The Cleveland Indians hold only a half-game lead in the American League Central but there are plenty of indications the Tribe will pull away at some point. For starters, Pythagorean W-L records show the Tribe have underachieved whereas the Twins and Royals have overachieved. Based on runs scored and allowed, Cleveland should be 43-33 while Minnesota and Kansas City check in at 33-42. Chicago, which is seven games out, has actually played .500 baseball from a runs score/allowed standpoint while Detroit, slightly worse at 36-40.
One of the main reason Cleveland is poised for better fortunes on the horizon is that nearly the entire starting staff has outpitched its ERA. Check out the numbers below. Bauer, Tomlin, and Salazar all have their faults but have also pitched way better than their ERA suggests.
Corey Kluber: 3.24 ERA, 2.81 xFIP
Carlos Carrasco: 3.67 ERA, 3.51 xFIP
Trevor Bauer: 5.53 ERA, 3.64 xFIP
Josh Tomlin: 6.09 ERA, 4.20 xFIP
*Danny Salazar: 5.40 ERA, 3.57 xFIP
*Salazar currently on the DL but slated to return shortly.
But we're hardly the only ones to spot that Cleveland should be better than its overall record. The problem is how do we as bettors take advantage? The answer is, you probably don't. Last season, the Indians won 94 regular season games which was good for +9 units (+17 units if you include the postseason). Their average moneyline price was around -130. This year, bettors aren't finding a lot of -130's. In fact, Cleveland's average moneyline price is a staggering -152. That's led to around -15 units. So let's say Cleveland does start to win games at the rate that some of its numbers suggest. It'll still be extremely difficult for bettors to cash in due to the high price tags. And another thing to remember is that the oddsmakers aren't going to "cool" on this team. Meaning, even if Cleveland continues to flounder from a W-L perspective, that -152 isn't going to drop. And if they do turn it on and run away with these division like most feel they will, the prices have nowhere to go but up and making money on the Cleveland Indians -- even on the run-line -- will be damn near impossible. Your best bet is to find the occasional favorable spot/price and take advantage.