Betting websites have breathed, ate, and slept major league baseball every day since April 2nd. The all-star break not only provides a chance to decompress a little but it also offers the first real opportunity to look at some static odds since before the start of the season.
The American League
The Houston Astros are the hottest thing in baseball right now, and the only thing more impressive than their of their clockwork pace is the fact that they have been able to keep it up even with pitching ace extraordinaire Dallas Keuchel spending two stints on the 10 day disabled list. The ‘Stros are projected to become the third team – and first since the 1969 Baltimore Orioles – to win 109 games. Furthermore, Houston enters the midseason break with the fifth-highest run differential in history, as well as leading the majors in runs, home runs, batting average and slugging percentage. Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa are both in the top 10 in batting average, on-base percentage, and WAR while Keuchel and Lance McCullers have been tearing up the pea patch from the hill. Also; four of the Astros’ five starters with 10 or more appearances have an ERA under 3.90. And the best part is that Kid Keuch is expected to return after the All-Star Game. All things considered, Houston is sitting in the catbird seat as far as winning the American League pennant is concerned – with the Boston Red Sox, the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees jockeying for position as second-best. If only they could join forces against the Astros, but that would be unsportsmanlike and totally against the rules.
The National League
For all of the Astros’ accomplishments, betting websites give the Los Angeles Dodgers slightly better odds of winning the 2017 World Series – which of course includes winning the AL pennant in the process. The Blue Crew has been nigh unbeatable at Dodger Stadium where they have gone an MLB-best 39-11, including 18 of the last 20 (with a win margin of 3½ runs). The Dodgers have not won the National League pennant or the World Series since 1988. By way of contrast, the Chicago Cubs – who ended the longest World Series championship drought in history last year and started out this season as heavy faves – have had a hard time keeping up with themselves (like, the Indians wish they had faced these Cubbies in the 2016 World Series (but then they’re the ones that blew a 3-1 lead, so maybe they should be asking for any more brakes)), but then again they set the bar pretty damn high last season, what with those 103 wins and such. As a result, they are trailing the Milwaukee Brewers by 5½ games in the National League Central Division standings and, more importantly, are trailing the Washington Nationals on betting websites’ odds-boards to win the NL pennant. All things considered the National League is pretty stacked with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies also vying for prominence.