1: Pittsburgh Pirates (53-34, +$2,402) (LW: 1): The Pirates actually lost back to back series last week, and there is going to be at least a pause in the fans that have already locked this team into the playoffs. Remember that this is the time of year that the swoon normally happens for Pittsburgh, and going 2-4 in six games against the Phillies and the Cubs has to be concerning, especially with five of the next seven series coming against teams that are in the thick of the playoff fight.
2: Oakland Athletics (52-37, +$1,267) (LW: 2): Oakland hasn’t lost back to back games since June 22nd and 23rd, and that’s the way to ultimately make up some ground on the competition in the American League. We aren’t so sure how this lineup is ultimately doing it, but when you look at the first half numbers for some of these players, you have to be amazed. Josh Donaldson, Brandon Moss, Eric Sogard… Who are these guys? If you don’t know their names now, you’d better learn them before the playoffs get started, because they’ll be there, and they’ll probably be bashing the baseball.
3: Boston Red Sox (54-36, +$1.091) (LW: 5): The Red Sox had won five games in a row before blowing a bad one to the Angels on Saturday in the wee hours of the night on the East Coast. The team gave up a four-run lead in the ninth inning, and not surprisingly, it was shut down in the next game as well. The hope is that the rest of this West Coast trip doesn’t go as poorly as those last two games did in Anaheim, or when the team looks up, the rest of the AL East might be right on its backside, especially with the way that Tampa Bay is playing.
4: Cleveland Indians (46-42, +$929) (LW: 3): The opportunity was there for the Tribe to make a statement to the Tigers, but they were beaten in two of the first three games of their series at home and really need to make sure that they get Monday’s game to avoid the possibility of going into the break back five games or something horrid like that. We just get the feeling that this team, in spite of its 46-42 record, is set to swoon out of the race. The time might be here to hit the fade button on the Indians.
5: Baltimore Orioles (49-40, +$883) (LW: 4): Had the Orioles been able to win their series in the Bronx, they would have really put a crippling blow on the Yankees. However, the series was only salvaged when 1B Chris Davis blasted a homer off of Mariano Rivera to take the final game on Sunday. It was a fitting end to a fitting week for the man they call “Crush,” as he was the top All-Star Game vote getter, and he now has a league-best 33 bombs on the season. Sixty isn’t out of the question.
6: St. Louis Cardinals (53-34, +$731) (LW: 7): It’s good to be back at home. Though the Cardinals have a better record on the road this year than they do at Busch Stadium, coming home for five games against the Astros and the Marlins is always good for the psyche as long as you get the job done. St. Louis has done just that when push has come to shove, avenging a bad series in South Beach last month with a three-game sweep in the Gateway to the West. There’s no reason not to go into the break with a lead in the NL Central with series left against the ‘Stros and Cubs.
7: Arizona Diamondbacks (47-41, +$556) (LW: 11): The D’Backs came up with a big time week when they needed it most. The rest of the NL West was really starting to stalk the Snakes coming into a 10-game home stand to end the first half of the year. Things could have gotten ugly if not for the fact that Arizona came up with an emphatic sweep of the Rockies, winning the three games by the combined score of 22-2. It was a complete display for a team that looks a lot healthier now than it did three days ago.
8: New York Yankees (48-40, +$422) (LW: 14): We have to admit that we left the Yankees for dead after getting swept last week by the Orioles. Now, they were shockingly a home run allowed by Mariano Rivera away from sweeping Baltimore back. It’s not the end of the world though, as it was an incredibly profitable week for a New York team that could be getting back its captain, Derek Jeter just after the All-Star break. Perhaps the boys in pinstripes aren’t dead after all, but we still have to remember that they are in fourth place in the division, albeit by just a half game.
9: Texas Rangers (51-37, +$213) (LW: 8): And that’s what happens when you lose a game to the Astros at home… Texas was a -320 favorite on Saturday night with Yu Darvish on the mound against Houston, and the strangest of things happened… He got beaten and beaten badly. Sure, the Rangers won three of their last four games over the course of the week, but the damage from that one game was enough to lose money in that stretch. Now, it’s off to Baltimore and Detroit for a very tough end of the first half of the season.
10: Tampa Bay Rays (49-40, +$136) (LW: 15): We’ve been saying all season long that when David Price comes back, the Rays might finally go on their first major run of the year. We were right. Sure, the schedule hasn’t been all that tough with games against the White Sox and the Astros, but there are seven more games ahead against the Twins and Astros at Tropicana Field. There’s a good chance for Tampa Bay to go into the break at perhaps 54-42 as one of the hottest teams in the bigs. And this team only got one All-Star on it? And it was Ben Zobrist?
