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AL East Second Half Future Odds

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With nearly 100 games down in the 2013 regular season, the AL East has emerged as the undisputed best division in baseball with four legitimate playoff contenders, including the Boston Red Sox, who entered the All-Star break leading the league in wins (58). However, Boston’s lead is now just 2.5 games and with so many formidable clubs in the hunt, the East title is truly up for grabs. Who will reach out and grab it by year’s end? Let’s take a look at the updated AL East futures, courtesy of Bovada.lv.

Boston Red Sox -125

As the division leaders for the majority of the season, the Bo Sox are still the favorites, but with more than 60 games remaining, their slim lead makes them far from a lock to win the East. Three other teams (Tampa, Baltimore, New York) are within just six games of Boston, so any minor skid could see the Sox slip into second, or even third place.

And during the long, grueling MLB schedule, such a skid is likely imminent. The Sox have relied on offense to win games – leading the league in runs scored – but what happens when the bats cool off? Although I like the Red Sox, I don’t like them so much at -125. Let’s look at some other clubs.

Tampa Bay Rays +250

After a slow start, the Rays cruised into the break, winning nine of of their last 10 while positioning themselves within 2.5 games of the lead. With a good balance of offense and pitching, the Rays have been able to hang tough with the best teams in the league and they have been able to withstand significant injuries to some of their key players.

With David Price back in the starting rotation and pitching just as well as he did before he went on the DL, the Rays should be even stronger in the second half. At +250, bettors are getting good value with the Rays and a better overall future pick than with the Red Sox.

Baltimore Orioles +500

The Orioles sure hit the cover off the ball during the first half and their offense carried them to a 53-43 record at the break – which is 4.5 games back of the lead – but can their hot hitting last? Chris Davis led the way, as he belted 37 homers and drove in 97 runs, but it’s hard to imagine he’ll be able to duplicate those kinds of numbers in the second half of the season.

In any other division, the Orioles might be the favorite this season, but unfortunately, they seem destined for a second or third place finish in the East. Still, +500 gives bettors a great low-risk/high-reward type of wager that could yield big dividends if the O’s make a strong second half showing. Not a terrible way to go here, but don’t put too much stock in Baltimore to win the division.

New York Yankees +700

Riddled with high-profile injuries, the Yankees’ 2013 campaign seemed doomed from the start, but they’ve surprised many by staying in the hunt, as they coasted into the break just six games back of the lead with a 51-44 record.

The Yanks will have captain Derek Jeter back in the second half, but there’s no telling how productive he’ll be. In returning to the lineup for the first time all season last week, he was forced to leave the game early after straining his quad. While New York has given a valiant effort this season, its hopes of winning the East is bleak. Even at +700, I would stay away from this bet.

Toronto Blue Jays +2200

Finally, we have the Blue Jays. After landing some of the offseason’s top free agents – including 2012 Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey and slugger Melky Cabrera, the Jays were considered the favorite to win the 2013 World Series. Obviously, things haven’t panned out for Toronto, as it sits in last place in the East at 11.5 games back.

However, with the amount of talent the Jays have, you would think there is a decent chance they could turn things around. The only problem is, they are chasing four teams, not just one, so their chances of catching all of them are slim to none, as evidenced by their +2200 odds. Still, crazier things have happened in baseball, so throwing down a very small wager might not hurt.

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