The second half of the Major League Baseball season is upon us, and that means it’s a very popular time to place some bets in the futures market.

While you may be looking at some of the teams atop the odds with name value as the likely winners of the World Series, I’m seeing some value a bit further down the board.

The Toronto Blue Jays entered the season as one of my favorites to win it all, and I’ve seen nothing to deter me from doubling down at the break.

While they may sit third in the AL East, the path to making up the seven games to win the division isn’t a very treacherous one.

Tampa Bay has begun to wobble a bit, losing seven of its last 10, and that should open up the race a bit, with an inexperienced Orioles team in second.

Even if Toronto has to settle for a wild-card berth, it won’t have many worthy challengers outside of Baltimore and whomever finishes second in the AL West.

The Yankees’ offense has sputtered since the injury to Aaron Judge and there’s no telling how long he’ll be out.

Seattle has no offense to speak of, and Boston’s pitching has been suspect.

Entering the second half, the Blue Jays have a top-10 staff, according to xFIP, highlighted by the second-best bullpen in baseball.

Adley Rutschman
Adley Rutschman
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They rank eighth in wRC+ and seventh in barrels per plate appearance.

And they are coming off of a month of June in which they finished just outside the top 10 in offensive production.

They haven’t shown any signs of slowing down and have an excellent blend of experience, pop and shutdown pitching.

On top of that, even Alek Manoah looked strong in his return to the big league rotation last week.

If the Blue Jays don’t tickle your fancy in the American League, the Cleveland Guardians are also an interesting bet.

Corbin Carroll
Corbin Carroll
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Their offense has been pretty mediocre all year, but they posted a 110 wRC+ in June and are beginning to look like the pesky club they were a year ago.

They have the benefit of playing in an incredibly weak division and could really make noise if they tap into their deep farm system to acquire an arm at the deadline.

Over in the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies deserve more love.

Their rotation and bullpen each rank in the top six in the game according to xFIP, and they’re hitting .265 since the start of June.

Betting on Baseball?

Now that the offense has begun to come around and Bryce Harper has started to produce, with 13 hits in his last 10 games, we could see another deep playoff run from this group.

Don’t forget about the Arizona Diamondbacks, either, who are going off at nearly 30/1 to win the World Series.

They have a top-10 bullpen by the numbers and have assembled a very dangerous lineup, highlighted by the odds-on Rookie of the Year favorite, Corbin Carroll.

The Dodgers may be the favorites to win the NL West on paper, but they enter the weekend tied with the Diamondbacks atop the standings.

The Dodgers lack the dominant offense they have had in years past and their bullpen has been a huge disappointment so far.

Arizona should have every opportunity to win the division and go deep into October.