The NL wild-card race features many losses

Let’s check in on the NL wild-card race. If we have to.

The St. Louis Cardinals, who have been outscored by 12 runs this season, have the second spot (the Los Angeles Dodgers are running away with the first spot). They might end up winning it because nobody else wants it. Here are the other four teams in the race:

Cincinnati Reds, lost three in a row
San Diego Padres, lost five in a row
Philadelphia Phillies, lost two in a row
New York Mets, lost two in a row

That’s depressing.

There isn’t a lot of divisional intrigue. The only division that has any drama left is the NL West, and the San Francisco Giants’ hot streak has put the Dodgers 2.5 back. The AL wild-card race is fun. The NL wild-card race is sad.

Every one of those teams vying for the right to get beat by the Dodgers in a one-game playoff is sad in their own way. On Wednesday at BetMGM, here are the odds for the games involving the five teams still in the mix:

Reds -155 at Pirates
Cubs at Phillies -200
Cardinals at Mets -175

The Padres-Giants line wasn’t up early Wednesday morning, but the Giants will be favored.

The Phillies and Padres in particular have been hugely disappointing. The Phillies had a remarkably easy schedule in August and September, and they can’t beat bad teams. They’ve quickly faded from the NL East race and they’re not showing much interest in getting a wild card either. The Padres loaded up for a run at the Dodgers this past offseason and they’re just four games above .500. They had one of the five most talented rosters in baseball and they need to turn around yet another slump to win an awful wild-card race.

At least the Cardinals are winning games lately. Nobody else is. It’ll be so fun to see who earns the right to be a +200 underdog against Max Scherzer and the Dodgers in a playoff game.

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) reacts after striking out against the Cubs. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here’s the first look at the sports betting slate on Wednesday:

What’s on the MLB schedule?

We’re just going to call the rest of the Wednesdays in September “Football Eve.” MLB is at its best when we have great playoff races and there are very few this season. We get a lot of big favorites every night because half of the teams are out of the race and traded off their players long ago. Other than the AL wild-card race and perhaps the NL West race if the Giants ever falter, it’s not a good month for MLB.

On Wednesday, 10 of the 13 MLB games posted overnight at BetMGM had a favorite of -150 or more. Of the three games that didn’t have a big favorite, only the Red Sox (-130) vs. Mariners has any interest. The other two games (Marlins -120 vs. Nationals, Indians vs. Twins -110) are between teams we forgot about long ago.

What’s the most important MLB game on the slate?

It’s probably the Tampa Bay Rays at the Toronto Blue Jays. Toronto is a -175 favorite. The Jays’ hot streak got them right in the thick of the AL wild-card race, though a 2-0 loss to the Rays Tuesday was a setback. The Rays might generally be a good bet as a big underdog, but they’re up nine games in the AL East and it’s hard to know how motivated they’ll be every night until October.

Who cashed tickets on Tuesday?

The Dodgers kept winning. The bad news is so did the Giants. The Giants have won nine in a row, which has kept them in front of the Dodgers. Los Angeles has won five in a row and can’t make up any ground. The Giants have a 2.5-game lead in the NL West race. If you’ve just been parlaying the Dodgers and Giants lately, you’re going pretty well.

What’s the best bet?

I want to answer that the best bet is wait until Thursday and bet on the Washington Football Team, but instead we’ll go with the Indians at -110 over the Twins. Let’s be honest: It’s going to be hard to find decent betting opportunities on non-football days. At least until October starts.