MLB cream can still rise in a 60-game season

By Jeff Fogle  (VSiN.com) 

July 21, 2020 10:58 PM

There’s been a lot of talk about how “anything can happen” in a short, 60-game MLB season. While that’s true, it’s important to note that five of 2019’s eventual division winners were on top of their quintets in 60-game records.

As you make your final decisions handicapping futures odds and Regular Season Win totals for the abbreviated campaign that begins Thursday night, please take a quick moment to review team records LAST year at the 60-game mark. 

Let’s start in the American League where the Yankees, Twins and Astros had already established high quality.

American League 2019 60-Game Records

  • AL East: Yankees 38-22, Rays 37-23, Red Sox 31-29, Jays 22-38, Orioles 19-41.
  • AL Central: Twins 40-20, Indians 30-30, White Sox 29-31, Tigers 23-37, Royals 19-41.
  • AL West: Astros 40-20, Rangers 32-28, A’s 30-30, Angels 29-31, Mariners 25-35.

Just because anything can happen doesn’t mean it will. Good teams dominated. Expected lemons were squeezed. Be careful falling in love with longshots and big returns. Make accurate assessments of team skill sets, just as you would for a full 162-game slate. 

National League 2019 60-Game Records

  • NL East: Braves 33-27, Phillies 33-27, Mets 28-32, Nationals 27-33, Marlins 23-37.
  • NL Central: Cubs 34-26, Brewers 34-26, Cardinals 31-29, Pirates 29-31, Reds 28-32. 
  • NL West: Dodgers 41-29, Padres 31-29, Rockies 31-29, Diamondbacks 30-30, Giants 25-35. 

The big news here, of course, is that the eventual World Series champion Washington Nationals didn’t even have a winning record. They would earn a playoff bid as a wildcard, then run the table round-by-round in October. 

St. Louis was only third best in the NL Central at this stage. The Cards would be the only eventual divisional winner in MLB that wasn’t atop its group at the 60-game mark. 

Here, the Dodgers join the AL powers as capable of winning two-thirds of their games in a short loop. The projected laughingstock Miami Marlins lived down to low expectations. 

We’re not suggesting there won’t be any surprises. Just be careful betting on bedlam. Two months is plenty of time for teams to approach expected form. 

NHL ANNOUNCES EARLY TV SCHEDULE ON NBC-UNIVERSAL NETWORKS

The chase for Lord Stanley’s coveted cup won’t begin until August 1. Hockey fans are already making plans to watch day-and-night coverage that first weekend thanks to Tuesday’s announcement of the broadcast slate

Here’s a quick look at the first two days…

Saturday, Aug. 1

Carolina vs. NY Rangers (Noon, NBCSN)

Chicago vs. Edmonton (NBC, 3 p.m.)

Florida vs. NY Islanders (NBCSN, 4 p.m.)

Montreal vs. Pittsburgh (NBC, 8 p.m.)

Winnipeg vs. Calgary (NBCN, 10:30 p.m.)

All five of those are from preliminary round series. Games involving teams in the Eastern Conference will be played in Toronto. Western Conference games will be played in Edmonton. 

Sunday, Aug. 2

Arizona vs. Nashville (USA, 2 p.m.)

Boston vs. Philadelphia (NBC, 3 p.m.)

St. Louis vs. Colorado (NBCSN, 6:30 p.m.)

Columbus vs. Toronto (NBCSN, 8 p.m.)

Minnesota vs. Vancouver (NBCSN, 10:30 p.m.)

Day two will bring the first “bye battle” participants, with Boston/Philadelphia in the East and St. Louis/Colorado in the West. The Bruins and Flyers will also face Tampa Bay and Washington in the first week. The Blues and Avalanche will also play Vegas and Dallas. 

More on odds and matchups when we get closer to hockey’s restart.  

MLS: GROUP “E” FAVORITE ATLANTA LEAVES TOURNEY WITH NO WINS!

Atlanta entered the “MLS is Back” tournament as market favorites to win Group E. These are the futures prices from that group to win the tournament from Circa Sports that we posted for you before the event began. Atlanta plus 1250, NY Red Bulls plus 1500, Columbus plus 2400, Cincinnati plus 8000.

Instead of advancing easily, Atlanta is OUT with three losses. Columbus won its third and final game of group play Tuesday by beating Atlanta 1-0. New York and Cincinnati will battle for runner-up honors Wednesday evening. 

That’s one of three games on today’s slate. Starting times are Eastern. 

Kansas City vs. Salt Lake (ESPN, 9 a.m.)

Three-way: Kansas City plus 110, Salt Lake plus 227, draw plus 273

Goal Line: Kansas City -0.25 goals (-122), Salt Lake plus 0.15 goals (-101)

Over/Under: 3 goals (Over -109, Under -112) 

NY Red Bulls vs. Cincinnati (ESPN, 8 p.m.)