11: Atlanta Braves (50-38, +$103) (LW: 6): Washington is playing really well right now. Atlanta flat out isn’t. Losing four out of six games to the Phillies and the Marlins is inexcusable when you’re trying to win a division title, and though the Braves are going to end up going into the All-Star break with the lead in the NL East, with the Nats on their backs, they are going to be feeling the pressure for sure over the course of the second half of the season.
12: Cincinnati Reds (50-38, +$92) (LW: 12): It was a rather ho hum week for the Reds, as they didn’t accomplish much but didn’t lose much ground either. The problem that they’re going to have going forward though, is that the rest of the teams around them are playing well. Pittsburgh didn’t have a great week, but it has been one of the hottest teams in the game, while the Cardinals just continue winning. With Washington playing well too, it seems as though the squeeze might ultimately be on one of the early favorites in the National League this season.
13: Minnesota Twins (37-48, -$134) (LW: 10): Over the course of this last two and a half weeks, the Twins have gone from fringe contender to total pretender. They are just 4-12 in their last 16 games, and they have proven that they can’t play against the big boys. They were swept for four games at home by the Yankees, and that was probably the death sentence for the season, as it they hadn’t gotten their last rights at the start of April. The motto for the rest of the year: At least we’re not the White Sox.
14: Toronto Blue Jays (43-45, -$147) (LW: 13): Normally speaking, a team can go 2-4 over the course of a week and 5-9 over the course of two weeks and not ultimately be crippled. In the AL East though, you’re going to get destroyed if that’s what happens. The Jays were 38-36 back at that point, and they were actually ahead of the Rays and right on the tails of the Yankees and Orioles. Now, all three teams are at least five games clear as we head towards the All-Star break. Toronto’s massive payroll again feels like it is yielding a last place finish in the division.
15: San Diego Padres (40-49, -$277) (LW: 9): The Pads only went 2-6 two weeks ago, and they followed that up by going 0-7. Sure, the NL West title isn’t all that far out of reach, but for a team that is playing so poorly, there is no way to feel as though San Diego can really get back into the swing of things. The only good news is that the team is back at home for the rest of the first half, where it is 25-18 this year, but that 15-31 record on the road is as ugly as it gets.
16: Washington Nationals (46-42, -$368) (LW: 19): Bryce Harper is back in the fold, and the Nationals are starting to crush the baseball. They’re batting .341 as a team over the course of their last four games, and they have averaged 8.0 runs per game in that stretch. Not surprisingly, all of the games were victories, and that has brought Washington back within just four games of the Braves for the top slot in the division. Look out. The Nats might be the team to back in the second half.
17: Kansas City Royals (41-44, -$385) (LW: 18): Kansas City had another of these 3-3 weeks that make bettors in July and August wish for football season. The dog days of summer are here, and this is when the Royals really need to get on their high horse and make a move if they are going to stick around. These 3-3 weeks aren’t going to cut it forever, especially when you’re still below .500 the week before the All-Star Game. This upcoming series in the Bronx gives the Royals a chance to make a real statement.
18: Houston Astros (32-57, -$432) (LW: 16): Nothing like winning a game as a +300 underdog and still losing money for the week, Astros… In fairness to Houston, this stretch of schedule has been ridiculously tough regardless of who you are. The team had to play two against the Cards, three against the Halos when they were hot, four against the Rays, and three against the Rangers, and now they have two more against St. Louis and three more against Tampa Bay to close the first half. Even the best teams in the league wouldn’t have gone .500 in that stretch in all likelihood.
19: Chicago Cubs (38-48, -$492) (LW: 20): You wouldn’t know it just by looking at the standings, but the Cubs are 13-10 since June 13th and are playing just about as well as anyone ever could have expected them to. They just took two out of three from the Pirates, one of the best teams in baseball, but they are about to embark on a real horror of a stretch of schedule. After a makeup game against the White Sox, they come home to face the Angels for two, the Cardinals for four, and then after the break, it’s off to the West Coast for series against the Rockies, Diamondbacks, and Giants.
20: Seattle Mariners (39-49, -$681) (LW: 24): A great week for Seattle bettors for sure, as the team went 4-2 and picked up $422 in profits against a very tough schedule. In the one loss to the Reds, the M’s got their money’s worth, as they allowed 13 runs. For the rest of the week combined, they only surrendered 11 runs. The most surprising stat for Seattle as far as we’re concerned? There are only two players, Kendrys Morales and Kyle Seager who have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title. No one else on the team has played more than 70 out of 88 games.
