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Giants among biggest MLB money winners, best bets

Halfway through baseball season, here’s a look at the biggest money winners and losers, best bets and odds and ends.

— The San Francisco Giants have been the biggest overachievers. A 100-1 long shot at BetMGM sportsbook in April to win the World Series, the Giants entered Thursday with baseball’s best record (50-29) and are the largest liability at William Hill, Station Casinos and MGM, where they’re now the 16-1 10th choice to win the title.

— Based on a $100 wager per game, San Francisco has been the biggest moneymaker for bettors, winning $1,884, or 18.8 units, according to Covers.com.

The surprising Seattle Mariners, who have a better record (43-39) than the New York Yankees (41-39), are the No. 2 money team, earning $1,831 for their backers.

The Boston Red Sox (50-31, $1,676) are third on the money list.

— The odds are against the Giants winning the National League West, where they’re the +480 third choice at Circa Sports behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (-185) and San Diego Padres (+335). But handicapper Micah Roberts, a former Las Vegas sportsbook director, likes San Francisco to win the division title.

“I’ve never seen the division leader heading into July at (+480),” said Roberts (Sportsline.com). “Buster Posey has turned what was a junky pitching staff into arguably one of the best rotations in baseball, where all five regular starters are plus units on the year.”

Roberts also noted that the Giants are second in the majors in home runs and among the leaders in several other offensive categories.

“I’m not quite sure how they’re doing it,” Westgate vice president of risk Ed Salmons said. “It’s amazing. Most people can’t name their lineup.”

— Anthony DeSclafani is the fifth-best money pitcher, earning his backers $691 as the Giants have gone 11-5 in his starts. San Francisco starter Kevin Gausman is No. 8 ($599, 11-5).

— The most profitable pitcher in baseball isn’t NL Cy Young and MVP favorite Jacob deGrom ($163, 10-3). It’s Tigers right-hander Casey Mize, who has won $912, as Detroit has gone 9-6 in his starts.

Roberts recommends riding Mize in July. He’s slated to start Friday against the White Sox. The Tigers have won and gone under in his last three starts.

Roberts also recommends backing Zack Wheeler ($129, 9-7) in July, noting the Phillies have gone 3-1 in his past four starts and that his last five starts have gone under.

“Mize and Wheeler are still priced in decent ranges,” he said.

— Cleveland’s Aaron Civale ($818, 12-3) is the No. 2 money pitcher, followed by Seattle’s Chris Flexen ($795, 10-4) and Logan Gilbert ($723, 6-2), who is scheduled to start Friday against the Rangers.

— Not surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Rays ($840, 47-34) and Oakland A’s ($711, 48-34) are again in the thick of the playoff race. Roberts likes the Rays to win the American League pennant (+675, Circa), noting they’re No. 2 in the AL in walks, No. 2 in the majors in steals and have the second-lowest ERA and bullpen ERA in the AL.

“I think they’ll be around,” he said. “They have good pitching, good coaching, they’re patient at the plate and aggressive running the bases. They’re just a good all-around ballclub.”

— The Yankees (-$1,057) and Minnesota Twins ($-1,740, 33-45) have been two of the biggest underachievers and losers at the betting window.

“Somehow the Yankees have turned their team into all right-handed hitters playing in the most left-handed hitter-friendly stadium,” Salmons said.

— The Diamondbacks are the biggest loser, costing their backers $3,321 in a 22-60 start. Arizona has lost 28 of its last 29 road games, a stretch that included a 24-game road losing streak.

But the Diamondbacks don’t have baseball’s worst road record. That distinction belongs to the Colorado Rockies, who are the biggest losers away from home (-$2,266, 6-31) and the biggest winners at home ($1,570, 28-16).

“The public pretty much bets against the Rockies and the Diamondbacks on the road in every game,” Salmons said.

Bettors also have won by fading the Baltimore Orioles (-$1,352, 27-54) and Pittsburgh Pirates (-$981, 29-50).

— Dodgers starter Trevor Bauer is one of the 20 biggest losers (-$466, 8-9), and Roberts recommends fading the reigning Cy Young Award winner in July.

“For whatever reason, he’s the weak link, from a betting perspective, in the Dodgers’ rotation,” he said. “I keep waiting for that to change, and it hasn’t.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.