The Daily Sweat: Red-hot Brewers have the largest division lead in MLB

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Milwaukee's other pro sports team team has the largest division lead of any team in Major League Baseball and is coming off an 11-game winning streak. 

Yet, you don't hear all that much about the Milwaukee Brewers.  

The Brewers, who had their 11-game winning streak snapped on Sunday, try to start a new streak as they face the New York Mets on Monday. The Brewers are -135 favorites at BetMGM

Milwaukee is seven games up in the NL Central, and BetMGM's odds don't think the Brewers are giving up that lead. The Brewers are -700 to win the division. They have the fourth-best odds to win the National League, behind the Los Angeles Dodgers (+190), San Diego Padres (+400) and New York Mets (+450). A closer look at the Brewers shows some regression is coming, even if it might not be enough to fall in a weaker-than-expected division. 

The Brewers have a run differential of +47, which is a little low for a 51-34 team. Their expected record with that run differential is 48-37. They are 15-9 in one-run games, and the 15 one-run wins are tied for fifth-most in MLB. That usually regresses a bit, though having All-Star closer Josh Hader is one reason Milwaukee is strong in close games. 

The Brewers win because of their pitching. Their team ERA of 3.61 is the sixth-best in MLB. Brandon Woodruff, Corbin Burnes and Hader are all on the NL All-Star team, and third starter Freddy Peralta had a great case. If the Brewers' top three starters are all healthy in October, they could be dangerous in a playoff series. 

The hitting isn't so fearsome. The Brewers have a team OPS of .692, 22nd in MLB. Christian Yelich won MVP in 2018 and finished second in 2019, but he had a brutal 2020 and he has not bounced back much in 2021. The disappearance of his power is problematic for the Brewers. If Yelich gets hot in the second half the Brewers might go to another level, but to make a deep run in October they'll need more out of the former MVP. 

If you want to bet the Brewers — they are the fourth-most profitable team for bettors so far this season, according to Covers.com — they do well as underdogs. They're 19-10 as underdogs this season, the second-best record in baseball, according to TeamRankings.com. The Brewers' pitching will generally keep them in games and they'll hope to score enough to hand over a lead to the bullpen. 

Even as favorites the Brewers look like a good bet with Woodruff on the mound Monday. The Brewers are 12-4 in his starts, and the -135 odds for Monday aren't that high. The Mets are in first in the NL East and the series in New York should be a fun one. It might even be a playoff preview. 

Josh Hader is one reason the Brewers are in first place. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
Josh Hader is one reason the Brewers are in first place. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)

Here is the first look at the betting slate on this Monday: 

Last call for Canadiens

The Montreal Canadiens have been a great playoff story, but this is a lot to ask. Montreal is down 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, with Game 4 on Monday. Everyone knows the history of teams down 3-0. The Lightning are -160 favorites to close the series tonight. I do think Montreal will battle and I'd take the +130 for the home team, but it's scary to go against a Lightning team that has peaked at the right time and is on the verge of a second straight championship. 

MLB's short holiday schedule

Someone at Major League Baseball wasn't thinking ahead. Plenty of people have off work on Monday due to July 4 landing on a Sunday, but it's a normal Monday for MLB. 

There's no true afternoon game, the only early start is the St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants at 6:05 p.m. Eastern. There are only 11 games overall with some teams having the day off. It would have been a good day to have a few marquee afternoon games. 

There aren't a ton of great games either. The only three that have two teams with winning records are Brewers-Mets, Boston Red Sox vs. a Los Angeles Angels team one game over .500 and a Cleveland Indians team that's a +170 underdog at the Tampa Bay Rays. But it'll have to do. One underdog to consider might be the Philadelphia Phillies at +130 against a fading Chicago Cubs team. 

Who cashed tickets this weekend? 

The Milwaukee Bucks won the Eastern Conference, advancing to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1974. Now all the attention goes to Giannis Antetokounmpo's knee. The Bucks said after they closed out Game 6 vs. the Atlanta Hawks that Antetokounmpo has been pushing to play. We'll see if that's a ploy or whether he returns against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are -190 to win the series. 

The biggest development in MLB was probably the New York Yankees' continued struggles. The Yankees are just 42-41 after dropping two of three to the Mets. The Yankees did get a win on Sunday to get above .500, but this isn't the team anyone expected. 

What's the best bet today? 

I'll take the Chicago White Sox at a low -115 at BetMGM over the Minnesota Twins. Last Wednesday, Sox starter Dylan Cease and Twins starter Bailey Ober squared off, and Chicago won 13-3. The Twins have had a bad season and I'll keep backing the much better White Sox. 

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