Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, July 14, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The best baseball is once again being played in the American League. That’s group has been dominating the National League for several seasons now in Interleague play. They hold a significant edge through the midpoint of 2014. What’s most important for handicappers to know though is that the true elite in the sport are all in the American League.
AL TEAMS GAMES OVER .500
LA Angels +20
Toronto and Kansas City +2
To give you some context for the whole Major Leagues, the best mark in the NL belongs to the LA Dodgers at +11. The “big three” in the AL are the “big three” for the whole majors. Baltimore, fourth best in the AL, would lead two NL divisions and be tired for first in the other.
(Quick sidebar: what happened to Toronto?! The Blue Jays were a first place team for WEEKS! But, they and the Royals…who spent a few hours in first place…are clearly way behind the league’s elite right now).
We’ve talked a lot about Oakland this year in the NOTEBOOK because they’ve been so consistently good, and they’ve played in several marquee series. Don’t lose sight of what the surging Angels have accomplished. Slot starts sometimes keep a team off the media radar way too long. YOU need to have the Halos on your radar given their recent form and good health.
Let’s run a few notes division by division…
Truly stunning how this division has fallen apart in 2014. The Boston Red Sox are the defending World Champions…and were supposed to field a top quality team again this year. Pundits who weren’t picking the Bosox were picking Tamp Bay. Both of those teams nine games UNDER the .500 mark at the break. The New York Yankees have suffered so many injuries that you can’t take them seriously in the second half. They’re in danger of a second half collapse because so little frontline talent can contribute. That leaves disappointing Toronto, and recently hot Baltimore, who you’ve already read about.
Detroit took its eye off the ball for a few weeks, and saw inexplicably bad performances from Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander on the mound. But, they righted that ship in fairly short order. Kansas City’s recent run to the top now seems like a short-term fluke. Both the Royals and Cleveland have a shot to get hot and compete for the second of the two Wildcard spots (assuming either the A’s or Angels get one of them). Somebody mediocre may sneak into the playoffs and it might as well be them! The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins have gradually drifted off the pace in a way that’s surprised nobody.
The sleeper here in terms of Las Vegas betting value is obviously Seattle. Oakland and the LA Angels generally get market respect, particularly at home with their best pitchers. Seattle does with King Felix, but now much with the other guys who have helped them move up to +7 on our earlier scale. If the playoffs started today, the Mariners would be in with the second Wildcard. We hope you recognized the collapse of the injury-riddled Texas Rangers as it was starting to happen. We purposely DIDN’T talk about it much because it was something the office was exploiting when value presented itself. Few baseball experts thought the Rangers would be the worst team in Texas before the Break…but they trail the Houston Astros by 1.5 games after a string of very bad recent results.
We’re very much looking forward to the resumption of baseball in a few days. You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S All-Star side and total right here at the website in the hours leading up to first pitch. If you have any questions about second half baseball, or the coming football season, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155.
It’s back to football Wednesday as we resume our college conference previews. Here’s the upcoming two-sport schedule here in the NOTEBOOK…
Wednesday: College Football…ACC Atlantic Division Preview
Thursday: College Football…ACC Coastal Division Preview
Friday: MLB Series Preview…choosing between LAD/St. Louis and Baltimore/Oakland
Saturday: College Football…Big 10 “East” Preview
Sunday: College Football…Big 10 “West” Preview
Monday: MLB Series Preview…either LAD/Pittsburgh and Baltimore/LA Angels
Enjoy the All-Star game (hopefully with BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK)…then take this break in the action to set yourself up for MONTHS of moneymakers in both football and baseball. Every dollar you make from now through August will multiply itself over several times before the Super Bowl!