Yankees face playoff-like challenge

August 19, 2019 11:23 PM

One key factor separating the New York Yankees from the rest of the Major Leagues this season has been their ability to consistently beat quality teams. That will be put to an immediate test during a six-game California excursion visiting the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Dodgers. 

This high-profile challenge will be the biggest story in all of baseball this week. Four of the six meetings are set for national television (Tuesday and Wednesday night’s action in Oakland at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN; Saturday at 4:05 ET on FS1, Sunday at 6 p.m. ET on ESPN at Chavez Ravine). The world will be watching—and betting!

Will it be watching the next world champions? The combination of big-game quality and home field through the playoffs might prove unstoppable. 

Here’s a look at full season marks for AL contenders against teams with records of .500 or better entering the new week (source: baseball-reference.com) . . . 

Yankees 38-21, Astros 31-23, A’s 29-25, Rays 28-31, Twins 26-31, Indians 20-26, Red Sox 22-33.

New York is 17 games over. 500, the Astros just eight. The Yankees better not sleep on Oakland Tuesday through Thursday. The A’s are third best in the AL, and the only other team besides the pennant co-favorites to post a winning record in this subset. 

Futures bettors should be very careful asking too much from the Twins or Indians based on those records. And, you can see why it’s been such a bad year in Boston. The Red Sox aren’t “playoff caliber” when you isolate a “super-league” of winning teams. 

With the late-week Yanks/Dodgers series in mind, let’s check on N.L. contenders too… 

Dodgers 38-25, Braves 41-31, Brewers 35-34, Phillies 39-37, Nationals 33-35, Cubs 29-32, Cards 28-34, Giants 25-32, Mets 33-45.

Consistent with overall standings, the Dodgers and Braves are the class of the field. Futures bettors should be wary of others, and be cautious asking too much of NL underdogs on a game-by-game basis in October. (Mets fans…sorry you had to see that.)

The Bronx Bombers have an awesome resume. But losing home-field advantage to Houston would flip series odds in betting markets. New York’s recent hot run has created some distance from the Astros in the race for top seed in the AL. The Yankees are 16-4 their last 20 games. Houston just ended a five-game losing streak Sunday in Oakland. 

Even better news…after this week, 70% of the Yankees remaining matchups come against opponents currently owning losing records. Houston may have added Zack Greinke. New York has some healthy bodies coming back and a soft September schedule.  

For Yankees backers, this marquee week offers a rare opportunity to bet the pinstripes at affordable prices. They won’t have to sweat laying -200 or -300 on the money line, or -1.5 on the run line. They’ll just have to sweat the alarm clock after those late starts. More good preparation for the playoffs!

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