Submitted by Wayne Root on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 at 2:00 PM
There’s been more than the usual buzz in Las Vegas about baseball this summer. The regulars are still betting the sport like always. But, we have a lot of excitement right now regarding three relatively “local’ teams.
*The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing great, and winning in exciting fashion. Bettors really love POWER teams, and the Dodgers are able to overpower many opponents in their current form. I’ve always reminded you that Las Vegas is basically a suburb of Los Angeles for sports betting purposes. That’s really coming into play with the Dodgers playing so well.
*The Arizona Diamondbacks are off to a great start as well. Las Vegas does fall into that franchise’s local TV window (along with five other MLB teams!). And, we certainly get more coverage of the D-backs here than any of you living on the East Coast receive. While the support is nowhere near as strong as what we see with the Dodgers, some D-backs backers are coming out of the woodwork for this year’s turnaround.
*The Colorado Rockies have had a swagger about them since the beginning of the season. They’re also on the local media radar in a way that will generate some interest during the best of times. It was easy to forget that because it’s been so long since “the best of times” was something you’d say about the Rockies!
The fact that those three are all playing great…and are all in the same division with close geographic proximity to Las Vegas…has really energized baseball betting to this point in the season. Cubs fans are still betting the Cubbies because they believe a turnaround is imminent. Yankees and Red Sox fans are getting active with that AL East race developing. Only Giants fans are broke! I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve seen so many sportsbooks so crowded for baseball betting and watching.
Obviously, it’s too early to make any guarantees. But, I wouldn’t be shocked at all if one of these three dominant teams from the NL West goes all the way this season.
*The Dodgers are loaded, and legitimate
*The Rockies are as “for real” as you can be in the most important stats
*The Diamondbacks need to score more runs on the road, but are better than most of the NL
Washington is the most obvious threat right now in the rest of the NL. But, bettors should be a bit skeptical until we see more of what the Nationals can do when playing top opposition. Of their 71 games to this point in the season, only 17 have come against teams with records of .500 or better. It’s not hard to “look” great when you’re in a horrible division…and when you can pick your spots for peak effort against outsiders. Remember that the Dodgers, Rockies, and D-backs have to run into each other throughout the season. Roughly HALF of Colorado’s games have been played against opponents at .500 or better. And, the Rockies have played more road games than home games so far.
I’ll say it this way…the Dodgers clearly have World Championship talent, and the Rockies are closer to that than you were probably thinking. Washington appears to have World Championship talent…but bullying bad teams in the regular season doesn’t mean you can beat good teams in October.
The Cubs? This has been one long hangover! Chicago can definitely get things figured out by October in their weak division. But, many of last year’s stars have stopped playing like stars. The three NL West powers are all playing with a chip on their shoulder and something to prove. Chicago did that last year, and may not have that intangible gear any more.
What about the American League? Whoever survives the NL will have its hands full in the Fall Classic. Houston has built a champion from the ground up. Are they about to become the Golden State Warriors of baseball? Whoever survives the AL East will have a real shot. In the Central, the Cleveland Indians are in the same boat as the Cubs…possibly having spent too much of their desire and intensity a season ago.
I can assure you that I’ll keep looking for value spots to bet the NL West powers. You’ll rarely find value on the Dodgers because the market has been pricing them like a 100-plus win team all season. But, Colorado and Arizona? The market has been giving away money to their backers since April. The lines are adjusting much more slowly to the new reality. Last time we were together, we talked about how long it takes for oddsmakers and sharps to “catch down” to disappointing teams. They still haven’t caught up to Colorado and Arizona.
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