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Parity in the Major Leagues 2006
by Jason Vernon
American League Parity
After two full weeks of play the parity of the
American League standings resemble the National Football League's annual
standings. Of the fourteen teams in the American League, eleven fall between
.400 and .600 winning percentages. No team in the AL appears to be unbeatable at
this moment and the only team with an extreme record is the Kansas City Royals
who appear to be facing a season of horrors as they sit at a 2-9 record.
In the American League East no team is under .500 and all five teams are
within two games of each other. The American League Central has three teams tied
for first at 7-5 records respectively and a fourth team one game behind them.
The American League West is even more tightly contested with all four teams
within 1.5 games of each other.
If this parity plays out over the course
of the season astute handicappers will look for opportunities where underdogs
are greatly undervalued by the betting public at large. For instance, the
Seattle's, Tampa Bay's and Minnesota's of the world will probably enter many of
their games as severe underdogs while in reality in an American League swimming
in parity their chances for victory will be much greater than what the line
National League Parity?
Not at all. The three divisions in the
National League are experiencing more of a lengthening of distance between
front-runners and their competition. The National League East features
baseball's best team in the New York Mets who are sitting at 9-2. The rest of
the division finds itself between four and six games back. The National League
Central is the tightest National League division with the Houston Astros on top
by no more than one game over four other teams. The Pittsburg Pirates are the
outlier in the division sitting five games back. The National League West is the
most balanced division in baseball in the sense that there is one team with a
.600+ winning percentage, three teams between .400 and .600 and one team below
I can't draw any general betting conclusions on the National League
teams as a whole at this point. But one team that has caught my eye is the
Cincinnati Reds who just may be the surprise team of baseball this year. If this
holds true the Reds are sure to be a very nicely valued underdog throughout the
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