With the 2015 MLB All-Star game now in the books, the regular season is past the halfway mark as teams start jockeying for position this October. Right now, the only real locks to win their divisions seem to be in the National League, as the Dodgers, Cardinals and Nationals seem to be separating themselves as the class of the league. In the American League, all three divisions are still fairly up for grabs, with no teams really pulling away from the pack.
Taking a Look at the 2015 Midseason MLB Betting Predictions
Have Teams Been Able to Cover Online Baseball Betting Lines?
One of the interesting metrics to look at in the betting world is the difference between how bettors expected teams to perform and the way they actually did. For example, the Minnesota Twins had a .551 winning percentage at the All-Star break, but MLB betting experts predicted them to win at only a .451 clip. Other teams who significantly outperformed their betting predictions include the Kansas City Royals, playing about .600 ball even though their bettors have picked them at a .500 rate. The Cardinals were at a .636 winning percentage, but their bettors picked them to win at about a .540 rate.
On the other side, the Phillies have performed much worse than their bettors thought. There wasn’t a lot of optimism to begin with, as bettors have pegged them to win at about a .400 clip, but they have only been winning at a .315 clip through the All-Star break. The Oakland A’s have won at about a .450 clip but their bettors thought they would win at about a .525 pace. The Mariners’ bettors were just about as optimistic, but Seattle has only won at about a .460 clip. Teams whose bettors have almost exactly predicted their winning percentages include the Rays, Orioles, Tigers, Giants and Nationals.
So if you use expected winning percentage to sort out the divisions and the wild card, then here is what “should” sort out by the end of the season. The Cleveland Indians should hold on to win a fairly liquid AL Central. Boston should recover from a rocky start and charge to win the AL East. The Mariners should wake back up and finish first in the AL West. The Yankees and the A’s should come back to pick up the wild cards.
Of course, if you look at division records right now, these predictions seem a little bit off base. The Mariners’ offense has been terrible, and there’s nothing suggesting (other than the reputations of Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano) that the team will start hitting better as a group. The Houston Astros have been playing at a relatively torrid pace, even though they fell off a bit to slide behind the Angels at the All-Star break. Also, the resurgence of the Toronto Blue Jays, behind the slugging of Josh Donaldson, means that there could be a Canadian contingent in the postseason. However, these predictions are based on where bettors think the teams will finish, based on their wagers on the teams so far.
In the National League, teams are performing closer to their bettors’ predictions than they are in the junior circuit. So the bettors’ predictions would put the Los Angeles Dodgers (NL West), Pirates (NL Central) and Nationals (NL East) in the playoffs, with St. Louis and the Cubs finishing in the wild card slots. This would require a pretty good run by the Pirates to pass the Cardinals and hold them off, but the Steel City does have a highly talented team. And of course, any predictions that have the Cubs in the postseason start a buzz all over baseball.