We’ve reached the All-Star break in the baseball season, and as fans spend the next four days catching their breath before play resumes Friday, here is a concise summation of where we’re at. What’s below is the playoff bracket if the season ended today and betting odds on who will end up in the World Series.
The doubleheader of one-game knockouts between the two wild-cards in each league, would feature Cincinnati-Pittsburgh from PNC Park in the National League, with Texas paying a visit to Tampa in the American League.
(1)Boston vs. Texas/Tampa winner
(2)Oakland vs (3) Detroit
(1) St. Louis vs. Pittsburgh/Cincy winner
(2)Atlanta vs. (3)Arizona
Those matchups give us one rematch from last year, with the A’s-Tigers, who went the full five games in the Division Series before Justin Verlander bailed out Detroit. We also have the entire top half of the National League bracket being an intramural fight among the NL Central and there are a lot of good reasons to think that will hold true to the end, even if you want to debate over who finishes 1-2-3.
THE BETTING ODDS
Detroit remains the favorite to win the American League pennant, at 7-2, with Boston at 4-1 and Oakland at 5-1. I think that makes sense. The Tigers may only have a game and a half lead over the pesky Indians, but they’re the most likely team in the AL to be in the playoffs and that alone has to count for a lot with a futures bet like this. Furthermore, Detroit’s star talent is more likely to shine in a short series, with their bullpen problems perhaps a little more manageable than over a long regular season.
What’s truly surprising is that the Los Angeles Dodgers are 9-2 favorite to win the National League. Forget the NL West—at 2 ½ games back I could see the Dodgers being favored here—but to win the entire league when they’re not even in the bracket as of the All-Star break? When a proven team like St. Louis has the best record in the National League? I don’t get that. The Cards and Braves are each 4-1.
TheSportsNotebook’s MLB coverage looked at division odds throughout last week’s six-day tour where we summed up all the divisions in a statistical snapshot. You can check out each one at the following links…