Remember when the New York Mets were raked over the coals for buying at the MLB trade deadline?
They sure look like contenders now, winning 13 of their last 14 contests to come within a 1/2-game of the final NL wild-card spot. They’re also putting pressure on bookmakers who offered the Mets at long shot prices to win the World Series earlier this summer.
The Westgate LV SuperBook dealt New York as high as 1000-1 in early July and 300-1 before the deadline, but those odds have tightened to 40-1 ahead of the team’s weekend series with NL East rival the Washington Nationals.
Oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told theScore Thursday his book hasn’t seen any large wagers on New York during its run – but the small wagers are adding up.
“Liability on the Mets World Series futures (is) approaching six figures,” Sherman said.
The Mets, who are 19-6 since the All-Star Game, looked dead in the water at the end of June following a seven-game losing streak. New York seemed sure to sell one (or both) of pitchers Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, and even reigning Cy Young winner Jacob deGrom was floated as a potential trade chip.
A few weeks before the deadline, the SuperBook took two wagers on New York at 1000-1 odds. Then, the wins started coming.
The Mets finished July on a 12-5 run and dealt two prospects for Toronto Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman three days before the deadline. It seemed shortsighted at the time, with the team still sporting 300-1 title odds.
Yet the winning hasn’t stopped. And the star-studded rotation is the reason New York could crash the playoff party as a dark horse contender.
The Mets’ lineup is hitting slightly better since the All-Star break (.779 OPS) than before it (.757), but both rank near league average. The team’s defense still ranks dead last, per FanGraphs. Yet New York’s starters have carried the load with a league-best ERA (2.62), FIP (2.80), and WAR (5.2) since the Midsummer Classic.
Syndergaard, who’s been up and down this year, has five straight quality starts with no home runs allowed in that span; Wheeler’s thrown two shutouts so far in August; DeGrom has been his usual self with a 2.08 ERA over his last 14 starts.
Stroman will make his second start on Friday after a shaky debut last Saturday, giving Mets bettors a glimpse of how potent this rotation could be come October.
Is it sustainable? New York has flashed its bats amid the current six-game win streak but still has room to grow, especially with a 26th-ranked hard-hit rate (35.1 percent). The defense has actually improved in late-game situations, dragging the team’s bullpen from 28th in ERA (5.63) before the break to third (3.06) since then despite a nearly identical FIP (4.93 versus 4.92).
At 40-1, there may actually still be value on the Mets down the stretch, especially with their upcoming series against Washington and the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves. Surviving those could catapult New York into second place in the division and firmly into the wild-card picture.
Not bad for a 1000-1 long shot.
Other notable odds movements
Red Sox price reaches 100-1
The free fall continues for the Boston Red Sox, who were 30-1 to win the World Series in late July before dropping eight straight games and nine of their last 10. The Sox are a full six games back from the final AL wild-card spot and 16 games behind the AL East-leading New York Yankees, who have ripped off eight straight wins to take control of the division.
Boston was expected to be active at the deadline but instead left empty-handed, coinciding with the beginning of the team’s downward spiral.
Angels join listless long shots
It’s time for bettors to say goodbye to the Los Angeles Angels, whose price ballooned from 200-1 to 2000-1 after six straight losses since the deadline.
The Angels are the only team priced 200-1 or shorter at the deadline to see such a massive hit to their title odds. Mike Trout has been as reliable as ever, but a dreadful team .632 OPS and 7.65 ERA in August – both ranked 28th – won’t overcome a 9.5-game gap for the final wild-card spot.
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