The All-Star break can be a challenging period for MLB fans. Analyzing divisional races and betting odds is difficult at break time because, historically, teams can change direction after the break. Shifting momentums see struggling teams regrouping and turning their fortunes around during this time. With that in mind, let’s examine three divisional races as teams gear up for their last games prior to the break.
AL East: Tampa Bay Rays vs Baltimore Orioles
This is the only divisional pennant race in the American League that really isn’t all that close. However, things could tighten up a little bit.
The Rays have not looked like an amazing team for quite some time now. Since their 13-0 start to the regular season, they are just 44-34 to get to where they are now: 57-34. Losers of six straight games, Tampa Bay lost at home to the Atlanta Braves on Friday night 2-1.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles won their third straight and that sees them pull within three games of the Rays for the divisional lead. It’s a certainty that Tampa Bay will be in first place when the break starts after the weekend. However, Baltimore, New York, Toronto, and even Boston all have to be thinking that they can target the slumping Rays.
Boston was among the victors on Friday. They defeated the Oakland Athletics 7-3 to gain a game on Tampa Bay. Boston remains 10 games back of the divisional lead and their fans might be more interested in the Wild Card standings, where they are just a few games back of New York. The Yankees lost on Friday while Toronto and Baltimore both won. Accordingly, the AL East is getting just a little tighter than what it was just a week ago.
AL Central Division: Cleveland looks like a value bet
The Cleveland Guardians emerged victorious in their Friday night clash against the Kansas City Royals. This game marks the start of the final series for Cleveland before the All-Star break. Lately, the Guardians have been displaying their dominance over their opponents. Although they suffered a series loss to the Atlanta Braves, overall, Cleveland has been enjoying a decent run of form.
Meanwhile, Minnesota lost again on Friday night and that means the Guardians are just 0.5 games back of the Twins. You can’t quite discount Detroit or Chicago in the AL Central at this point. However, Minnesota and Cleveland are the clear front-runners right now.
AL West: Texas Rangers vs Houston Astros
The Texas Rangers, of the AL West, put a win up on the board on Friday night against the Washington Nationals. The Rangers have been facing some struggles in recent times, with a record of 4-6 in their last ten games. However, they managed to secure a 7-2 victory on the road on Friday, which increased their lead to three games in the American League (AL) West division.
The Houston Astros have generally been gaining ground lately, going 7-3 in their last ten games. This impressive performance has helped them close the gap with the Rangers despite losing a game in the standings on Friday. Meanwhile, the LA Angels, another team in the same division, have fallen to 7.5 games back. This setback has been further compounded by the injury to their star player, Mike Trout, which has significantly impacted their chances in the divisional race.
As it stands, the current pennant race in the AL West division seems to be primarily between the Texas Rangers and the Houston team, with both teams vying for the top spot.
Betting recommendation: our recommendation from all of this is to take the Guardians to win their division at +200 with Unibet Sportsbook.
Further reading: Vermont sports betting and college sports