Hey guys Sam here from 4 Down Territory. We know you haven’t read much from us lately (sorry about that!), but we are working on getting back into the content groove soon. Fortunately, Matt Spivak, a friend of mine, has volunteered his services to bring you all some MLB content on a regular basis this season so you’ll be hearing from him all summer and into the fall. Also, the regular 4 Down gang is going to be working on some more stuff soon so stay posted and enjoy!
Happy Friday! We are in the thick of the most entertaining time of the year. March Madness is in full swing, the Masters is right around the corner, the NBA and NHL playoff picture is starting to take shape (RIP LeBron), and MLB teams have wrapped up their Spring stents in Arizona and Florida. What a time to be alive. As we quickly approach Opening Day 2019, excitement is brewing throughout the country. However, about mid-way through the month of April, some of the shine wears off that pretty new penny that we call the MLB season, especially as some teams start off on the wrong side of the board.
What’s the biggest complaint about the MLB regular season? Since there are so many games, they don’t really matter until after the All Star break, right? My friend, nothing could be farther from the truth. Try telling that to Cubs and Rockies fans last year. Both teams missed clinching the division by 1 game, and sure enough, both were subjected to the stress of playing the dreaded 163rd regular season game just to see who was guaranteed a 3-game series and who was forced to play in the Wild Card game.
I completely understand those of you who persist with the flawed logic that not every game matters, but for those that want to make every game matter your dear friend, Casino Steve, will be here to offer three guarantees at least every other weekend to offer some Friday night, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon entertainment. Of course, betting on baseball is the gravest of sins. It’s right up there with clubbing baby seals and stealing ice cream cones from children. However, should you have a wagering friend (some would say “bookie”), and you felt compelled to lay $10, $50, $100 on my recommendations, who am I to judge?
Furthermore, I am so confident in my locks that if I don’t end the season with a 67% record or better, I will run the annual Jingle Bell Run shirtless with some degrading sign around my neck about the true dearth of sports knowledge I possess. I’m not worried enough to even suggest how said sign might read.
With that in mind, let’s get to a couple of preseason predictions. These don’t count on my record, unless I’m right of course. Right now, let’s just look at the American League. Steve doesn’t want to unload all of his knowledge at once. Check back tomorrow for some NL insight.
Overall, this season might be a bit of a snoozer when it gets to September drama with the exception of the AL East. The East should provide theatrics, but the Central and West should be meh (assuming no injuries or trades shift the landscape).
Like last year, the East is a 2-horse race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Right now, the Sox are your value pick. Every sports book is different, but on average, the Yanks are favored to win the East at -120 (you’ll need to wager $120 to win $100). New York solidified their rotation in the offseason with the acquisition of James Paxton, and didn’t suffer any serious offseason losses. However, -120 just isn’t worth the risk with the talent that Boston is bringing to the table. Losing Kimbrel hurts, but I wouldn’t worry about it if you’re a Sox fan.
Casino Steve’s Pick: Boston Red Sox +130
As of March 26, 2019, the Central seems to be very top heavy. The Indians are heavily favored to win the division at -400. The next closest pick is Minnesota at +350. However, if Cleveland stays healthy, expect the Tribe to run away with the division by the 2nd week in September.
Casino Steve’s Pick: Cleveland Indians -400
Same story as the Central, maybe a little more extreme. By mid-September, the Houston Astros lineup should have a healthy dose of minor leaguers sharing reps with the big boys. Right now, the ‘Stros are favored to clinch the West at -625 (some books have them as high as -1000). Yeesh… it’s an expensive risk, but fret not. This pick is safer than the stock market.
Casino Steve’s Pick: Houston Astros -625
Alright, don’t feel like risking big money for small (guaranteed) money? I understand. If you’re looking for pure value picks, I’d take a look at investing in the Tampa Bay Rays, the Oakland Athletics, and the LA Angels.
Yes, the Rays are looking down the double barrel of NY and BOS, but if they are in the hunt in July, they may be making some moves for a Wild Card run. Who knows? If the big dogs are plagued by injuries (big “if”), Tampa has a legitimate shot at winning the East. I’d take the Rays to win at +800. The payoff is well worth the risk of loss. Again, count that money as lost, but the value is pretty strong.
Though it looks like the West is Houston’s to lose, you can walk away with $700 if you invest $100 with Oakland and $850 with the Angels. Baseball is a funny game, and injuries are a real thing. The payout for both Oakland and Los Angeles (of Anaheim) compared to the realistic chance that either team can claim the West makes this investment a diamond in the rough.
Of course, I don’t recommend buying in on Houston, Oakland, and the Angels all at the same time. Simple math people. I’d stick going in deep with the ‘Stros or rolling the dice and taking both the A’s and Angels… but for heaven’s sake, not all 3.
Anyway, that’s all I got for now. Make sure to check back for my NL locks, and remember to settle your account before Opening Day. I’m ready to help you pay off your mortgage over the summer. Have a great day!
Cover Photo Courtesy of AP Photo/David J. Phillip