The first half of the MLB season is quickly approaching its end.
The All-Star break is coming next week, so it’s a good time to assess which teams have performed the best and the worst for bettors so far during the 2021 season.
There is beginning to be some separation in the division standings, and keen bettors have noticed which teams have been the most reliable — both to bet on and to fade.
The 3 best MLB teams to bet on
San Francisco Giants (53-32)
The Giants opened the year with +4000 odds to win the National League West at BetMGM. Three months later, they have the best winning percentage in baseball (63.1%) and are in a battle for the division title with the Los Angeles Dodgers (53-33) and San Diego Padres (51-37). The Giants have been stellar as a favorite (34-17), especially at home (22-8).
Boston Red Sox (54-33)
Like the Giants, the Red Sox were a major long shot to win their division — +2500 at BetMGM — when the season began. Now they are the AL East favorite at -175 and currently hold a four-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays while the Blue Jays (43-40) and Yankees (43-41) lag behind. The Red Sox have done a lot of their damage on the road (27-16) and as underdogs (22-13). They are also 21-10 vs. the AL East.
Los Angeles Dodgers (53-33)
The Dodgers have had a few rough stretches during the first half, but have been playing great lately. Before losses to the Marlins on Monday and Tuesday night, the Dodgers had won nine straight games to inch even closer to the Giants in the NL West standings. The Dodgers have been dominant at home (28-13) and in NL West play (22-11).
The 3 worst MLB teams to bet on
Arizona Diamondbacks (24-63)
Things aren’t easy when you’re in a division with the Giants, Dodgers and Padres, but the D-Backs have just been pathetic this year. This is a team that had a 17-game losing streak and won a total of three — yes, three — games in the month of June. The D-Backs are 14-27 at home, 10-36 on the road and 9-28 in the division. If you bet against Arizona, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll make some money.
Baltimore Orioles (28-57)
Life can’t be easy as an Orioles fan. The 2018 (47-115) and 2019 (54-108) seasons were miserable, and this year is on track to be just as bad. The O’s improved to 28-57 with a win over the Blue Jays on Tuesday night. Baltimore has actually won four of its last seven games. That may not seem like much, but this is a team that endured a 2-16 stretch last month. Small victories.
Pittsburgh Pirates (32-53)
The Pirates have actually been respectable (19-24) when playing at home. They are even on a three-game winning streak right now. On the road, however, has been a different story. The Pirates are 13-29 when playing away from PNC Park this season. Even worse, the Pirates are 11-26 against NL Central opponents this year.
Other MLB trends to know
The Rockies are 31-17 at home and 6-32 on the road. As a favorite, the Rockies are 16-4. As an underdog, they are 21-45.
The three best over teams: Twins (53-28-3), Astros (51-33-2) and Angels (51-34).
The three best under teams: Nationals (53-28-3), Cubs (48-33-5) and Marlins (45-35-4).
Who cashed tickets on Tuesday?
The NBA Finals began on Tuesday night and the Phoenix Suns came away with a 118-105 victory. Giannis Antetokounmpo was back in the lineup for the Bucks, but the Suns turned in a stellar effort and easily covered the spread. The Suns were favored by as much as six points at BetMGM in the lead up to Game 1, but it dropped to 4.5 when it was confirmed that Antetokounmpo would play.
In the first of two Euro 2020 semifinals, Italy emerged with a victory over Spain on penalty kicks. The match never nudged off a 1-1 draw even after extra time, but the Italian side punched a ticket to the final, thanks to a 4-2 advantage in the shootout. A regulation draw was +220 at BetMGM, and the game stayed under the total of 2.5.
There was also The Match IV featuring Tom Brady and Phil Mickelson vs. Bryson DeChambeau and Aaron Rodgers. DeChambeau and Rodgers were the favorites at -175 and they came away with a 3 and 2 victory. Rodgers ended the showdown with a birdie putt on the 16th hole. The event raised $2.6 million for charity.
Can England avoid heartbreak?
England has the chance to make its first Euro final on Wednesday when it faces Denmark in the semifinals of Euro 2020.
England has never finished better than third in the Euros, but is a significant favorite at -145 at BetMGM with the potential to advance to the final against Italy on Sunday. Denmark is a heavy underdog at +450 while a draw (in regulation) is +260. The current over/under is 2.5.
Yahoo Sports’ Nick Bromberg has a preview and picks for the match.
Stanley Cup returns to Tampa with storm looming
Tropical Storm Elsa is gaining strength as it approaches the coast of Florida, yet Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals will apparently proceed as scheduled.
The Montreal Canadiens avoided a sweep by besting the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in overtime on Monday night. Now the Lightning get the chance to hoist the Cup on their home ice. They are significant favorites at -250 at BetMGM. The Canadiens are listed at +190 and the over/under is set at 5 goals.
Wednesday's best bet
While I was dead wrong with my Bucks +6 pick in the NBA Finals on Tuesday, I nailed the over in the Phillies-Cubs game. The total was 9.5 and the over hit by the end of the third inning in an eventual 15-10 win for the Phillies.
The Phillies have been a volatile team this year, especially with the shakiness of their bullpen. But the Cubs are in the midst of an 11-game losing streak with Zack Wheeler on the mound for Philly on Wednesday night. Wheeler boasts a 2.05 earned-run average and hasn't allowed a run in four of his last five starts.
The Phillies are -130 on the moneyline at BetMGM and +135 (-1.5) on the run line. I was tempted by the run line at plus money, but I don't trust the bullpen. I'll take the Phillies at -130.
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