For sports betting fans, Wednesday and Thursday of this week are arguably the slowest two days of the year with not a single game in the four major American sports being played with Major League Baseball dark until Friday after the All-Star Game. So, let's take a look at the updated MLB futures options at Bovada before the action starts up again.
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The Yankees have the best record in baseball by a half-game over the Texas Rangers and New York has overtaken Texas as the 9/2 favorite to win the World Series, with the Rangers at 21/4. It's similar for the AL pennant, with the Yankees at 5/2 and the Rangers at 11/4. Texas and New York play one more series during the regular season: a four-game set Aug. 13-16 in the Bronx. That could well determine which team is the No. 1 seed in the American League and which gets home-field advantage in the ALCS should the two meet. The Yankees have a seven-game lead in the AL East, the biggest in baseball, and are -400 to win the division.
But don't overlook the surging Angels, who are 48-38 after a 6-14 start. That turnaround began when the team called up superstar rookie Mike Trout. The Halos have the third-best record in the AL, are four games behind Texas in the AL West and lead the wild-card standings. L.A. is now a co-third favorite to win the World Series at 11/1 (with Washington and San Francisco) and third to win the AL pennant at 6/2. The Angels are +275 to overtake Texas for the division title, with the Rangers at -350. Those two teams still have 13 games against each other, including a three-game set in Texas on the final weekend of the regular season that could be huge.
The closest division race in the AL is in the Central, where the surprising White Sox, who were a huge long shot in the spring, lead Cleveland by three games and Detroit by 3.5. The Tigers were the biggest division favorites in baseball back in spring training but are now at +120, slightly behind Chicago's +110. The Tigers do seem to be getting things together, having won five straight entering the break to get to 44-42. Detroit also has been rumored to be heavily scouting pitchers such as Cole Hamels, Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster to trade for ahead of the July 31 deadline. Oddsmakers don't give the Indians much of a chance to win the Central at +400.
The smallest division lead in baseball entering the second half belongs to the LA Dodgers in the NL West as they lead the San Francisco Giants by a half-game. Los Angeles went in the tank for a while without the injured Matt Kemp, but he should be back for Friday's game vs. San Diego. The Giants are the -120 favorites for the division, with L.A. at +160. Both teams figure to be active in the trade market.
San Francisco is the co-9/2 favorite to win the NL pennant with NL East-leading Washington. The Nats have a four-game lead in the division and the best ERA in baseball and are the -160 favorites to win their first division title since moving to D.C. The disappointing Marlins (nine games back) and Phillies (14 games out) were the two preseason favorites in the East but are now +1400 each to win it.
The National League Central might be the most interesting division race to watch as bettors wonder whether the Pittsburgh Pirates can hold on and reach the playoffs and finish with their first winning record since losing the epic 1992 NLCS against the Atlanta Braves. Even though Pittsburgh, with odds-on MVP favorite Andrew McCutchen, leads the division by a game over Cincinnati and by 2.5 games over St. Louis, the Pirates are only third-favorites to win the Central at +250. The Reds, the preseason favorites, are at +110, with the Cardinals at +210.
Pittsburgh (30/1 to win the World Series) does need offensive help for McCutchen, who is +350 to win NL MVP, and players such as Carlos Quentin and Justin Upton have been mentioned as trade targets.
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