MLB betting: Giants see significant odds improvement, but still NL West long shot behind Dodgers

·6-min read

We’re more than a month into the MLB season, and we’ve seen some surprise teams run out to early leads in their respective divisions.

As such, some MLB division title odds have shifted pretty dramatically at BetMGM.

Giants off to hot start, but still considered NL West long shot

One of the biggest line movements came in the National League West where the San Francisco Giants currently sit in first place and are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s best record at 21-14. The Giants, who have been bolstered by timely power hitting and strong starting pitching, opened the season with +4000 odds to win the West but have since moved to +1800.

Despite the strong start, the Giants still trail the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers (18-17) and San Diego Padres (19-16) in the odds. The Dodgers, despite a recent 2-8 stretch, have seen their division title odds improve from -200 to -400. The Padres, meanwhile, have gone from +175 to open the season to current odds of +250.

The Dodgers have lost five consecutive series but are still loaded with talent. It’s early in the year, but it’s hard to replicate success in baseball. There hasn’t been a repeat World Series champion since 2000, but repeating in the division is a common occurrence. In fact, the Dodgers have won the NL West in eight consecutive seasons.

But that streak has to end some time, right? If you think this is the year, you can get some excellent value on the Giants at +1800. Some bettors have already followed that route as the money distribution in the NL West is pretty even: 34.7% on the Dodgers, 32.2% on the Padres and 24.3% on the Giants.

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - MAY 10: Mauricio Dubon #1 of the San Francisco Giants front, right, and his teammates celebrate defeating the Texas Rangers 3-1 at Oracle Park on May 10, 2021 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
The San Francisco Giants are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL’s best record at 21-14. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

Red Sox, Royals make huge moves

One of the biggest moves in the odds comes out of the American League East, where the Boston Red Sox currently have the best record in baseball at 22-14. The Red Sox opened the season with +2500 odds to win the AL East, well behind the New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.

Now, the Red Sox have vaulted all the way to +300 as they sit three games ahead of the Yankees and Rays in the standings. The Yankees (18-16) are still the betting favorites in the AL East at -125 with the Rays (19-17) third at +450 and the Blue Jays (17-16) at +600. The Baltimore Orioles, meanwhile, started the year with +5000 odds and currently have +10000 odds despite being only 5.5 games out of first place at 16-19.

In the American League Central, the Kansas City Royals were one of the biggest stories of the opening month of the season. The Royals opened the season with +4000 odds to win the division, tied with the Detroit Tigers for the longest odds. That changed quickly, though, as the Royals were 16-9 entering the month of May.

Since then, the Royals have lost nine of 10 to drop to 16-17 and 3.5 games back of first place in the division. Still, the team’s odds skyrocketed up to +500 to win the Central. The Chicago White Sox (19-13) are the current favorites at -145 with the Minnesota Twins next in line at +400 despite a 12-20 record. The Twins opened the year at +140. The Cleveland Indians (18-14) are tied with Kansas City at +500 while the Detroit Tigers (10-24) have plummeted from +4000 to +15000.

Because of their massive odds shifts, the Red Sox, Royals and Giants are “currently BetMGM’s biggest liabilities,” according to BetMGM sports trader Seamus Magee. The Red Sox have attracted 25.3%

Big money on Brewers in NL Central

The NL Central has seen some substantial line movement. Entering the year, the Cincinnati Reds were slight favorites at +225, just ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals (+250), Chicago Cubs (+275) and Milwaukee Brewers (+300).

Just over a month later, the Reds and Cubs are looking up at the Brewers and Cardinals. The Brewers are currently the division favorites at +110 with the Cardinals, who are tied with the Giants for the best record in the National League, are just behind at +125. The Reds and Cubs, meanwhile, have dropped to +750 and +1000, respectively.

Of any MLB team, the Brewers have seen the most money to win their division at BetMGM. As of Tuesday morning, 74.9% of the NL Central money is on Milwaukee. St. Louis, though, has received more individual bets — 38.1% compared to 27.1% for the Brewers. By comparison, the Cardinals have received just 18.1% of the money.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - MAY 08: Avisail Garcia #24 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with Kolten Wong #16 after defeating the Miami Marlins 6-2 at loanDepot park on May 08, 2021 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Of any MLB team, the Milwaukee Brewers have seen the most money to win their division at BetMGM. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

What other teams have attracted big money?

After the Brewers, the New York Mets have the second-highest handle percentage of any team to win its division. The Mets, fresh off the signing of Francisco Lindor, opened the season just behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East pecking order. The Braves had +125 odds; the Mets were +175.

Of the NL East bets, the Mets have received 26% of the bets but 71% of the money. The Braves have received slightly more bets (26.6%) but only 8.7% of the money. The Philadelphia Phillies, now +400 after opening the season with +850 odds, have received 22.5% of the bets and 12% of the NL East money.

Thus far, the NL East has been very competitive. The Mets have a narrow first-place lead with a 16-13 record. The Phillies are a game back at 18-17 and the Braves are 1.5 games back of first with a 17-17 record.

The third-highest handle percentage is the Houston Astros in the AL West. The Astros are the division’s betting favorites at +115 and have received 23.6% of the bets and 66.9% of the money.

The Astros and Seattle Mariners (both 18-17) are currently tied for second place in the AL West behind the Oakland Athletics, who are 21-15. The A’s, who opened the season as slight favorites at +120, currently sit at +145. The A’s haven’t attracted much action at BetMGM, receiving just 8.4% of the bets and 4.6% of the money.

In the AL East, the Yankees have received 24.2% of the bets and 64.9% of the money. The Red Sox have received more bets (25.3%), but considerably less money (14.6%).

Whose odds have dropped?

Compared to the Red Sox, Royals and Giants, there have been some MLB teams whose division odds have moved in the opposite direction.

Here are some notable ones:

  • Miami Marlins (NL East): +1600 to +5000

  • Colorado Rockies (NL West): +3500 to +20000

  • Texas Rangers (AL West): +4000 to +15000

  • Detroit Tigers (AL Central): +4000 to +15000

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