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MLB Playoff Betting Picture Coming Into Focus

The Major League Baseball season begins in April, and for much of the summer fans speculate on which teams will reach the postseason. With only a couple of weeks left in the regular season, the playoff betting picture is coming into focus for Las Vegas odds makers.

The sports books have not had to alter their betting odds much this season. For the most part, the teams that were expected to be in the playoffs, will be in the playoffs. The Yankees, Red Sox, Phillies, Rangers, and Giants were all favored to head to the postseason.

Of the favorites, only the Giants are on the outside looking in. The rest of the teams have either locked up playoff berths, or are in the process of doing so. The Rangers and Red Sox now appear to the teams that will have to fight all the way until the last week of the season to gain entrance into the playoffs.

Philadelphia clinched a playoff spot on Wednesday behind another dominant performance by Roy Halladay. The Yankees have put some distance between themselves and Boston thanks to a miserable September so far by the Red Sox. Boston is now trying to hold off the surging Rays for the wild card spot.

Texas is also locked in a battle in the American league West. The Los Angeles Angels have stayed within striking distance of the Rangers, and are only three games off the division lead heading into the weekend. The Angels are 4.5 games behind both Texas in the West, and Boston in the wild card chase.

In the National League, the only playoff spot left to decide, barring a collapse of the division leaders, is the wild card. Atlanta had a firm grasp on the wild card all season long, but has played terribly in the past few weeks. The Braves struggles have left the door open for St. Louis to creep back into the picture, only 4.5 games behind Atlanta.

The defending champion San Francisco Giants are hanging by a thread in the wild card chase, 6.5 games behind the Braves. San Francisco has little chance of catching Arizona, who is eight games up on the Giants.

The Cardinals have also made up some ground on Milwaukee in the NL Central. The Brewers were cruising a couple of weeks ago, and it looked like they were running away with the division, but a recent slump has cut the Brewers lead over St. Louis to 5.5 games.

The Detroit Tigers are within a couple of games of clinching their division, holding a 13.5 game lead over Chicago.

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