September call-ups are just around the corner in Major League Baseball, and with it, teams in the playoff hunt get more depth, teams that have playoff spots all but iced away rest up for the postseason and teams out of the picture get a glimpse of the future. And for baseball bettors it can present an intriguing time of the year.
The American League East race from a betting standpoint appears to be a done deal if you like the Boston Red Sox.
However, for those who recall 1978, when Boston blew a six-game lead in the final month of the season and lost a one-game playoff to the Yankees, perhaps betting on New York at 18-1 at Karamba may make sense for all you Bucky Dent fans out there.
The AL Central is also a runaway, but that still leaves four division races that could get interesting in September.
The defending World Series champion Houston Astros are clearly the favorite in the AL West, fetching odds in the neighborhood of 1-2 at most sports books. The Oakland Athletics are going toe-to-toe with the Astros and are a popular pick right now, with odds at 2-1 at Karamba.
But the Seattle Mariners, who trail by 3.5 games, swept a four-game series with the Astros earlier this month and may be righting what was a sinking ship at the beginning of the month.
Doubters will point to the Mariners’ horrific run differential of -39 through 126 games, almost as bad as the woeful New York Mets. By comparison, the Astros are at +197 and the A’s at +76 through 125 games.
So, yes, the Mariners have won a lot of tight games and could tumble based on historic trends. But they still have plenty of games remaining with the Astros and the A’s, meaning they could still make a move.
Several sports bookmakers have attractive odds, including Ladbrokes at 18-1 and Karamba at a beefy 20-1.
For a division race that is at least in theory close, the Chicago Cubs are the bookies’ choice by far, commanding 1-6 from Paddy Power and similar odds elsewhere.
The Cubs love makes sense. They broke their World Series jinx two years ago, manager Joe Maddon gets the most out of his players and they have experience and a roster built for October. They also get action no matter what, which bets down the odds.
But all that Cubs love also presents opportunities for non-believers.
The Milwaukee Brewers have been hanging around a few games back for awhile now. They still have six games left against the Cubs and are 11-2 both at 888sport and Paddy Power. If you believe in the Brew Crew you can bet on Milwaukee at 11-2 at Karamba.
The Cardinals have been on fire in August and are fetching great odds to win the NL pennant and the World Series. Firing their manager in mid-July seems to have done wonders for the Redbirds, who close the season with three at home against the Brewers and three at the Cubs.
The NL Central race likely comes down to the last week, and if you like St. Louis, you can bet the Cardinals at 15-2 at Paddy Power.
Ok, so yeah it’s a little messed up that the Los Angeles Dodgers are every book’s even-money favorite in the division despite being in third place. That’s what happens when you are saturated with talent, even when you are stumbling.
The Diamondbacks are drawing odds of 2-1 at most online sports books, riding slugging first baseman Paul Goldschmidt and pitchers Zach Greinke and Patrick Corbin. If you believe the Dodgers will continue to struggle, Arizona at 11-2 is a solid bet at 888sport.
The Rockies have gotten hot as of late, but like the Mariners they also have a negative run differential, which as we indicated typically signals trouble.
But in a division beating up on each other, maybe they have enough to muscle through. Bettors have taken note of their recent run but they can still be had for 5-2 at Paddy Power.
Perhaps the least enticing of the competitive MLB division races – the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are locked in a tight race and the odds reflect that.
Paddy Power has the Braves at 5-6 and the Phillies at 11-10, while Ladbrokes puts the Phillies at 13-10. Again, not a ton to get excited about.
The disappointing Washington Nationals sit 7.5 games out of first on August 21 in the division and are fetching 9-1 odds at Paddy Power. If you believe Washington can turn it around on short notice and reclaim some of the form that earned it 97 wins in 2017, then it might be worth a shot.
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