Submitted by Wayne Root on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 12:00 PM
There are several interesting stories developing right now in the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Among them are the number of potential “Cinderella” stories across the divisions where surprise teams are in contention.
Will we see some darkhorses or Cinderellas in the postseason brackets come October? WAYNE ALLYN ROOT is THE KING OF UPSETS because I know how to spot true value teams worth betting rather than short term flukes who are about to fall apart.
Let’s look at a few of these surprise contenders.
NL Central: MILWAUKEE BREWERS
The Brewers enter the new week with a 1.5-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals, and a shocking two-game lead over the defending World Champion Chicago Cubs. This is a Cubs team that was supposed to make another run at 100 victories on the way back to the World Series!
Milwaukee has been a pleasant surprise. But, can they keep it going?
That is probably up to Eric Thames. He’s off to a fantastic start with a loaded .306 batting average that includes 13 home runs a fourth of the way through the season. If he maintains that pace all season, then the Brewers are likely to at least have a winning record even if they don’t make the playoffs. Superstar sluggers can carry teams to the playoffs.
History suggests he’ll probably cool off some, reducing the team’s chances to really matter in 2017. Also worth noting, the Brewers are 9-13 this season against teams with a record of .500 or better. That tells us they’ve been bullying bad teams or slow starters, rather than playing high quality baseball.
NL West: COLORADO ROCKIES
The surprise leaders of the NL West over the Los Angeles Dodgers have definitely upgraded their roster this season. Most important here would be the tactical decisions the franchise has (finally!) made about building a pitching staff. Just be aware that a 9-0 record in one-run games has created some illusions about true greatness. Nobody can win all the close ones through a season. Colorado’s current 28-17 record is about four games better than it should be. Think of them as a 24-21 team that has a chance to play Wildcard caliber ball all season, and you’ll probably have them pegged correctly.
NL West: ARIZONA ROCKIES
Arizona is also ahead of the Dodgers in the standings. There’s probably more to like about Arizona than Colorado right now given an edge of +47 to +17 in run differential. But, the Diamondbacks have played SEVEN more home games than road games. A very friendly home-heavy early schedule has helped make them look like a juggernaut. Let’s see where they stand when that evens out.
AL East: BALTIMORE ORIOLES
It seems like the Orioles are a surprise team every season by market standards. Manager Buck Showalter is always ahead of the curve. There’s a lot to like about this Baltimore team thus far. They have a winning record against quality opposition, while facing more of those than usual out of the gate. They also have played more road games than home games. The only real strike against maintaining this early pace is their 7-1 record in extra-inning games. No team can do that “on purpose,” which means the O’s are due to lose some nailbiters down the road.
AL Central: MINNESOTA TWINS
There are so many leaks in this boat that it’s hard to know where to begin. Yes, the Twins lead the disappointing AL Central at the quarter pole. But, they have a negative run differential. They’ve played EIGHT more home games than road games (yet were still outscored!). They have an unimpressive 9-13 record against opponents at .500 or better. This team has pretender written all over it, which is likely to be exposed over the last three-fourths of the season.
AL West: TEXAS RANGERS
The Rangers didn’t look like they had any chance to be a Cinderella a couple of weeks ago. Then they won 10 games in a row! Now they’re very much in the thick of at least the Wildcard race behind loaded Houston. They’re currently 24-21 in the standings despite having a 4-7 record in one-run games. If Yu Darvish can stay healthy as the ace of the staff…this is definitely a team that can return to the postseason.
There are a lot of “ifs” in play with all of these teams. Some will answer those in positive fashion. Others will be afterthoughts by August.
Beating baseball is a day-by-challenge leaving little time to come up for air and think. Be sure you’re focusing on the following keys when trying to find daily upsets or longterm Cinderellas.
*The ability to score runs, because you have to outscore opponents!
*Quality bullpens that can protect late leads
*A proven ability to compete superior teams rather than just winning as favorites
*Team depth that can handle occasional injuries to starters
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I do think the baseball world is in for a few surprises. Not all of the projected powers are really solid enough to make it past 90 wins. I think we’ll see at least one Cinderella story, if not more. Do you want to find out about these smart betting teams after the fact when the media tells you the obvious? Or, do you want to CASH TICKETS with them throughout the season?! It’s time for you to go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!