The return of interleague play in Major League Baseball this weekend offers a glimpse at a few potential World Series matchups, and Bovada will offer live play-by-play betting on a handful of the games.
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Interleague play doesn't begin until Friday so all of the intraleague series will be wrapping up Thursday and the book will offer live betting on the San Francisco Giants-San Diego Padres finale. San Francisco is starting to close on the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers, the team with the best record in baseball. And the Giants opened as -125 favorites for Thursday's matinee behind right-hander Matt Cain (6-2, 2.62). He is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in his last five starts against the Padres. He's opposed by Edinson Volquez (2-5, 3.42), who faces the Giants for the first time as a National Leaguer.
The book will feature those Giants again Friday as they host the team with the AL's best record, the Texas Rangers to start a three-game series. Of course those two teams met in the 2010 World Series, with the Giants winning in five games. Big-hitting Texas easily leads MLB in run differential this season. But that offense goes against a San Francisco pitching staff among the Top 5 in ERA in baseball. The Rangers give the ball to lefty Matt Harrison (7-3, 4.37) in Game 1 vs. Giants lefty Barry Zito (5-2, 2.98). It will be his first start against the Giants, but he is 2-2 with a 3.80 ERA in interleague play. Zito, meanwhile, is 5-10 with a 6.21 ERA against the AL since joining the Giants.
The other live game at the book Friday is the opener of the Subway Series as the Mets visit the Yankees in their first matchup of the season. And the big story there is it's the first start for Mets lefty Johan Santana since he threw the first no-hitter in franchise history last Friday against St. Louis. Santana's normal turn would have been Wednesday, but he was given two more days of rest after throwing a career-high 134 pitches vs. the Cardinals. Only one pitcher in history has thrown consecutive no-hitters.
The Rangers-Giants and Mets-Yankees matchups will be offered on live betting on both Saturday and Sunday as well. And as usual, the Sunday night ESPN game also will be offered, this week featuring Detroit at Cincinnati. Both the Tigers and Reds were favorites in their respective Central divisions entering the season, but only first-place Cincinnati has kept up its end of the bargain.
Speaking of MLB futures odds, with the season having recently passed the one-third pole Bovada has re-released odds to win the respective divisions (pennant and World Series odds have stayed up all season). Those Reds are -125 favorites in the NL Central, while Detroit remains the -110 favorite in the AL Central despite being well behind the first-place Chicago White Sox.
The biggest division favorite in baseball remains the Rangers in the AL West at -800. The AL pennant preseason favorite L.A. Angels are now +350 to win the West. The AL East looks like it could go down to the wire with each team at least at .500 entering play Thursday. The Tampa Bay Rays have moved to +175 favorites in the division, with the surging Yankees at +190. Even though the Baltimore Orioles have held down first most of the season, oddsmakers still don't believe in the Birds as they are at +900.
The NL East race appears even more wide open, at least from a betting perspective. The Washington Nationals, who have led the division most of the year, Miami Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies are all now at +275 to win the East. The surprising Mets remain +1000 underdogs. Atlanta is in between at +300.
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