Books haven't lost faith in Astros

Jul 17, 2018 3:07 AM

The Major League Baseball defending champion Houston Astros are the favorite to win the 2018 World Series at odds around 4-1, just ahead of those rascally AL East rivals, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

The Red Sox surged ahead of the Yanks by 4.5 games last weekend but both teams were around 5- or 6-to-1 to win the title heading into the All-Star break. And by the looks of it, New York could be the post-break destination for Manny Machado.

That leaves some intriguing odds for the rest of the AL contenders, including Cleveland (8-1), which has a strong rotation and will get back star reliever Andrew Miller soon, and current outsider Oakland (75-1), which certainly could be used as a hedge should the A’s current path send them past Seattle for the second wild-card spot.

In the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago Cubs have separated themselves from the rest of the senior pack, according to oddsmakers.

Both teams were 8-to-1 or lower to win the Commissioner’s Trophy, while all the other NL contenders had fallen to 15-to-1 or higher coming out of the break.

Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Arizona and Washington are all in the group of maneuvering teams in the NL playoff chase priced between 15- and 20-to-1.

Meanwhile, several of the NL’s contending teams appear headed OVER their season win total, including the Cubs, Phillies, Brewers, Braves and Diamondbacks. The Nationals and Dodgers appear on track to be shy of their prospective season-win totals.

On the AL side, the Astros, Red Sox and Yankees are on pace to finish OVER their win totals, as well, along with other contenders Seattle, Oakland and Tampa Bay. Cleveland is on pace to finish UNDER its projection, but the division schedule could allow them to meet their number.

Some possible OVER surprises could include Colorado and San Francisco, while UNDER disappointments are led by AL laggards Minnesota, Toronto and the LA Angels, along with St. Louis and the NY Mets on the NL side.

METS (+107, 9u15) at YANKS (Fri., 4:05): Noah Syndergaard comes in with a 5-1 record and 2.97 ERA to make his first career start in Yankee Stadium and would appear to have the edge on the mound against the Yanks’ Domingo German, who is 2-5 with a 5.49 ERA. German struck out nine Mets in six IP on June 9 and Yanks are 5-1 in his home starts. NYY, 5-4

RED SOX (-160, 9o15) at DET TIGERS (Fri., 4:10): Boston lefty David Price finished the break with 10 wins and up nearly six units for backers having struck out 17 over his last two starts. Detroit is up almost nine units against left-handed starters this season. The Tigers are 6-2 in lefty Matt Boyd’s home starts and he has a reasonable 3.57 ERA at home. BOS, 5-4

MARLINS (+160, 8o20) at RAYS (Fri., 4:10): The Marlins’ Dan Straily is up over 3.5 units so far, but has recorded just one win in the last two months and has taken the loss in three of his last four road starts. Tampa’s Nate Eovaldi lost at around a pick’em last Friday at Minnesota but has a 2.45 ERA at home, making just his third start at Target Field. TB, 4-3

GIANTS (-105, 8o20) at OAK ATHLETICS (Fri., 6:30): Dereck Rodriguez continues to shine for the Giants, picking up a win in relief last week, going three innings against the Cubs at home. The son of catching great Ivan Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 2.89 ERA. Edwin Jackson seems to do fairly well in his returns to the bigs, but then fades again. That said, the A’s so hot. OAK, 4-3

NY METS (-117, 9o20) at NY YANKEES (Sat., 10:05): Mets have the looks of another pitching advantage today with Steven Matz going up against struggling Sonny Gray. Matz allowed three runs and four walks in six innings with six strikeouts at home against the Yanks on June 9. Gray’s home ERA is now up to 8.25, which hasn’t endeared him to the Bronx faithful. NYY, 5-4

PIRATES (+104, 9.5) at REDS (Sat., 4): Conditions could be good for runs with gas cans Nick Kingham, of the Bucs, and Andrew DeSclafani, of the Reds, on the hill. Kingham has left his stellar debut well in the rear-view mirror with his 6.41 road ERA. DeSclafani is 4-2 since his return despite an ERA over five. The Reds have lost all three of his home starts so far. CIN, 6-5

TWINS (-125, 9.5u15) at KC ROYALS (Sat., 4:15): Lance Lynn is certainly a gamer for the Twins, managing to post a 7-7 record despite a 5.22 ERA this season, though his road ERA is almost eight. Royals’ lefties Mike Moustakas and Alex Gordon have enjoyed good success against him. KC goes with struggling Jake Junis, who has lost seven straight games. MIN, 5-4

PIRATES (+120, 9.5) at REDS (Sun., 10:10): Ivan Nova steadies his ship for the Bucs, going 4-1/3 innings in a 2-1 win against the visiting Brewers early Saturday in a write-in game. Nova comes in with a 5.74 ERA on the road. Leave it to Matt Harvey to get hot with the drastic change in scenery, allowing two or fewer runs in five straight starts, in which he’s won four. CIN, 6-4

TWINS (-125, 9.5u20) at KC ROYALS (Sun., 11:15): Jake Odorizzi has been very inconsistent since coming to the Twins and has just one win to his credit over the last two months, although he has just a 2.33 ERA in five road starts. Kansas City’s Brad Keller may be hitting the wall a bit in his increased use since entering the rotation. MIN, 5-4

METS (-112, 9u15) at YANKS (Sun., 5): Dare we say the Mets will have the mound advantage for the third straight game at the Stadium with Jacob deGrom matched up with Masahiro Tanaka? deGrom was sure to get some heat leading up to the game for his calls to get the All-Star ball from the Nats’ Max Scherzer. Yanks are 10-4 in Tanaka’s starts this season. NYY, 5-4