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Yankees Defying Betting Odds With Strong Start

The rest of the American League East were counting their blessings this Spring when the New York Yankees started experiencing injury after injury to their star players. Gamblers jumped off of the Yankees bandwagon, leaving Toronto, Boston, and even Baltimore, with better odds to win the division.

When Derek Jeter announced that he would not be back before the All-Star break, and with Mark Texeira and Curtis Granderson out as well, the season looked bleak. Throw in Alex Rodriguez' injury, and New York appeared headed for a disaster.

Fast-forward to mid-May, and the Yankees find themselves in a familiar place, at the top of the AL East. The Yankees have made the most of some savvy veterans, and have received above average pitching through the season's first two months.

Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, and Travis Hafner were all stars at some point in their career, but have been unable to find that stardom over the past several years. Wells is one of the leading RBI guys for the Yankees, while Overbay and Hafner have provided some much-needed power.

Odds makers always have to account for the natural bias of gamblers towards the Yankees, and this year the Yankees were the fourth betting choice to win the division coming into the year. That gave bettors an opportunity to take a chance on the Bronx Bombers at a reasonable price.

"Sports books have to be a little concerned with how the Yankees have started the season," said Analyst Grant Frelsky. "Gamblers always bet more heavily on the Yankees than any other team, and there are a lot of tickets out there in Las Vegas that have the Yankees winning the pennant. If it happens, it could be a blow to the sports books."

With plenty of season left, teams such as the Blue Jays and Red Sox have time to recover. Toronto is dealing with injury issues of their own, and Boston has played well early this year. Baltimore is the closest team to the Yankees in the standings, and they are coming off a season in which they returned to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade.

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