The New York Yankees have taken a small step back since a blazing start to the first three months of the season.
But more help is likely on the way. Perhaps the same is true for the Seattle Mariners.
The Yankees looked like they'd snapped out of a funk they'd been in since the all-star break by taking the first three games of a series against the Kansas City Royals, but then they were shocked by a blown lead and a loss on Sunday. The Yankees are 5-6 since the break.
The Yankees are still heavy -185 favorites at BetMGM for Monday's series opener against the Mariners, who made a big pre-trade deadline statement by sending prospects to the Cincinnati Reds for starting pitcher Luis Castillo, a player the Yankees had been linked to.
The Yankees and Mariners will battle on the field while their front offices try to fill in their rosters before Tuesday's trade deadline.
The Mariners' biggest problem has been the Houston Astros. The Mariners are 18-6 since July 2, and all six losses are against Houston. The Mariners want to prove this week that their hex is exclusive to the Astros, and not just a sign that they can't beat the best teams in baseball. It doesn't help that instant superstar rookie outfielder Julio Rodriguez is on the injured list after being hit by a pitch on the wrist over the weekend.
The Yankees built such a big lead in the AL East that perhaps their mini-slump lately is just some complacency. They still lead the division by 11.5 games. Maybe adding some new blood at the deadline will restart them. The Yankees already got outfielder Andrew Benintendi and there's surely more to come.
Given how the Yankees have fallen off their torrid pace just a bit, maybe the Mariners are a solid underdog for Monday. But both teams should look different in a couple days. They might look different by the time Monday's game starts.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
The rest of the MLB slate
There are 10 games in MLB on Monday and most of them feature some huge favorites. Those big underdogs will only get bigger over the last two months as the also-rans keep sending off players at the trade deadline. It makes it tougher to bet MLB, unless you're willing to lay some huge numbers on favorites.
One of the more interesting games on the schedule is the Los Angeles Dodgers at the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers are -145 favorites. They swept the Giants after the all-star break but the series was mostly competitive and the Dodgers won in the late innings. The Giants are 51-51, stuck before the trade deadline not knowing whether the right move is to buy or sell.
What else is there to bet on?
Even though football is close, we're still looking at a lot of baseball and not much else on this first Monday in August.
What's the best bet?
I'll take the Mariners, though I do wish Julio Rodriguez was in the lineup. If they can't play better in New York than they did in Houston, it'll look like the Mariners just aren't ready to compete with a lot of the top teams they might see in the postseason.