It’s baseball’s time to shine. With the Golden State Warriors claiming the NBA title and the Colorado Avalanche taking NHL honors in June, it leaves U.S. sports bettors with only one of the Big Four pro leagues to bet on. From the beginning of July, until the NFL preseason starts in mid-August, MLB will have the U.S. sports betting spotlight all to itself.

Traditionally, July in baseball represents the gateway to the dog days of summer. With the MLB All-Star Game break scheduled from July 18-21, the baseball action is coming nicely to a boil. There are many teams jockeying for playoff positions. Other teams are already looking to make trades as their thoughts start turning to next year.

As the league moves toward the halfway point of the season, here are the recent World Series Odds:

New York Yankees +420
Los Angeles Dodgers +450
Houston Astros +650
New York Mets +700
Atlanta Braves +1200
Toronto Blue Jays +1200
San Diego Padres +1300
Milwaukee Brewers +1600
Chicago White Sox +2500
Tampa Bay Rays +2800
St. Louis Cardinals +2800
San Francisco Giants +3500
Boston Red Sox +3500
Philadelphia Phillies +4000
Minnesota Twins +4000
Los Angeles Angels +6000
Cleveland Guardians +6000

It looks like the rest of the teams will be finishing the season on the outside looking in. But even they have plenty to play for while preparing for a brighter 2023. Let’s take a swing at handicapping the divisions from this point moving forward.

NL East

At 50-30, the New York Mets have done an outstanding job holding things together with superstar pitchers Max Scherzer and Jake deGrom on the injured reserve list for much of the season. With Scherzer scheduled to return to the mound in July, the Mets look formidable behind an offense that ranks 3rd in MLB in batting average (.259) and runs scored (366).

The World Series Defending champ Atlanta Braves (47-34) have been playing better of late. They should be able to exert some pressure on the Mets throughout the rest of the season.

NL Central

The Central is stacking up again as a two-team race between the Milwaukee Brewers (47-35) and the St. Louis Cardinals (44-38). While both teams have manageable pitching staffs, the Cardinals have a significant advantage on offense with the 2nd highest scoring team (370 runs) in MLB. One key pickup at the trade deadline by either team could tip the scales.

NL West

The Los Angeles Dodgers currently have the best record in the NL at 50-29. As has been the case with the NY Mets, they have held together quite well despite key injuries to Clayton Kershaw (SP), Walter Buehler (SP), and Mookie Betts (OF). While Buehler could be out for the season, Kershaw and Betts are ready to rejoin the team. There is no shortage of strong bats and arms on this roster.

As strong as the Dodgers look, the San Diego Padres (47-35) and San Francisco Giants (40-38) won’t be laying down. Of these two teams, the Padres have the bats to compete if and when superstar SS/OF Fernando Tatis Jr. makes it back from the injury list.

AL East

With a record of 58-22, the New York Yankees are the elite of MLB and running away with the AL East. Still, the Toronto Blue Jays (44-37), Boston Red Sox (45-35), and Tampa Bay Rays (43-37) trail only the Yankees and the AL West’s Houston Astros for the best record in the AL. All three teams have a great shot at a Wild Card spot without much chance of winning the division.

AL Central

The Minnesota Twins lead the AL Central (46-37) with the Cleveland Guardians (40-38) and Chicago White Sox (38-40) in reasonably close pursuit. While the Guardians have been playing well of late, this division will likely go down to which team is playing best during the last two weeks of the season.

AL West

In the AL West, the AL defending champ Houston Astros are running away with the division with a record of 52-27. Realistically, the chasing teams in the division would need a monster trade and subsequent hot streak to make the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Astros are almost as loaded with talent as the Yankees, and much younger.

Prediction: Believe it or not, the Yankees might represent betting value at +420. That’s how good they are. For a flier, the Cardinals at +2800 might be just one solid pitcher away from making an outside run at a World Series Title.