The 2011 Major League regular season enters the home stretch with about 40 games to go in the 162-game schedule. We already have a pretty good idea of most of the teams that will make it into the postseason, but there are a few division races that could still come down to the wire.
The following is a look at Bodog.Eu’s updated odds for the World Series and the AL and NL Pennant races in an effort to mine some value out of the numbers.
Boston started the season as a 5/2 favorite to win the American League and a 5/1 favorite to win the World Series and not much has happened to change the betting public’s mind as the Red Sox are an even heavier favorite to win the pennant at 5/4 and the second-favorite to win the World Series at 10/3. They are still embroiled in a heated AL East division race with New York, but it is pretty much a given that whichever team finishes second will make it into the playoffs as the wildcard.
The Yankees are the second-favorite to win the AL at 13/5, which is just slightly higher than their opening odds of 5/2. They are the third-favorite to win the World Series at 6/1, which is right where they opened back in April.
The Texas Rangers have built a six-game lead over Los Angeles in the AL West are the third-favorite at 11/2 to make it back to the World Series this season and an 11/1 favorite to actually win it this year. The Rangers’ hitting has remained solid with the best team batting average in the Majors, but their pitching has dropped off over the second half of the season. They unexpectedly won the AL last year so be careful not to count them completely out of the race, but right now the value is not the overall talent of the two teams in the East.
Detroit has battled its way to the top of the Al Central and currently has a three-game lead over the pesky Indians, who keep hanging around. The White Sox are also lurking in the shadows, just 3.5 games back. These three teams will make for an interesting division race down the stretch, but unfortunately the eventual winner will end up being a warm-up match for either Boston or New York in the ALDS.
The Red Sox remain the most complete team in the American League and should be able to pound their way past New York in the ALCS.
Philadelphia put together one of the most potent starting rotations in league history, and so far the plan has worked to almost near perfection. The Phillies currently have the best record in baseball at 78-42 and are on pace to win over 105 games this season. They remain a prohibitive 4/5 favorite to win the NL Pennant and are 2/1 favorites to win the World Series. Philadelphia started the season at even money to win the NL and at 13/4 to win the title, so the current value is thin but could be the closest thing there is to a sure bet.
Just like in the AL, the Phillies biggest competition to get back to the World Series could come from within their own division. Atlanta is 7.5 games back in the NL East, but it pretty much has a stranglehold on the wildcard spot. The Braves opened the season at 10/1 odds to win the NL, but are now the third-favorite at 6/1. They opened at 22/1 to win the World Series, but are now the fifth-favorite at 14/1.
The two other surprising teams making a charge in the NL are the Milwaukee Brewers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Brewers currently lead the fading Cardinals by seven games in the NL Central and the Diamondbacks have opened up a 3.5-game lead over the defending champion Giants. Milwaukee is the now the second-favorite to win the pennant at 5/1 after opening the season at 50/1. Arizona is 10/1 to win the NL after opening at 50/1 as well.
As great of a story as it would be to see one of these two teams make a run like San Francisco did last season, save your money on the long odds here as Philadelphia rolls into the World Series after eliminating Atlanta in five games in the NLCS.
DJ is a freelance writer that concentrates on his true passion in life; the world of sports. He produces a number of articles each week for BangTheBook.com as well as a select group of other websites that specialize in providing the most up-to-date information for the sports gaming industry. His goal is to write insightful articles on a wide variety of sporting topics that can provide an edge to today's sophisticated online player.