Some shops released updated MLB win totals with the league on its break. This gives bettors an opportunity to buy out or hedge some of their preseason stances.
Here are the current numbers and best bets as we gear up for the second half of the season.
|Los Angeles (A)||81.5|
|Los Angeles (N)||99.5|
|New York (N)||77.5|
|New York (A)||99.5|
Run differential is a solid indicator of how good a team is or isn't. It's not the be-all and end-all, but we have enough of a sample size to use it as a launching point to determine a team's future performance. The White Sox, who own a winning record in one-run games, entered the break as the luckiest team in the majors. At 42-44, they're actually a 36-50 team based on Pythagorean win-loss. Conventional wisdom would point to an under pick in this spot, but even if you're still bearish on the White Sox - we were in the preseason - and expect a free fall, this still isn't a huge hill to climb.
We know the White Sox won't be buyers this summer, they're simply not ready to contend. But even if they're technically "sellers," who goes? James McCann? Alex Colome? There doesn't figure to be much game-breaking talent potentially leaving the organization at the deadline, which won't alter the team's trajectory.
While the Sox are likely to bottom out of the wild-card race relatively soon, we don't see them finishing more than 16 games under .500 by the end of the year.
From the luckiest team in the league to the unluckiest, meet the Royals, a 30-61 franchise playing like a 37-54 team based on Pythagorean win-loss. It's not a huge improvement to go from 31 games under .500 to 17, but there are other factors that signal they should have a better record, notably ranking fourth-worst in save percentage in the league.
Although the Royals will be selling at the deadline, Whit Merrifield is the only valuable piece that will return value. With their future core likely staying put and only one direction to go, Kansas City should see better results in the second half.
It might be a cop-out to take the league's best team record-wise to go over the total, but fading the Dodgers is playing with fire. They're on pace to win roughly 105 games and they've done so despite injuries to Corey Seager and offseason addition, A.J. Pollock.
The pitching staff could come back down to earth, sure, but that's only a minor concern when the offense is No. 7 in the league in runs per game. The Dodgers are simply in a tier of their own in the NL.
If the Rockies didn't close out the first half with a six-game losing streak, we're probably looking at a better number, but it's still one we'd take to go under. Colorado, like most of the NL teams vying for a wild-card spot, is an offense-first team with little pitching. Every season, the Rockies seemingly do a pretty solid job of masking their flaws to the extent where we're unsure if they're deserving of contender status. With a top-heavy lineup that can't score on the road and with question marks in the rotation, we'd sell off at the break.
The second half will probably get uglier for the Tigers, who limped into the break with a 28-58 record (and should have actually been worse based on run differential). Though the market isn't exactly hot for a corner outfielder who can't play defense, Nicholas Castellanos will likely be on his way out at the deadline, as should ace left-hander Matt Boyd. That would be two of the five Tigers with a WAR better than a whopping 1.0 to depart, leaving both the lineup and rotation with big shoes to fill.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.