Not every team has played half of their games just yet, as many games have been postponed this season for a myriad of reasons, but on the calendar, we have officially hit the midway point of the Major League Baseball season this week. This season has been flying by at a breakneck pace, and we at The Sports Geek feel that right now is a great time to stop, take a breath, and evaluate where we are at with most teams finished with half of their regular-season schedules.
We saw a lot of surprises in the first half of the year. Raise your hand if you thought that the Marlins, Orioles, and Rockies would be right in the mix of the playoff conversation at the season’s halfway mark? I can’t see you, but if we are all being honest with ourselves, there shouldn’t be many hands in the air right now.
🚨 20 Questions, Trade Deadline Edition 🚨
Your primer on every team, big names that could move, why expanded playoffs = worse deadline, buyers, sellers, Clev, J.T., Andrelton, Seager, Lynn.
Also: First-half MVPs, Cy Youngs and ROYs. Read it all here: https://t.co/nW19NEdw7b
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 24, 2020
And on the flipside, who saw the Angels and Red Sox being the two worst teams in the American League? Or that the defending World Champion Washington Nationals would be in dead last place, with the second-worst record in the National league?
Now that we have enough games in the books to at least have some idea of who these teams are going to be in 2020, we will take a look forward at the second half, and show you five teams that you are going to want to fade in Major League Baseball’s second half. Let’s get started!
Los Angeles Angels (11-22)
There isn’t much that I can say about the season that the Los Angeles Angels are having, other than to say that they stink. The Angels were a sexy pick to win the American League West coming into the season, but entering play today, they have the second-worst record in the American League. And despite being absolutely terrible all season long, the Angels have somehow been favorites in 16 of their 33 games.
That is nearly half of the time that the Angels are betting favorites, even though they have been dreadfully bad all season long. The Angels’ ten losses as a betting favorite are tied for the most in the Major Leagues. Normally the books are quick to react to a team that is underperforming the betting market, but that just hasn’t been the case yet for LA, as they are still finding themselves as favorites regularly.
The Angels were favored yesterday against the Seattle Mariners, and are again favorites over the M’s today. And in the last couple of weeks, they have been favored in games against the Oakland Athletics, San Francisco Giants, and the Texas Rangers. It’s like the books and the public have their heads stuck in the sand and are refusing to acknowledge the fact that this team is one of the worst in the game.
The Angel’s poor results in the first half aren’t always going to be an indication that they will keep underperforming in the second half, but with the trade deadline just a couple of days away, I would expect the Angels to start dumping salary. LA started that salary dump yesterday when they traded away Tommy La Stella to the Oakland Athletics, signaling that they would be indeed be selling, not buying, at the deadline.
Forever our All-Star ❤️
Best of luck in Oakland, Tommy. pic.twitter.com/e4t22QPldD
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) August 29, 2020
Other Angels that are being targeted in trades include shortstop Andrelton Simmons, starting pitchers Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran, and shortstop David Fletcher. Bundy is nearly certain to be moved, as several teams in contention could use a veteran starting pitcher, and he is having the best season of his career.
The Angels were really bad when they had all of these guys playing. As they flip these veteran pieces for prospects or cash, you have to wonder how ugly the on-field product is going to be for LA the rest of the way out. You can expect a lot of losses for the Angels in the second half, and if the books continue to price them aggressively, you want to be fading them often.
Washington Nationals (12-17)
The Washington Nationals are another team that has performed poorly, despite heavy expectations coming into the season. The Nats had one of the highest win totals in the National League coming into the season, and, right now, the only team they have a better record than in the league, is the Pittsburgh Pirates.
And similarly, to the Angels, the books have been slow to react, as the Nationals have been favored in 19 of their 29 games. Washington is tied with the Angels for the most losses in the majors as favorites, with ten. The Nats have been particularly bad as home favorites as they are 3-8 when favored at Nationals Park.
With the division title and playoffs already completely out of reach, you have to wonder how much of the Nationals talent is going to be on display in the second half. They already shut down Stephen Strasburg for the season, and super prospect Carter Kieboom, was just sent to the team’s alternate training site, and probably won’t be back up this season. Pitcher Seth Romero just got sent to the IL with a broken hand, and he is also likely done for the year.
On where Carter Kieboom is, and what’s next for him and the Nationals.https://t.co/fuzNaKzYRz
— Todd Dybas (@Todd_Dybas) August 27, 2020
Washington has already started the process of sitting their best guys down, as they look to play out the stick of a disappointing season, and it will be interesting to see how active they are in the trade market. Interestingly enough, the Nationals claimed to still be all-in on winning a world title this season, as late as earlier this week and have been rumored to be looking to add a starting pitcher before the trade deadline.
But after losing three out of their four games this week, and seeing Romero, who was expected to step into the rotation to take Strasburg’s place, I would expect Washington to change course, and either stand pat or do a modest sell-off. Whichever route they end up going, I don’t expect Washington to do much in the second half, and you are going to want to fade them any chance that you can get.
Detroit Tigers (13-16)
The Detroit Tigers were one of the feel-good stories of the first half. Most people expected the Tigers to be really bad this year and stuck in a division with teams like the White Sox, Twins, and Indians that all projected to be AL pennant contenders, the Tigers had one of the lowest season wins total in the American League.
