Just two weeks remain in the 2014 regular season and it may take all of those two weeks to determine some, if not most, of the 10 teams that will make the Playoffs.
Baltimore is days away from clinching the AL East as are the Angels in the AL West. In the National League Washington is also just a few days from wrapping up the East.
The other three Divisional races will likely come down to the final week, or weekend, of the season. Detroit starts this week leading Kansas City by a game and a half in the AL Central.
The leaders in the other two National League Divisions have slightly more comfortable leads with St. Louis up by 3.5 games over Pittsburgh in the Central and the Los Angeles Dodgers up by 3 games in the NL West over San Francisco.
The Wild Card races in both leagues remain contentious. Oakland has a 1.5 game lead over Kansas City for the first AL Wild Card with the Royals up by just 1 game over Seattle for the second Wild Card. Teetering on the edge of both contention and elimination are Toronto (4 games behind Seattle) and both Cleveland and the New York Yankees (5 behind Seattle).
In the NL, San Francisco has a 3 game lead over Pittsburgh for the first Wild Card with the Pirates leading Milwaukee by 1.5 games for the second. Atlanta, the only other NL team with a winning record (75-74) is 4 games behind Pittsburgh.
The Giants have been hot over the past few weeks, winning 14 of its last 20 games. Over that same stretch the Dodgers are 13-7.
Conversely over their last 20 games Atlanta is just 7-13 and Milwaukee is even worse at 6-14.
In terms of wagering success two teams are blowing away the field in terms of rewarding their backers this season. By far, the Baltimore Orioles have been the bettor’s best friend to the tune of 34.3 net units of profit this season. That’s nearly 10 units better than baseball’s second most profitable team, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Halos are up 24.9 net units.
To put the performance of the Orioles and Angels into perspective the third most profitable team this season has been San Francisco, whose 8.5 net units of profit is puny in comparison to the results of Baltimore and the Halos.
None of the other 27 team starts this week up more than 6 net units of profit.
On the downside several teams are down double digit net units led by Texas. Beset by injuries the Rangers have cost backers 32.5 net units thus far.
Four other teams are down more than 20 net units, led by Colorado (28.9) and followed by Boston (26.3), Arizona (24.7) and Tampa Bay (23.1). And two more teams – Atlanta and San Diego – are down more than 10 net units.
In wagering over the final two weeks of the regular season be sure to keep in mind that time tested sports betting proverb that “must win does not necessarily mean will win.”
But those “must win” teams will be priced as though they will win, often providing extra value on playing the underdog.
Here’s a look at four series this weekend involving at least one Playoff contender.
Brewers at Pirates: Milwaukee’s early season success was due to an overachieving pitching staff that has performed at expected levels over the past couple of months. Pittsburgh’s performance has been more steady throughout the season but has played its best baseball of late.
Plays: Pittsburgh as underdogs of any price with any starter not facing Yovani Gallardo or Mike Fiers; Milwaukee -130 or less in starts by Fiers or Gallardo against any Pittsburgh starter; UNDER 7.5 or higher except in starts by Pittsburgh’s Jeff Locke.
Mets at Braves: Atlanta has won 9 of 16 meetings this season. Only 5 of their games have gone OVER the Total with 9 staying UNDER and 2 pushes with the teams combining to average just 6.9 runs per game. Over the past month the Mets actually have been two games better than the Braves who now trail Washington in the NL East by 10.5 games after having been tied with the Nats at the All Star break.
Plays: Mets +125 or more in starts by Jacob DeGrom or Bartolo Colon; Atlanta -150 or less in starts by Julio Teheran or Alex Wood not facing DeGrom or Colon; UNDER 7.5 or higher in starts involving DeGrom, Colon, Teheran or Wood; OVER 8 or lower if none of those four pitchers start.
Blue Jays at Yanks: The Yankees have won 8 of 15 meetings with 9 games going OVER, 5 staying UNDER and 1 ending in a push. The Yanks and Blue Jays have averaged 8.5 combined runs per game. Over the past month the Jays have gone 14-11, a game better than the Yanks. The Yankees have the edge in pitching whereas Toronto’s edge is at the plate.
Plays: UNDER 7.5 or higher in starts by the Yankees’ Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy or Michael Pineda; Yankees -125 or less in starts by Kuroda, McCarthy or Pineda against any Toronto starter; Toronto as underdogs of any price not facing Kuroda, McCarthy or Pineda.
Tigers at Royals: Detroit starts the week 1.5 games ahead of Kansas City for the AL Central lead with the Royals controlling the second AL Wild Card. These teams are meeting for their final series of the season with Detroit holding an 11 to 5 games edge. The Tigers and Royals have combined to average 9.5 runs per game while playing 7 OVERs, 8 UNDERs and 1 PUSH.
Plays: Either team +120 or more in matchups of Kansas City’s Jason Vargas, Yolando Ventura, Danny Duffy or James Shields against Detroit’s Justin Verlander, David Price, Max Scherzer or Rick Porcello; Royals -120 or less in a start by Shields against any Detroit starter; UNDER 7 or higher in matchups of Vargas, Ventura, Duffy or Shields against Verlander, Price, Porcello or Scherzer; OVER 8.5 or lower if none of those 8 pitchers is involved.
Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]