Three-way: New York -119, Cincinnati plus 301, draw plus 289

Goal Line: New York -0.5 goals (-119), Cincinnati plus 0.5 goals (-102)

Over/Under: 2.75 goals (Over - 118, Under -104) 

Minnesota vs. Colorado (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)

Three-way: Minnesota plus 111, Colorado plus 219, draw plus 280

Goal Line: Minnesota -0.25 goals (-119), Colorado plus 0.25 goals (-102)

Over/Under: 3 goals (Over even, Under -122) 

There’s been some slight odds movement from hours earlier. We’ve updated our “market” Power Ratings on a goal supremacy scale to reflect that. We’ll start with Groups D, E, and F because they’re on the immediate schedule. 

Group D: Minnesota 2.1, Kansas City 2.0, Colorado 1.8, Salt Lake 1.7

Group E: Atlanta 2.2 (out), Columbus 2.2, NY Red Bulls 1.9, Cincinnati 1.3

Group F: LAFC 2.7, Portland 1.9, Houston 1.7, LA Galaxy 1.6

Group A: NYCFC 2.1, Philadelphia 2.0, Orlando 1.9, Miami 1.8 (out)

Group B: Seattle 2.3, Chicago 2.0, San Jose 1.9, Vancouver 1.2

Group C: Toronto 2.3, New England 2.1, D.C. United 1.8, Montreal 1.6

As the knockout brackets firm up later this week, we’ll present those in matchup order. A big surprise that Atlanta is already headed home. 

CALIFORNIA, MISSISSIPPI, OKLAHOMA, WISCONSIN ALL SET COVID CASE COUNT RECORDS

We haven’t touched on the state and national big picture dynamic in recent days. Coronavirus counts are still rising in almost all parts of the country (except the northeast). Day-to-day decreases are often caused by a reduction in reported testing rather than any “good” news. Saturation is still bad. Of note…

  • The US reported 1,122 confirmed covid fatalities Tuesday to worldometers.com. That’s the first time over 1K since Tuesday June 9, and the highest since 1,134 way back on June 2. Both of those were also Tuesdays, which can serve as a “catch up” day for under-reported weekends. 
  • California reported an all-time one-day high of 10,278 new confirmed cases. That’s a huge jump from the previous record of 9,687 this past Wednesday. Both Florida and Texas had cleared 10K on one day before, but not California. Los Angeles County continues to be one of the hardest hit areas in the world with 2,628 new cases (12 straight days over 2K). Orange County (990) and San Bernardino County (968) almost reached 1K Tuesday. 
  • Oklahoma reported an all-time one-day high of 1,714. Part of that was a catch up from a lower than usual Sunday and Monday. But, the state still stands out as a growing trouble area thanks to lackluster mitigation and some blow-over from the Texas epicenter.
  • Mississippi reported an all-time one-day high of 1,635. That was NOT a catch up because its previous record was 1,251 the day before. VSiN has a lot of readers in that state thanks to our relationship with the Biloxi Sun Herald. Bet safely when you visit casinos and sports books.
  • Wisconsin reported an all-time one-day high of 1,117. That was its first day ever over 1K. The prior record had been 978 this past Saturday. 

That’s Pac-12 country, Big 12 country, SEC country, and Big Ten country reporting new records. ACC country remains hard hit as well, particularly the Carolinas. 

Other Stories of Interest

*Texas Longhorns aim for 50K attendance in season opener (Texas Tribune)

*Sources report there will be no NFL preseason games this summer (NY Post)

*Football needs will strain covid testing capacity (USA Today)

*LA Clippers’ Patrick Beverly leaves NBA bubble for family emergency (Malika Andrews/ESPN)

*Sacramento Kings” Marvin Bagley III out for season with foot injury (Shams Charania/The Athletic)

*Memphis Grizzlies Justise Winslow out for season with hip injury (Dan Woike/LA Times)

*Emeril Lagasse’s “Stadium” at Palazzo on Vegas strip closes permanently (Las Vegas Review-Journal) 

VSiN Clips/Tweets on Betting Restarts

*Matt Vasgersian, Mitch Moss, and Pauly Howard ask if a reliever can win the Cy Young award this season (Follow The Money)

John Clayton talks to Danny Burke about the improved Arizona Cardinals (A Numbers Game)

Patrick Meagher and Michael Lombardi discuss NFL player props (Lombardi Line)

*Tom Haberstroh joins JVT to talk NBA betting (The Edge)

*JVT previews the NHL’s Calgary/Winnipeg series (The Edge)

Back again Thursday morning. 

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