For all of the angst over the New York Yankees after they blew a 4-0 eighth-inning lead to the Boston Red Sox on Sunday, they aren't dead this season. In the standings anyway.
The Yankees are probably dead in the AL East race. They're 9.5 games behind Boston, and eight games behind the second-place Tampa Bay Rays. That's a big hill to climb. But they're only 3.5 games out of the wild card. The Yankees are better equipped to win a one-game wild-card playoff than most teams, because they have one of MLB's true aces in Gerrit Cole. If they can just get into the playoffs, win a wild-card with Cole while getting a little healthier, who knows what could happen next?
If the Yankees are going to make a move toward the wild card, they can't wait too much longer. And it starts with a challenge: The Yankees are +120 underdogs at BetMGM vs. the Rays on Tuesday night.
The reason this week is so important for many teams, including the Yankees, is it could help determine what they do before Friday's trade deadline. If the Yankees can't beat the Rays this week, perhaps they become sellers at the deadline. They could also be buyers, but to what extent? Chasing a wild-card spot probably doesn't lead to a massive move.
The Yankees have been hit hard by injuries, but they've also had some down seasons. The offense hasn't been great, the pitching has been good but far from great, and New York is stuck in neutral. Their plus-5 run differential sums up their mediocrity.
The Yankees are in a decent spot as an underdog on Tuesday night. Starter Jordan Montgomery has pitched well in four starts against the Rays this season (3.86 ERA, 0.90 WHIP). There will be some urgency. I don't love going against the Rays too often and they have been the better team, but the odds on the Yankees and Montgomery are fine.
And if it doesn't start happening for the Yankees this week, it might not happen at all this season.
Here's our first look at Tuesday's sports betting slate:
The Olympics continue
There are plenty of events at the Tokyo Olympics to bet on at BetMGM.
There is some soccer and basketball if you like the traditional team sports, and also the sports we rarely bet on like skateboarding and pentathlon. There's also a few swimming events Tuesday to bet on, like the 200m women's freestyle and the 200m men's butterfly. It's not like you're going to be betting on swimming after the Olympics are done, so here's your chance.
Who cashed tickets on Monday?
The Seattle Mariners, who have been good to bettors lately, had a seven-run comeback to beat the powerful Houston Astros 11-8. The Philadelphia Phillies, who aren't out of the NL East race, came back from deficits of 4-0 and then a ninth-inning deficit of 5-3 to beat the Washington Nationals 6-5. Andrew McCutchen's walk-off home run made Phillies bettors happy. Like the Yankees above, a big move early this week by some teams could affect their decisions at the trade deadline.
MLB back to a full slate
Among the 15 games on Tuesday, all in the evening, the Boston Red Sox are +105 underdogs at home to the Toronto Blue Jays at BetMGM. The Red Sox won on Monday in the series opener. The Jays have the better of the pitching matchup, with Robbie Ray facing Garrett Richards, but it's still not a bad spot for the Red Sox as a home underdog.
Keep an eye on teams on both sides of the trading deadline. Those who trade off key pieces aren't exactly going to be fired up to play out the string the rest of the season. The Pittsburgh Pirates might be one of those teams. The Pirates traded second baseman Adam Frazier, their only All-Star, to the San Diego Padres. Yet, the Milwaukee Brewers are fairly short -125 favorites at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.
Who's the best bet?
The Cincinnati Reds had a brutal loss to the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday, with a trash-talking Javier Baez walking it off in the ninth inning, but I don't think the Cubs should be a -175 favorite over almost anyone right now. Take the Reds as a big +145 underdog.
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