With only a few days before the season ends, we can look back over the first 159 games and reflect back on what might be the greatest story of the season. We’ve had seven no-hitters, the Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera trying for the first “Triple Crown” since 1967 and an Angels’ rookie in Mike Trout that took our breath away nightly with one spectacular play after another.
But when I look back, what brings the biggest smile to my face is the rise of Oakland A’s and Baltimore Orioles, while at the same time watching big money teams like the Red Sox and Phillies take a season off.
At the beginning of the season, only the Astros at 300/1 had longer odds to win the World Series than the A’s at 200/1. Oakland’s ‘over-under’ season win total was 71 ½, now here they are, on their way to a Wild Card game with a 91-68 record doing the impossible with the second-lowest payroll in baseball.
The LVH currently has the A’s at 16/1 odds to win the World Series and even if they go no further than the Wild Card game this week, it has been a blast watching them daily.
Baltimore was 100/1 to start the season and it’s currently in a battle with the Yankees for the AL East, which is huge because the winner doesn’t have to play in the one-and-done Wild Card game. They were only expected to win 69 ½ games this season, less than the A’s, only because they play in the tough AL East with the mighty Yankees, Rays and Red Sox.
Before the season started, you could have also had 80/1 odds on the Orioles to win the division with a decision that will be posted on Wednesday.
With three games to go, the Orioles are 16/1 to win the World Series. They have secured their first winning season since 1997, which was also the last time they made the postseason. They have also done it with a payroll of just over $81 million, which is in the bottom third of MLB salaries. It’s not quite the $55 million of the A’s, but it’s still worth noting because three of the top four salaries in baseball will not be making the playoffs.
The Phillies ($174M), Red Sox ($173M) and Angels ($154M) will be watching two teams in the postseason that don’t have a combined salary as fat as any of theirs. It’s a nice change!
Outside of the Orioles possibly winning the AL East, most of the divisions fell into place with the favorites winning with the exception being Baltimore‘s neighbor, the Washington Nationals. The Nats were 15/2 to win the division behind the Phillies at heavy ¼ odds (Bet $400 to win $100), the Braves at 4/1 and the Marlins at 6/1.
Remember the Marlins hype with the new stadium, high priced free-agent signings, and Showtime following them around doing reality TV, how’d that all work out? Try last place at 67-92 through Sunday’s games.
The LVH Super Book did a wonderful job of providing the most intense list of odds in Nevada for the 2012 season with hundreds of Players Props. Here’s a look at some of them fared:
Most Home Runs - 42 ½: Cabrera and Josh Hamilton each have 43.
Most RBIs - 128 ½: Cabrera (136) has topped the number with Hamilton close at 127.
Most Hits - 213 ½: Derek Jeter currently has 213, no other player has topped 200 yet.
Most Stolen Bases - 61 ½: Mike Trout leads this Earl Weaver era of waiting for the bomb with only 48 steals.
Most Losses - 17: Ubaldo Jimenez has 17, but won’t get the opportunity to break to the push because he won’t be starting again.
Most Wins - 21 ½: Gio Gonzalez starts Tuesday and could win his 22nd game of the year making the OVER the winner here.
Most Saves - 47 ½: Jim Johnson has 50 on the season for Baltimore.
The one individual player prop that received a lot of attention was Ryan Braun with a home run total posted at 30 ½. He won the MVP last season and came in with all kinds of suspicions that he was juiced up, but he went out and had an even better year in 2012 with 41 home runs, 112 RBI’s and a .320 average.
Adam Dunn had a home run total posted at 18 ½ after looking like career was over last season, but he pounded out 41 for the White Sox this season.
Toronto’s Jose Bautista had hit 97 home runs over the past two seasons and had a total of 35 ½ posted for 2012, which seemed low. But the main variable in these props is staying healthy and Bautista only got 332 at-bats and went deep only 27 times.
The Angels highest-paid player in Albert Pujols had a home run total posted at 35 ½ and managed only 30 in his debut season in Los Angeles.