thought that was a value bet. They’re in fourth place and eight games back, though I guess if you really believe the Yankees can sort out all their problems, they’re available at 12/1 to just win the division. My biggest bet in the division was the Blue Jays Over 86 wins, and it looks like I’ll be sweating that the whole way.
Originally published at https://nypost.com/2021/07/15/there-are-still-value-bets-to-be-found-in-mlb-division-races/ on .