Making history: Orioles' start among most profitable two-month runs
To say the Baltimore Orioles’ start to the season is a surprise is like saying Albert Pujols makes a comfortable living.
The Orioles, picked to finish last in the American League East again, have slapped baseball’s brightest analysts in the face with a 29-19 record, all the while earning a small fortune for Baltimore bettors loyal – or drunk – enough to bet on them night in and night out.
The O’s had earned 17.70 units heading into the weekend, which means if you'd wagered $100 on each of their games, you’d be up $1,770 - $1,035 in May alone. And the month isn’t even over yet.
But while those earnings are impressive, and are among the best two-month totals baseball bettors have seen in over a decade, they aren’t the golden goose of MLB betting.
That honor goes to the 2001 Seattle Mariners, who posted a 40-12 record through the first two months of the schedule and earned 29.60 units in the process.
Celebrating the franchise’s 25th anniversary, Seattle marched all the way to the ALCS behind rookie sensation Ichiro Suzuki and 20-game winner Jamie Moyer, despite losing all-star shortstop Alex Rodriguez to free agency that offseason. The Mariners finished with an MLB-best 116-46 mark, up 49.73 units.
Here’s a quick look at the other most profitable teams through April and May since 1999:
2001 Minnesota Twins – 34-17 for 18.20 units
The Twins pulled themselves out of the AL Central basement with the help of studs Torii Hunter and Corey Koskie along with righty Joe Mays, who won 17 games that season. Minnesota earned 13.60 units in April, starting 18-6, but slowed down in May for a 16-11 record.
2001 Philadelphia Phillies – 34-18 for 18.05 units
The 2001 season was one hell of a year for baseball bettors. The Phillies got off to an average start, earning 5.20 units with a 14-10 record in April. But Philadelphia exploded in May, winning 20 of 28 games and taking 12.85 units to the bank. It finished second in the National League East, at 86-76, and finished with just 7.85 units on the year.
2007 Boston Red Sox – 36-16 for 17.57 units
The Red Sox got their World Series-winning season off on the right foot, especially with a 20-8 May record that brought in 10.57 units for Red Sox Nation. Boston, one of the most popular teams in baseball, rarely provides betting value due to its juiced moneylines, making these totals all the more impressive. The BoSox finished the year on a profitable note as well, going 11-3 and earning 7.52 units en route to their second World Series title in four years.
2009 Los Angeles Dodgers – 29-21 for 17.12 units
The Dodgers stumbled out of the gate in 2009, posting a 9-12 record in April but still earning 6.32 units. Los Angeles got hot in May, going 20-9 and raking in 10.80 units, and carried that momentum to the best record in the NL - 95-67 for 10.90 units. The Dodgers had an impressive array of power bats in Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Manny Ramirez and hit an NL-best .288 through April and May.
2011 Cleveland Indians – 32-20 for 17.05 units
For those of us with short memories, last year’s Cleveland Indians were golden through the first month of the schedule, going 18-8 in April for 12.36 units. The Tribe cooled off in May with a 14-12 mark but still brought in 4.69 units. Cleveland finished 80-82 and watched those early profits dwindle to 2.39 units by September.
2002 Boston Red Sox – 36-15 for 17.00 units
Still under the shadow of the Curse of the Bambino, the Red Sox's hot start had Boston faithful thinking World Series. While those fans would have to wait two more years, they did manage to cash in through the first two months of the calendar, especially in May when the BoSox went 20-8 and earned 11.85 units.
Other notable April-May money makers:
2006 Detroit Tigers – 35-18 for 16.46 units
2004 Cincinnati Reds - 30-21 for 15.85 units
2005 Chicago White Sox – 35-17 for 15.81 units