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Bet Smart: MLB - Metro US

Bet Smart: MLB

Spring Training - Rays at Phillies
Spring Training - Rays at Phillies. Getty Images

Both the Yankees and Mets will be front and center to start the first full day of the 2019 Major League Baseball season Thursday. The Yankees host Baltimore at 1 p.m. The Mets visit Washington at 1:05 p.m. in the first National League attraction of the new campaign (Seattle and Oakland began American League play last week in Japan).

Weather permitting, all 30 MLB teams will be on the diamond Thursday. That means time is running out to place futures bets before real-time adjustments are made during the season.

Though talented Boston is the defending World Champion, the Bronx Bombers are current market favorites to win both the American League and the World Series. Here are this week’s prices from William Hill:

*Odds to win American League: NY Yankees 5/2, Houston 14/5, Boston 7/2, Cleveland 9/2, Oakland 14/1, Minnesota 14/1, LA Angels 15/1, Tampa Bay 17/1, Seattle 75/1, Chicago White Sox 75/1, Toronto 150/1, Texas 250/1, Kansas City 250/1, Detroit 500/1, Baltimore 500/1.

Granted that those prices are influenced by the proximity of Yankees fans to William Hill sportsbooks! But, global markets do see the Yankees as leaders of the pack wherever prices are posted. The Westgate in Las Vegas has its “Regular Season Win Total” at 97 for the Yankees, 96 for Houston, just 93.5 for Boston. Once again, the AL is top-heavy with the usual suspects. You might as well wait until the playoffs begin to bet any of the top four. Taking each team on a per-series basis would likely yield similar returns.

*Odds to win National League: LA Dodgers 4/1, Philadelphia 11/2, Chicago Cubs 6/1, St. Louis 13/2, Washington 7/1, Milwaukee 10/1, Atlanta 10/1, NY Mets 11/1, Colorado 14/1, Cincinnati 30/1, San Francisco 30/1, Arizona 35/1, San Diego 50/1, Pittsburgh 60/1, Florida 500/1.

The senior circuit is much more complex, with nine teams priced lower than 15/1. Philadelphia was a popular betting choice for sharps even before it acquired Bryce Harper. You’ll note that San Diego’s signing of Manny Machado only lifted the Padres from distant also-ran to a less distant also-ran.

In Queens, the Mets are projected to at least compete. The Westgate has their Regular Season Win Total at 85.5, just a few games behind Philadelphia and Washington (both 89), but also behind Atlanta (86).

That wider range of competitiveness in the NL creates some nice payoffs on the World Championship ledger.

*Favorites to win the World Series: NY Yankees 5/1, Houston 6/1, Boston 15/2, LA Dodgers 8/1, Cleveland 10/1, Philadelphia 11/1, Chicago Cubs 12/1, St. Louis 13/1, Washington 14/1, Milwaukee 15/1, Atlanta 20/1, NY Mets 22/1.

The top three spots go to teams from the AL, but then eight of the next nine are in the NL. If you can make a good read on the right surprise, it will pay off.

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