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MLB: Boys of Summer Hit the Homestretch

The expanded Major League Baseball post-season has kept September relevant for sports bettors. Here’s your score card, with about 15 games to go.

MLB bettors can be happy that the league expanded the playoffs to 16 teams in this abbreviated season. It brought more interest to the homestretch of the regular season.

Bettors, here’s what you need to know with about 15 games remaining for most teams.

  1. Eight teams from each league will qualify for the post-season. The three division winners and three second place teams in each division will be joined by the next two remaining teams with the best record.
  2. Why that matters: National League teams on the bubble—and those you’d expect to play with urgency—include the San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies. They would have been out of it under the format announced in late June, but when six teams were added to the playoffs on opening day, they were back in play. This is important for the league, too. Tough enough that you have cut-outs for fans at the ballparks. But if teams are out of it and don’t care, viewers won’t show up.
  3. The American League playoff bubble includes the Seattle Mariners, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, and—drumroll please—the New York Yankees. Huh? Isn’t this the team the New York media anointed World Series champs after they picked up Gerrit Cole in the off-season? Well, even the Yankees weren’t immune to the loss of stars Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, James Paxton and Gleyber Torres. Aroldis Chapman has compounded the problem with an inconsistent tenure as the closer. The Yankees, projected for the highest win total along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, 37.5, won’t hit their number. They’re fighting for their playoff lives.

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  1. Who’s hot. The Dodgers will hit the 37.5 over-under number projected for their win total. The Philadelphia Phillies got scorching hot, and will probably reach their number just above 30. The Baltimore Orioles will hit their 21 number with ease.
  2. Who’s not. The Washington Nationals. Their number was 32. We thought that number was too high before the season started (and I played the under), joined by the Boston Red Sox, projected to be above .500. Instead, they’re one of the league’s worst teams.

The next thing to watch for these teams is who gets healthy.

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When the playoffs begin, there will be no byes. The No. 1 seed plays number 8, the 2 seed faces 7, etc. The opening round will be a Best of 3.

After that, the Divisional Series will be a best-of-five, followed by a seven-game League Championship Series and then the Big Show, the World Series.

Check these late odds:

  • Los Angeles Dodgers: +350
  • New York Yankees: +600
  • Tampa Bay Rays: +900
  • Oakland Athletics: +900
  • Atlanta Braves: +1200
  • Minnesota Twins: +1300
  • Houston Astros: +1500
  • Chicago Cubs: +1500
  • San Diego Padres: +1600
  • Chicago White Sox: +1800
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Dave Bontempo, a multiple award-winning writer and broadcaster, has covered sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, HBO and Showtime and called boxing matches on every major network. Dave is a winner of the Sam Taub Award for broadcast excellence given by the Boxing Writers Association of America, and is a member of both the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the Atlantic City International Boxing Hall of Fame. He writes regularly for iGamingPlayer.com and Global Gaming Business magazine.

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