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Giancarlo Stanton, Mark Trumbo have top odds for 2016 Home Run Derby

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The two-year bracket format for the MLB Home Run Derby might lend itself to an improbable champion, if Todd Frazier’s triumph in 2015 is any indication.

The Miami Marlins’ Giancarlo Stanton and the Baltimore Orioles’ Mark Trumbo top the Home Run Derby odds board at +300 and +375, respectively, at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com for Monday’s showdown at PETCO Park in San Diego.

It’s easy to see why. Players get an additional minute on top of their allotted five minutes if they hit two home runs that travel farther than 420 feet. Ten of Stanton’s 20 homers this season have traveled farther than 420 feet, and Trumbo also has 10 that have met that threshold. The two sluggers could potentially meet in the semifinal.

Wil Myers, of the hometown San Diego Padres, is listed at +550. The aforementioned Frazier is at +600, along with the Cincinnati Reds’ Adam Duvall, with the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano (+1000), Colorado Rockies’ Carlos Gonzalez (+800) and Los Angeles Dodgers’ Corey Seager (+900) trailing on that baseball betting prop.

The timing rules make the Derby an endurance contest. And, of course, PETCO Park is MLB’s third most extreme pitcher-friendly stadium (according to parkfactors.com) thanks to its distant power alleys and the heavy sea air. However, an average of 2.24 HR/game have been hit there this season, in line with the National League’s 2.20 average.

As the MLB home run leader and top seed, Trumbo is the -175 favorite in his quarter-final against Seager, who is listed at +145. For whatever it is worth, Trumbo has only one home run in 12 career games at PETCO, but Seager has yet to homer in 49 career times at bat in San Diego.

Stanton has a -175 line to defeat Cano, who is listed at +135, in their matchup. Stanton’s average true distance of 421.8 feet on his homers is the longest of any player with at least 15 homers this season. Cano could have an edge in stamina, which helped win the Home Run Derby in 2011.

Myers, owing to the home-park factor, is listed at -150 against Duvall at +110. Myers has actually been beastlier at PETCO, with a 1.036 home OPS vs. .706 on the road. Duvall, a first-time all-star, will have to adapt from his hitter-friendly confines in Cincinnati.

The second-seeded Frazier is a mild -140 favorite against even-money Gonzalez. Back-to-back champions are rare; Yoenis Cespedes did it in 2013-14, but he was the first since Ken Griffey Jr. in 1998-99. Gonzalez averages 420.9 feet on his homers, second among players with at least 15. However, he has only six home runs in 192 career at-bats at PETCO Park.

The players are seeded based on their home run totals through July 6.

Yankees move to the top of the 2018 World Series Odds

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The top three offensive teams in Major League Baseball are also at the top of the 2018 World Series champion futures board.

With the MLB regular season nearing its midpoint, the New York Yankees are the +500 favorite on the 2018 World Series odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. The defending champion Houston Astros (+525) and the Yankees’ AL East archrivals, the Boston Red Sox (+600), round out the troika of top contenders.

Led by Aaron Judge, the Yankees lead MLB in runs, home runs and slugging percentage. The Yankees will be upgrading a pitching staff that allows almost four runs per game before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, so it’s possible that their betting value will never be greater than it is presently.

No World Series champion has repeated since the 1998-2000 Yankees. But the Astros, thanks to the likes of Justin Verlander, have gone from ninth in runs against in 2017 to first by a country mile so far this season.

The Red Sox, led by rightfielder Mookie Betts, are the only team other than the Astros which is in the top four in runs scored and runs against. However, the AL East is a much shallower division than the AL West, which has only one mediocre-or-worse team compared to the East’s three.

For what it might be worth, the last six World Series titles in even-numbered years have been won by National League teams. The Chicago Cubs (+750), Washington Nationals (+800) and Los Angeles Dodgers (+1000) are the highest NL teams on the board. All three are retaining value due to strong competition for first place in their respective divisions from the Milwaukee Brewers (+1600), Atlanta Braves (+1600) and Arizona Diamondbacks (+2800).

The Dodgers are an interesting highly speculative play, having rejoined the living after falling 10 games below .500 at the quarter-pole of the regular season. If ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw (back) ever gets healthy, the Dodgers could resume being a dangerous team.

The Cleveland Indians (+2200) will be a postseason team since MLB rules say someone has to win the AL Central. Cleveland has a first-rank pitching staff led by Corey Kluber, but a league-average offense could be its downfall come October.

The last four World Series champions each qualified for the playoffs within the two seasons prior. That doesn’t mean that upstarts such as Atlanta, Milwaukee, the Philadelphia Phillies (+2000) or the Seattle Mariners (+1600) should be faded automatically. Atlanta has played the fewest one-run games among those four teams, while Seattle has played the most in MLB, suggesting randomness and luck have been on the Mariners’ side so far.

While winning the World Series involves eking out some low-scoring wins, teams talented enough to reach that stage don’t always live on the margins. Two recent champions, the 2014 San Francisco Giants and 2015 Kansas City Royals, had losing records in one-run games during the regular-season.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.

Value in 2018 MLB Pennant Odds Ranges Beyond Astros, Yankees, Dodgers

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Only three teams have won consecutive pennants in the last 16 Major League Baseball seasons, which should be a nudge to look beyond the teams about to unfurl flags celebrating 2017 success.

Three weeks out from Opening Day, the defending World Series champion Houston Astros and the New York Yankees are +275 co-favorites on the odds to win the 2018 American League pennant  and the Los Angeles Dodgers have the National League’s top prop at +225, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Astros have a strong chance to repeat as AL champions thanks to the prospect of having a full season of both Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander in the starting rotation, which should upgrade a pitching staff that had just the 11th-best earned-run average in MLB in 2017. The hype over the Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton show has pushed the Yankees’ price below 3-to-1, but a wait-and-see approach should be taken with New York, since both sluggers could regress.

The Cleveland Indians (+325) and Boston Red Sox (+600) round out the top of the AL board. The Minnesota Twins (+1800), who have quietly improved and play in a shallow AL Central division, could be a surprise.

Over in the National League, the Dodgers still look scary at bat and on the mound and could benefit from getting a push in the NL West, where the San Francisco Giants (+1000), Arizona Diamondbacks (+1200) and Colorado Rockies (+1800) have no time for tanking. Iron sharpens iron, after all.

The Washington Nationals (+350) and Chicago Cubs (+375) likely won’t face such a deep group of challengers in their respective divisions, the NL East and NL Central. Since the Nationals are in a now-or-never situation with one-time MVP Bryce Harper due to become a free agent, there is some appeal in putting a bet down just to tap into that urgency in Washington. The Cubs should field a playoff-calibre team, but whether they ever re-capture their 2016 postseason magic remains to be seen.

It’s probably best to fade the St. Louis Cardinals (+900) and the aforementioned Giants, whose prices on the 2018 National League pennant odds owe more to history or recent success than the outlook on the field in 2018. Bettors seeking a sleeper have a far greater return by taking, say, Colorado, which has an exciting lineup built around third baseman Nolan Arenado and made the 2017 playoffs with the second-youngest pitching staff in all of MLB.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.