Weekly Betting Notes
September 18, 2012
By Micah Roberts
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The Angels have 15 games left to make something happen or their season is finished. They are 7 ½ games out of first place in the AL West, but only three games out for one of the Wild Card spots, their most likely path to the playoffs. In order for them to make it happen, they are going to have to win the series beginning Tuesday in Anaheim against the first place Rangers.
"Forget winning series. We're talking about winning every pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the Associated Press. "That's where we are. The only thing we control is how we play. We need to bring it for the last 15 games."
The Angels definitely have a sense of urgency with this series and it works out that their rotation is set up perfect. It's almost set up like a playoff series where they have their big guns on the mound, starting with Jered Weaver on Tuesday, C.J. Wilson on Wednesday, and Zack Greinke on Thursday. The Rangers are stacked with their top starters as well, which shows in the series price where the Angels are only a -135 favorite.
Right now, the A's and Orioles have the edge over the Angels in the Wild Card race. But what if the Angels sweep the Rangers? It's unlikely, but they have played some great baseball lately, winning 14 of their last 19 games. The only hiccup over that stretch was when Oakland took three of four from them last week. If they were to get the sweep, it would put a lot of pressure on the Rangers who are being pressed by the A's -- three games back of Rangers. And then the Angels would have a chance to do it again when they meet in Arlington for a three-game set next weekend.
If you think it's possible, then 15-to-1 odds on the Angels to win the World Series might be for you. With the way Greinke is rolling right now and Weaver getting back on track, they would be a tough team to tackle in a five or seven-game series. Even Ervin Santana has been pitching lights out lately.
I may be trying to infuse more drama into the AL situation just to keep myself entertained, but the NL race doesn't need any prodding with eight teams vying for the two Wild Cards. Even the Padres are only six games out. We've got so many different scenarios unfolding that could make the final day of action come close to rivaling what we saw last season when we were taught that anything can happen in baseball as the Red Sox and Braves faltered down the stretch while the Cardinals and Rays took advantage.
The Cardinals' improbable run last year wasn't improbable for a few bettors that hit their 300-to-1 odds to win the World Series tickets. Most of the sports books in Las Vegas got clobbered on that one and also learned a valuable lesson about not falling asleep at the wheel, which is easy to do with football taking over as the most important sport being booked.
So much changes from day-to-day in baseball. For the last two weeks it was the Phillies making a Wild Card run and their odds dropped from 200-to-1 last Monday to 50-to-1 this week. The Phillies got cooled off in Houston, but the new hard charger coming fast on the outside lane is the Milwaukee Brewers, a team that traded away Greinke in July because they thought they had no chance.
Since August 20, no one is playing better baseball than the Brewers as they have won 20 of 26 games through Sunday. Last Monday, the Brewers were 300-to-1 to win the World Series. This week, they're 40-to-1. They're only 2 ½ games out of the final Wild Card position that the Cardinals currently hold. For the last month, most of us have been paying more attention to the Cardinals, Dodgers, and Pirates for the final Wild Card berth, but as last season taught us, anything is possible.
The Dodgers, one game out of the final Wild Card slot, had their odds raised from 12-to-1 up to 25-to-1, even though they have one of the largest liabilities of all the teams. The reasoning behind the hike in odds is because of Clayton Kershaw who has a nagging hip injury that could shut his season down. Without Kershaw, even though he's struggled over his past five starts, the Dodgers chances of advancing -- even if they make the playoffs -- seems unlikely.
What's up Johnny?
The Reds are co-favorites to win the National League at 13-to-5 with the Nationals, but if their ace doesn't start getting his act together, it may be a short playoff run for them. The Reds have lost four of his past five starts and Cueto has taken the loss in his last three where he's given up 14 runs combined. It's by far the worst stretch of his season. Just last month he was in the conversation with R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez as being one of the top voted pitchers for the Cy Young Award. But now, he can't even get out of the fifth inning.
Zito in a Groove
The Giants are 3-to-1 to win the NL Pennant and despite not having the big bats some of the other contenders have, you have to like their chances just because of their pitching. One of those pitchers currently making a great is Barry Zito. The Giants have won his past eight starts, with Zito getting the win in four of them. He hasn't been dominant in any of the starts, but for some reason, the Giants bats come alive when he's on the mound. Three of the Giants wins over Zito's streak have been by the scores of 9-8, 9-6, and 8-7.
Orioles are Winners
The Orioles' chances of making the playoffs are still up the air, but one thing is for sure, they are winners in 2012. For the first time since 1997, Baltimore will finish the season with a winning record. Their win Sunday at Oakland assured them of a winning mark with 82 wins on the season. The Orioles' odds to win the World Series were raised from 25-to-1 up to 30-to-1 Monday at the LVH Super Book.