MLB Futures Betting – AL West June 10th, 2008
By: Cappers Picks Staff
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MLB Baseball Futures Betting – Wagering on the AL West
Our best Sportsbooks has sports betting odds up on who will win each of Major League Baseball’s six divisional races, and in the AL West another aspirant has recently entered the fray. Will the Texas Rangers remain as contender all year long? How about Oakland? Or will the Angels coast to victory?
Let’s take a look at the divisional online betting odds as they are currently posted at Our Sportsbooks:
BetUS MLB Futures Odds
To win American League West
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM -280
OAKLAND ATHLETICS +250
TEXAS RANGERS +700
SEATTLE MARINERS +3500
The LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM (-280 in the Top Sportsbooks odds) have been holding on to their baseball betting lead largely through the efforts of the pitching duo of Joe Sanders and Ervin Santana, who are 11 games over .500 between them. And one of the things that is interesting about their success, and which may provide the potential for an upside, is that future Hall of Fame outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is not even hitting all that well (7 HR, 28 RBI, .249). Others like Torii Hunter and Garret Anderson have not produced numbers that are overwhelming. In fact, the Angels are just 22nd in the majors with a .255 batting average.
But manager Mike Scioscia has historically been able to play “small ball” with success, and so his team can still produce enough runs despite not getting much in the way of power (catcher Mike Napoli, a .214 hitter, leads the team in homers). And the bullpen, led by Francisco Rodriguez (21 saves, 2.25 ERA), has been solid.
The questions are these – will Los Angeles, or Anaheim, or whoever they are, get more offense as we approach the halfway point? Will Saunders and Santana continue to have career seasons? The Angels don’t really have much of a cushion, because many would argue that the Oakland A’s are capable of making a move on them.
And speaking of those OAKLAND ATHLETICS (+250 in the Top Sportsbooks odds), you are certainly talking about a team that has been able to get things done without an abundance of offense. That’s why it was so critical to pick up Frank Thomas after he was released by Toronto. Thomas has batted .319 with a .516 slugging average and 16 RBI’s in 91 at-bats since the Blue Jays dumped him, and he appears more comfortable with the team he helped lead to the playoffs as the Comeback Player of the Year a couple of season ago.
Otherwise, the A’s have a no-name lineup and a lower batting average at this point (.252) than even the Angels do. Justin Duchscherer (2.27 ERA) has been the ace of the staff, with youngster Dana Eveland providing a nice surprise. And setup man Santiago Casilla (0.93 ERA, 0.84 WHIP) has been a revelation. The A’s have managed to keep the ball in the park (37 homers allowed is second in the majors), but without a lot power, speed, or proven veteran pitching, you get the impression that Oakland is doing this with smoke and mirrors. I understand the sports betting argument; the artful management team, led by Billy Beane, has done this before. But Oakland faces more of an uphill battle than its 3.5-game deficit (as of Monday) would seem to indicate.
The TEXAS RANGERS (+700 in the Top Sportsbooks odds) are another team that is playing much better than logic would seem to dictate. The Rangers ARE hitting homers, and they ARE scoring a lot of runs (3rd in the majors in both categories), and by now there should be no questioning the credentials of Josh Hamilton (15 HR, 63 RBI, .328), who is a leading MVP candidate. Second baseman Ian Kinsler (7 HR, 15 steals, .299) is no big surprise, but the guy I’m taking the wait-and-see attitude about is Milton Bradley, a nine-year veteran who leads the AL in on-base percentage and is on pace to set career highs in just about everything.
Vicente Padilla (7-2, 3.67 ERA) has been excellent for them, but I’m still very skeptical about their pitching, and that’s what they’re going to need in order to stay in this thing. Even if Sidney Ponson (4-1 so far) continues to pitch reasonably well, there is no real stopper in the bullpen. Right now the staff has allowed opposing hitters to bat .280, and only two teams are worse.
The SEATTLE MARINERS (+3500 in the Top Sportsbooks odds) are out of it. The feeling was that the acquisition of left-hander Erik Bedard in the off-season was going to kick this starting rotation into high gear. But Bedard has been up-and-down, and veterans Jarrod Washburn and Miguel Batista are shopworn. Richie Sexson (.200) is further cementing his reputation as the Dave Kingman of his time. The great constant in this lineup for the past seven seasons, Ichiro Suzuki, is stealing bases (24 so far) but he’s hitting “only” .288. That’s how bad things are right now.
I don’t know if there’s any reason to move against the Angels right now. But we’ll continue to check back during the season!
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