Posted on June 25, 2019, by Travis Pulver
Coming into the 2019 MLB season, the American League was expected to be a very tight race with the defending World Series champions, the Boston Red Sox, leading the way. Expected to be right there with them were the Houston Astros and New York Yankees.
But a poor start for the Red Sox and some early injury issues for the Yankees made the AL pennant Houston’s to lose. However, now that the Yankees are healthy again, that appears to have changed.
It all started when the Yankees got healthy and began playing with their best lineup (and winning games) while the Astros got hit with the injury bug. Prior to Sunday’s loss to the Astros, they had won eight in a row including three over Houston.
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But Monday’s win over Toronto makes it nine wins in their last ten games.
As for Houston, the held strong for a while after losing Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and George Springer to different injuries. Eventually, the injury bug caught up with them and they lost seven in a row; a streak that stopped with Sunday’s 9-4 win over the Yankees.
Of course, when two talented teams heading in opposite directions, their odds to win the AL are going to shift. Houston has been the team to beat in the AL for most of the season. But the Yankees have been right on their tail.
However, after their respective streaks, Houston is no longer the favorite in the AL—the Yankees are (via BetOnline.ag):
- New York Yankees +200
- Houston Astros +250
- Minnesota Twins +400
- Boston Red Sox +800
- Tampa Bay Rays +800
- Cleveland Indians +1400
- Texas Rangers +2500
- Oakland Athletics +3300
- Los Angeles Angels +4000
- Chicago White Sox +8000
- Seattle Mariners +30000
- Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, and Toronto Blue Jays (via Bovada.lv) +200000
So, does this mean the Yankees are now the team to beat? Are the Astros still a good bet?
What it means is that the Yankees are the team to beat—right now. Whoever the hottest team is at any given time during the season will be the team to beat at that time.
But with a 162-game season, it is important to remember that teams are going to hit highs and lows. They are going to battle through injuries and go through slumps. Young guys will come charging out of the gate only to slow down eventually.
Baseball is a game where very good hitters still fail to get a hit 70 percent of the time.
So—are the Astros still a good bet? Absolutely. Their offense may be going through a slump right now, but they still have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball; the offense will wake back up eventually.
However, with their odds being a little higher (depending on the book), now might actually be the time to put some money on them. As soon as they start hitting again (and winning), those odds are going to go right back down.