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, Miguel Cabrera trying for the first Triple Crown since 1967 and a 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-to-1 had longer odds to win the World Series than the A’s at 200-1. Their over-under season win total was 71½. 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 16-1 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 is 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 69½ games this season, less than the A’s only because they play in the tough AL East with the mighty Yankees and Red Sox.
Before the season started, you could have had 80-1 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 and have secured their first winning season since 1997 – also the last time they made the postseason.
Baltimore has 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 still worth noting because three of the top four salaries in baseball will not be making the playoffs.
The Phils ($174 million), Red Sox ($173m) and Angels ($154m) will be watching two teams in the playoffs that don’t have a combined salary as fat as any of them. It’s a nice change.
Outside of the Orioles possibly winning the AL East, most of the divisions fell into place. The favorites prevailed with the exception being Baltimore’s neighbor, the Washington Nationals. The Nats were 15-2 to win the division behind the Phillies at -400, 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 homers – 42 ½: Cabrera and Josh Hamilton each have 43.
Most RBI’s – 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 – 61½: 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 the push because he won’t be starting again.
Most Wins – 21½: Gio Gonzalez starts Tuesday and could win No. 22 making OVER the winner.
Most Saves – 47½: 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 30½. He won the MVP last season and came in with all kinds of suspicions that he was juiced, but d 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 18½ after looking like career was over last season, but he pounded out 41 for the White Sox.
Jose Bautista had hit 97 homers over the past two seasons and had a total of 35½ 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 just 27 times.
Albert Pujols had a home run total posted at 35 ½ and managed only 30.
Micah Roberts is a former Las Vegas race and sports book director, and longtime motorsports columnist and sports analyst at GamingToday. Contact Micah at [email protected]