Have the White Sox already put the AL Central to bed, or can one of the other four teams catch them? With an eight-game gap between Chicago and everyone else, this looks like it might be done and dusted, but there have been collapses before, so a value bet might be a decent play if you’ve got a bit of extra money to throw around on this race.
BEST BET: CHICAGO WHITE SOX, -1400
Reason: Just because there’s no value here doesn’t change the reality: it’s going to take something massive for the White Sox to lose their hold on the AL Central. If the Sox can simply play .500 baseball the rest of the way, the only team that can mathematically catch Chicago is Cleveland, because anyone else would need to win 50 or more of their remaining games just to get to 90 wins. But that said, there’s no value here, so you’d probably be better off either playing the Sox to win the pennant at +325 or not touching them at all.
VALUE PLAY: CLEVELAND INDIANS, +650
Reason: The Indians have two things that have to go right for them to have a chance: win their games against the White Sox and keep pounding the Royals. Cleveland has battered Kansas City eight out of nine times this season, and that and a 6-5 mark against Chicago are the only reasons the Indians still have a shot. But the Indians’ best friends over the rest of the season are the Brewers and Cubs, because those teams have a combined nine games against the White Sox over the course of the year. If the NL clubs can give the Indians some help, the teams play a five-game series in Cleveland at the end of September, which could become interesting.
OUT OF THE RUNNING: EVERYONE ELSE (ALL THREE AT +10000)
Reason: The Tigers, Royals and Twins all sit 15 games or more behind the White Sox, and all three are at least 11 games under .500. The Twins are likely to jettison a few older faces, and the rebuilding Tigers and Royals won’t hesitate to call up younger players from Triple-A to play out the remaining two months of the season. Even if these teams weren’t looking at the long-term picture, the fact that the White Sox will likely add at the deadline makes the prospect of anyone catching Chicago look highly improbable at best.