We’re officially one month into the 2021 Major League Baseball season and the Mariners (+7.0 units), A’s (+7.0), Royals (+6.9), Giants (+6.5) and Pirates (+6.5) have been the five most profitable teams to bet on thus far. There are definitely some surprises on that list and I’d expect four of the five (exception being the Giants) to fall pretty quickly.
The A’s won 13 in a row at one point, but still have a negative run differential. Ditto for the Mariners. Kansas City has benefited from a 6-1 record in one-run games. The Pirates are expected to be one of the worst teams in either league this season.
Minnesota (-12.5 units) and the Yankees (-10.4) are pacing the “bad bets” thus far. Only the Mets (-7.2), who have played far fewer games than anyone else, are within “sniffing” distance of the bottom of the net unit rankings. Colorado (-5.4), Detroit (-5.2), Atlanta (-5.1), Houston (-5.1) and the Cubs (-5.0) round out the rest of the worst.
Atlanta and especially Houston should get better as the season wears on. The Astros have the American League’s second best run differential at +24, but are currently just a game above .500.
I think a big story thus far is that none of the preseason favorites are leading the respective divisions. Even the Dodgers are one-half game out of first place (trailing the surprising Giants). The NL West looks stacked thus far with the three best run differentials in the Senior Circuit. The Dodgers are +36, the Giants +24 and the Padres (who were supposed to be LA’s main competition) +14. Could all three end up making the playoffs?
The NL East and Central both appear to be wide open. Milwaukee has gotten tremendous pitching the first month of the season. Only the three teams out West are allowing a fewer number of runs per game. That seems more reliable than Cincinnati, who is 1st in runs per game but 29th in runs allowed.
The only team in the East with a positive run differential at this point is Miami and they were pegged for last place before the season began. No team in that division is currently .500.
We now move to the American League where no team has established itself as a clear favorite. In the Central, I like the White Sox, who have a +31 run differential. As stated above, Kansas City could start to fade as they’ve been fortunate in one-run games. Can’t say the same for Cleveland, who is the only team in MLB yet to win a one-run affair (0-4).
Look for Houston to take charge in the West.
The East is the most intriguing division in the AL. With the Red Sox starting fast, everyone except Baltimore should be a contender. Boston is top five (in all of baseball) in runs scored, but the Blue Jays and Yankees have been very good at run suppression. Not sure where this leaves Tampa Bay.
Three teams from the East (Toronto, Yankees, Baltimore) are in the top six for most Unders in the first month. Ahead of them are: Kansas City (15-7-1), the Mets (12-5-2) and Detroit (19-7 Under). The Mets and Tigers are the two lowest scoring teams in baseball right now. As of this writing, the Tigers have gone Under in 13 straight.
Cincinnati is 17-6-1 to the Over this year, easily #1 in that department. That shouldn’t be a surprise given what I mentioned above. Interestingly, the next two highest scoring teams (White Sox, Arizona) are not among the league leaders in Overs. In fact, only two teams besides the Reds have gone Over at least three more times than they’ve gone Under. Those would be Atlanta and the Angels, the latter of whom is giving up the most runs per game at 5.9.
I hope this provides some insight and I will be sure to have multiple updates as we get into the summer months.