The Los Angeles Dodgers have won all seven of Clayton Kershaw’s starts this season. But the three-time Cy Young Award winner has been only the second-best money pitcher in baseball.
The surprising journeyman on the mound who has made the most cash for bettors is Pirates right-hander Jordan Lyles (5-1, 2.81 ERA). Pittsburgh has won eight of his nine starts, including Thursday’s 14-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies.
A $100 bettor would be up $880 after backing Lyles in each of his starts, according to Covers.com, with a Pirates-and-under parlay cashing in five of the wins.
With almost one-third of the season in the books, let’s take a look at some of the other biggest winners and losers (through Wednesday’s games).
The Houston Astros (33-17) have been the hottest team in baseball, winning 15 of 18 games, but the perpetual favorites rank eighth on the list of money winners, based on $100 bets.
The Minnesota Twins (32-16) have been the most profitable team by far, earning $1,641 for their backers. The Dodgers (32-18) are second with a profit of $805, followed by the Texas Rangers ($768), Chicago Cubs ($673) and Milwaukee Brewers ($642).
The Twins lead the majors in runs scored (273) and are second in batting average (.269) and home runs (90). Minnesota leads Cleveland by seven games in the American League Central and is a minus 350 favorite at William Hill sportsbook to win the division. But handicapper Micah Roberts still expects the Indians (+210) to win the division.
“I’d like to believe that the Twins are for real. I just can’t really get behind them,” said Roberts (Sportsline.com), a former Las Vegas sportsbook director. “The Indians’ bullpen has been great this season, and their starting rotation and bats will get better. I think, in the long run, the Indians will pull through.”
The Nationals (19-30) have been the biggest losers at the books, costing their backers $1,810. Washington ace Max Scherzer is the biggest loser on the hill, hemorrhaging $1,200, as the team is 2-9 in his starts.
The Red Sox (27-23) have been the second-biggest losers, at minus $1,099, and ace Chris Sale is the second-biggest losing pitcher at minus $1,030, as the team has lost seven of his 10 starts. But Boston has gone 21-10 since its 6-13 start and has won three of Sale’s past four outings.
Other big losers are the Kansas City Royals (-$928), New York Mets (-$833) and Miami Marlins (-$781).
Losingest pitchers include the Mets’ Jacob deGrom (-$783), Kansas City’s Jorge Lopez (-$721), Toronto’s Marcus Stroman (-$648) and Miami’s Trevor Richards (-$590).
Domingo German is the No. 3 money pitcher, as the New York Yankees are 8-1 in his starts for a profit of $654.
Chicago White Sox starter Lucas Giolito is fourth ($585) and Minnesota ace Jose Berrios fifth ($571), with a Twins-and-over parlay cashing six times. Houston ace Justin Verlander is eighth on the money list ($514), and an Astros-and-under parlay has hit eight times.
The Seattle Mariners are the top over team at 34-16, and the Red Sox are second at 29-19-1. Ivan Nova (White Sox) and Eduardo Rodriguez (Red Sox) are the top over pitchers at 9-1.
The Cincinnati Reds have the best under mark at 31-17, followed by the Indians (29-18) and Brewers (30-20). Shane Bieber (Indians) has an 8-1 under mark, Tyler Mahle (Reds) is 7-1, Verlander is 9-2 and Zach Davies (Brewers) is 8-2.
Rookie Chris Paddack has a 7-2 under mark, and San Diego is 7-2 in his starts, with a Padres-and-under parlay cashing six times.
Roberts is looking to back the Reds, who are 7-13 in one-run games, and fade the San Francisco Giants, who are 13-4 in one-run games.
“The Reds’ bullpen has been crazy good,” he said. “They’re always in games. They’ve been in so many one-run games, they’re a team you might be able to trust a little more going forward. They’re better than their record.
“Conversely, on the other side is the Giants. They’ve been kind of lucky in those spots, and it can just as quickly turn the other way.”
Baseball money leaders
Stats, based on $100 bets, courtesy of Covers.com
Through Wednesday’s games
Top 10 teams
Team, record, amount won
Twins, 32-16, $1,641
Dodgers, 32-18, $805
Rangers, 24-23, $768
Cubs, 29-18, $673
Brewers, 29-22, $642
Pirates, 24-22, $565
Yankees, 31-17, $507
Astros, 33-17, $430
Phillies, 28-21, $291
White Sox, 22-26, $227
Top 10 pitchers
Pitcher (team), record, amount won
Jordan Lyles (Pirates), 8-1, $880
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers), 7-0, $700
Domingo German (Yankees), 8-1, $654
Lucas Giolito (White Sox), 6-2, $585
Jose Berrios (Twins), 8-2, $571
Brandon Woodruff (Brewers), 8-2, $551
Jake Odorizzi (Twins), 7-3, $540
Justin Verlander (Astros), 9-2, $514
German Marquez (Rockies), 8-3, $506
Cole Hamels (Cubs), 8-2, $474