21: Philadelphia Phillies (43-46, -$687) (LW: 22): Winning three out of four games combined against the Braves and the Pirates has to be tantalizing for the Pirates. They’re still only 7 ½-games out of the NL East crown, and that has to at least give them a bit of confidence that they can go on a run. The schedule is full of both studs and duds the rest of the way until the July 31st deadline, and we don’t know if GM Ruben Amaro Jr. is ever really going to be able to make the determination if this team is buying or selling when push comes to shove.
22: Colorado Rockies (42-47, -$779) (LW: 17): It was a terrible time for the Rockies to slide for sure. Most had the feeling that they were going to be beaten in their series by the Diamondbacks in the Desert, but to get swept was brutal. For a team that is only 16-26 on the road, the fact that the last seven games before the break are all on the road could be the fatal blow to the campaign, especially if the offense is only going to produce two total runs in a three-game series like it did against Zona.
23: Detroit Tigers (48-39, -$866) (LW: 25): The Tigers have at least a bit of breathing room now, as they took two of their first three at Progressive Field against the Tribe and have to feel like they are accomplished, even if they get beaten in the last game of the series on Monday. Miguel Cabrera had another four hits on Sunday with another homer, raising his stats this year to a .368 average with 28 homers and 90 RBIs. If not for the presence of Chris Davis in Baltimore, Miggy would be on his way to another Triple Crown, and if he were in the National League, he’d be running away with all three categories.
24: Miami Marlins (32-55, -$878) (LW: 23): The Marlins had won eight out of 10 games before getting swept by the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. However, when you look at what they have accomplished on the run-line of late, you have to be impressed. Miami is 16-4 in its last 20 games on the run-line, including winning a few at -1.5 and big time plus odds. The Fish are actually playing somewhat respectable ball at the moment, and that could go a long way towards giving them a bit of credibility in the future.
25: New York Mets (37-48, -$1,129) (LW: 26): About the only thing worth talking about if you’re a Mets fan right now is the idea that Matt Harvey could be starting in the All-Star Game. It’s a tough sell for a man that is just 7-2, but it isn’t his fault that he pitches on a terrible team. Harvey has a 2.27 ERA and already has 141 strikeouts in just 123 innings of work. The fact that this kid could even reasonably start the game on his home field at the All-Star Game would be a huge accomplishment, especially considering how many Hall of Fame pitchers never had the chance to do anything nearly that awesome.
26: Los Angeles Dodgers (42-45, -$1,185) (LW: 27): Had you told us even four weeks ago that the Dodgers would be in second place in the NL West with a chance to be at .500 at the All-Star break, we would have laughed at you. Alas, that’s what is probably going to come of this, as the team has gone 12-3 over the course of its last 15 games and has done a ton of damage to NL West teams along the way (especially the Giants, who they are 5-1 against in six games in that run).
27: San Francisco Giants (40-47, -$1,299) (LW: 21): San Fran took another major step backwards this week, and about the only saving grace is that both San Diego and Colorado played horrible ball over the course of the week as well. The problem comes in trying to run down Arizona, though. The NL West is clearly only getting one team in the playoffs, and the distance between the Diamondbacks and the defending World Series champs is widening by the week at this point.
28: Los Angeles Angels (43-45, -$1,509) (LW: 29): You don’t typically look at a game in July and say that that was the one that changed the season, but the win on Saturday for the Halos over the Red Sox might have done just that. LA was down four runs with two outs in the ninth inning and rallied for a win in extra innings, and from there, it went on to take Sunday’s game as well to get within two games of the .500 mark. Things could have been severely worse had the Halos had Saturday finished up in bad shape, and now, they at least have to feel like they’re somewhat in the discussion.
29: Milwaukee Brewers (35-52, -$1,841) (LW: 30): The Brewers lead the majors in stolen bases with 72, and they caught the White Sox for the 29th best money record in the game. What else can we say positive about the Brewers? The season is less than 80 games away from being over with. It will be interesting to see what Milwaukee can sell off by July 31st, as the future is all that this team is building for.
30: Chicago White Sox (34-51, -$1,868) (LW: 28): Make that 10-27 in 37 games for the White Sox, who are on the worst streak that we have seen a team hit this year. The club has looked completely lifeless over the course of these last eight games offensively, averaging just 2.13 runs per game in that stretch. It’s inexcusable for a team that does have at least a little bit of talent on it. That talent though, is clearly going to be heading elsewhere by the time the trade deadline comes and goes.
Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.