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A look at value bets in MLB divisional races one month into season

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Mets Phillies Baseball

Philadelphia's Bryce Harper, right, hopes to point the Phillies to the top of the NL East after a slow start. 

We’re with Yogi Berra on this one: A bad month doesn’t mean much until it means more.

The Boston Red Sox (10-19, ahead of only the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals in the AL) certainly hope there’s wisdom in these words.

And the Philadelphia Phillies, behind the Miami Marlins in the NL East, are crossing their fingers a rough month and COVID crashing the Philadelphia starting rotation is no harbinger for their 2022 fortunes.

What’s real and where are the steals in the 2022 division futures markets? FrontPageBets takes a gander.

(Odds to win the division courtesy of DraftKings.)

NL East: Phillies (+950)

Are you really ready to put your money behind the ... New York Mets?

Sportsbooks report a grave liability to Mets’ World Series bettors, so there’s no doubt some have been emboldened during the team’s hot start.

Even so, this is the division the Atlanta Braves – defending World Series champions, mind you – won without making much noise until September.

The Phillies have been slow-starters as a matter of course and with the mind to spend, this roster figures to be bolstered with a fattened bullpen and speed on the bases. Will New York keep up this pace is the question you need to weigh before putting down on this buy-low option. Consider the offensive numbers for the Phillies against their career averages/projections and a rebound is imminent. Right?

AL Central: Minnesota Twins (+160)

The Chicago White Sox remain the heavy favorite but needed a current six-game winning streak to nudge over .500 and the White Sox are four back of Minnesota going into Monday’s action.

The Twins spent money (Carlos Correa) to put together a respectable lineup and Minnesota’s pitching has been better than expected. Meanwhile, the favored White Sox (-140 to win the Central) are going to be in the race but uneven results are likely to be the norm given the amount of talent residing on the IL. Eloy Jimenez is looking at a July return, Andrew Vaughn hit the IL last week and Lance Lynn remains sidelined.

AL East: Toronto Blue Jays (+170)

We know the New York Yankees are again the all-powerful behemoth winning games at a two-out-of-three pace.

The Blue Jays are 3.5 back as of Monday morning with the Tampa Bay Rays in second place and a decent play to win the East at a +475 bargain rate.

This is a bet on Toronto’s pitching and the Blue Jays recent history of adding talent to fill needs at the trade deadline. If Vlad Guerrero Jr. puts together another MVP push this summer, that won’t hurt Toronto either.

This price won’t likely be available when the Blue Jays wrap the first half with Kansas City and the Oakland A's, and is of buy-now nature for futures players.

AL West: Los Angeles Angels (+255)

Confession time: We really want to recommend the Seattle Mariners at +550 but youth and inexperience in a division dominated by the Houston Astros is holding us back.

MVP candidates Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout push us toward another option in the Angels, who lead the division one month into the season but are anything but comfortable. That’s because the Astros are climbing fast. Winners of seven straight and now just one-half game behind the Angels in the West, Houston’s history cannot be ignored.

If the Angels keep swinging like this, it might not matter. Los Angeles leads the American League with 139 runs scored and a run differential of plus-27 – second in the AL to only the Yankees – shows staying power.

Gambling problem? There is help. Call 1-800-522-4700 or visit the National Council on Problem Gambling for help.


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