Justin Verlander's Mets were a bad first half bet

2023 MLB Best & Worst First-Half Bets: Mets Were A Bad Choice

The MLB All-Star break is the perfect natural pause – for athletes and for baseball bettors – to assess their successes and failures before regrouping for the postseason push. 

For players, that’s time with family or maybe a mini vacation somewhere. For bettors like you and me, it’s a gander at a dwindling bankroll, a long look in the mirror, some water splashed in the face, and an obtuse pep talk about how we'll kill it in the second half.

But before the second-half sprint begins, let’s check out some of the best and worst bets from MLB’s first half and analyze how viable those odds are going forward.

MLB Best First-Half Bets

You would’ve cashed big if you anted up on these markets.

Shohei Ohtani Anything (MVP at +200, HR Leader at +1800)

Not only is the Angels' two-way phenom a baseball unicorn, he’s also a betting unicorn. Before the season began, Ohtani was listed as the AL MVP betting chalk at +200 odds. Those might seem like short odds, but they’re nothing compared to the whopping -1500 odds he faces now. Unreal. If Ohtani stays healthy, he’s a lock for MVP.

But that’s not all. Check the home run race and Cy Young odds, too. Ohtani carried +1800 odds to lead MLB in homers, and, now leading with 32, he’s the -150 favorite. I like that futures bet, as do I like Ohtani’s chances of winning AL Cy Young at +1100.

Texas Rangers To Win World Series (+5000)

After another lucrative offseason, the Rangers were circled by many bettors as a dark-horse World Series candidate at +5000. Skip through half the season, and those odds are now down to +1000, behind only the Braves, Rays, Dodgers and Astros. There’s a case to be made Texas deserves even shorter odds, too.

The club lost Jacob deGrom, the pre-season AL Cy Young fav, to Tommy John surgery, but this offense is still an absolute goliath. Jonah Heim, Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia, Josh Jung and Nate Eovaldi were all named All-Stars this year, too.

Going forward, I love Jung to win AL Rookie of the Year at +110, and I’m also all over to win the American League (+400) and the World Series (+1000).

Baltimore Orioles To Make Playoffs (+325)

The Chaos Birds surprised MLB fans last year with a heavy second-half push, and the club has surged to a fantastic start in the first half of ’23. Before the year began, Baltimore was +325 to make the playoffs. In hindsight, that bet simply wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Kudos if you saw what I could not.

For the second half, I love a bet on the Orioles to win the AL East at +380. The mighty Rays slipped a bit heading into the break, leaving Baltimore two games back.

MLB Worst First-Half Bets

These bets were all big stinkers in the first half.

New York Mets To Make Playoffs (-500)

Yeesh. The Amazins have been everything but amazing this year as chaos unfolds in the Big Apple. Mets fans are furious, Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer don’t look like themselves and pressure is mounting to fire manager Buck Showalter.

But who does all that on-field drama impact the most? Dweebs like us, who licked our chops and added a lock like the Mets to make playoffs into our MLB futures parlay. As Homer Simpson says: Doh! 

At 42-48 before the All-Star break, these Mets aren’t making it in the second half. 

St. Louis Cardinals To Win NL Central (-125)

Another pukefest. It’s wild to watch the Cards, who on March 30 were chalked to win their division, tumble to last place in a grouping that also features the Reds, Brewers, Cubs and Pirates. That’s truly the bottom of the ol’ sludge-covered barrel.

There’s no way of rectifying this bet for the future, even with St. Louis at +2000 to win the NL Central.  

Jordan Lyles (-$1,400 in profit)

Can the real Patrick Corbin please stand up? We’re gonna have a problem here.

Congrats to Lyles, who graciously accepted Corbin’s torch as the most automatic fade in baseball and put a new losing twist on it. The Royals in general have been a brutal squad, but Lyles has been especially brutal with a 1-11 record, by far the most losses in baseball. He's now officially the least profitable pitcher in the majors.

This isn’t such a bad bet if you’ve been fading Lyles this whole time. And for those who haven’t done it yet, the time is nigh. Light the torches; Sir Lyles starts every five days. 

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