The Tigers won nine out of their first fourteen games, and for a minute, looked like they could hang around in a short season. But a nine-game losing streak in mid-August has derailed those talks, and the Tigers are quickly falling out of contention. Detroit has actually managed to rally just a bit recently as they have won five out of their last seven games following that nasty losing streak, but when you look forward on the schedule for Detroit, I see troubling times ahead.
Who knows what the trade deadline will look like over the next 5 days, but if the Detroit Tigers make some moves, they could look something like these. — 8 possible trades with 8 different teams: https://t.co/Heh8wkZcPL
— Derick Hutchinson (@Derick_Hutch) August 26, 2020
The Tigers got out to that hot start by playing their first thirteen games of the year against the Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Kansas City Royals. Those teams are a combined 35-57. Since then, the Tigers have had to play the Cubs, Indians, White Sox, and Twins, and they are losing a lot.
Looking forward on the schedule for Detroit, they have upcoming series against the Twins, a team they play in ten out of their next thirteen games, the Cardinal, White Sox, and Indians, all teams that would be in the playoffs if the season were to end today.
The Tigers haven’t been favorites very often, so this won’t be one of those spots where you are going to be able to fade them getting dog money. It will be more of a situation where this team is going to lose at a very high rate, and you can bet against them daily and pick the low hanging fruit and snatch up some easy money.
Houston Astros (17-14)
The Houston Astros came into this season as the enemy of every team in the game after getting wrapped up in one of the biggest cheating scandals in Major League Baseball history in the offseason. In what was the longest offseason in the history of the game, the Astros spent months being the only big story in baseball.
Despite losing their manager and GM in the sign-stealing scandal, and seeing their best pitcher, Gerrit Cole, leave for New York, the Astros were still the odds on favorites to win the American League West Division, and were up there with the Yankees and the Twins, as the favorites for the AL pennant.
When you look at the Astros record, they aren’t playing all that poorly on the surface. Their 17 wins are the sixth most in the AL, and they are on track to play in the postseason, with little risk of missing the playoffs. So, why do I think you should be fading them in the second half if they haven’t been playing all that bad?
— Houston Astros (@astros) August 29, 2020
Because they have been very easy to predict, making them a team that you can bet on with confidence. The Astros are 0-8 this year against teams with a winning record. As betting underdogs, they are just 1-8. Against teams with a losing record, they are an elite 17-6. In games where they are the betting favorite, they are 16-6, which is one of the best winning percentages as a favorite in MLB.
With these stark splits, betting on the Astros should be easy in the second half. Back them as favorites against bad teams and fade them when they play anybody decent.
There won’t be a lot of games where Houston will play against strong competition, as the schedule lays out nicely for them. But they do have a bunch of games coming up against the Oakland A’s, and a series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, where you should be able successfully fade the Astros as small dogs and get paid.
Texas Rangers (12-19)
A once-promising season has turned into a nightmare for the Texas Rangers. The Rangers brought in a punch of pitching talent in the offseason, including Cory Kluber, Jordan Lyles, and Kyle Gibson, and looked like they were going to be one of the most improved teams in the American League. But with injuries to Kluber, Domingo Santana, Elvis Andrus, and Rougned Odor, this team has really struggled.
But when you look at the betting market, the Rangers have still been favored in 41% of their games and have a losing record as favorites, meaning that if you have been fading Texas a lot in the first half, you are making money doing it. The first half has certainly been quite disappointing for Texas, but that is not why they make this list.
The reason I think Texas is a team you are going to want to fade hard the rest of the way out, is that the Rangers are expected to have a fire sale at the trade deadline this weekend. Everything that isn’t nailed down in Texas, is going to get shipped out of town.
Rangers’ Lance Lynn is reportedly drawing trade interest from Blue Jays, Dodgers, Padres. https://t.co/il1QNiggHs pic.twitter.com/N7KDVuddTB
— theScore (@theScore) August 29, 2020
Lance Lynn and Mike Minor are almost for sure going to get moved as both guys are going to be coveted in the trade market and should return some decent prospects. Even Joey Gallo, a guy that most people thought would be untouchable, is being rumored in trades, and while he isn’t likely to be moved, the Rangers are taking calls and listening.
If Joey Gallo could potentially get moved, there isn’t anybody safe on this Rangers roster.
If Texas does decide to gut the team, you can expect them to mail it in the rest of the year. It’s bad enough that seventeen of their final thirty-one games are going to come against the Astros, Athletics, and Dodgers. If they are going to have to play those teams that are likely to be right in the thick of a tight playoff race, with most of their best players gone, they are going to get killed.
I am never a big fan of betting the run line, as it is quite risky, but I can see this Rangers team getting blown out a lot in the next couple of weeks. They have given up, and management is going to tear the team apart.
Since August 16th, the Rangers have lost twelve of their fourteen games, and they lost eleven of those games by multiple runs. Six times they have lost by at least three runs. This is the type of team that run line bets were made for, and you are going to want to fade the Rangers, and fade them hard, as they struggle to stay competitive.
The first half of the 2020 baseball season has given us a lot to think about, and we have seen things that we have never seen before and may never see again. More than ever, you have to stay on your toes and constantly be reevaluating everything that you thought you knew about betting on Major League Baseball if you want to be profitable.
Thank you for reading and good luck betting Major League Baseball in the second half of the season. And remember to stay tuned to The Sports Geek all season long, where we deliver you free daily MLB betting picks, with all of the sharp betting advice you need to make money betting baseball.