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Odds changing on Rays, Mets

Behind the lines

June 18, 2008|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

The Major League Baseball season is weeks away from the All-Star break, but pennant odds for the New York Mets and Tampa Bay Rays have already drastically changed.

After a subpar start that cost manager Willie Randolph his job, New York has become a shaky bet despite being the preseason favorite to win this year's National League championship.

On the other end of the spectrum is Tampa Bay, which began the season as a longshot for the American League title, but after a strong start, the Rays are now listed as a major contender by oddsmakers.

The explanation for the quick Las Vegas turnarounds? Unrealistic expectations.

For the Mets, once they picked up standout pitcher Johan Santana during the off-season, they were immediately installed as a heavy favorite for the NL pennant. Just look back to February when New York was listed at +175 at Betonline.com, the best odds of any team to represent the NL in the World Series.

The Mets were even made a strong favorite to win this season's World Series with 5.5-1 odds at Bodoglife.com. Only the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox had better numbers at 3.5-1.

But by the time the Mets replaced Randolph with interim Manager Jerry Manuel on Tuesday, their odds had already dropped to 6-1 to win the NL pennant, behind Chicago (9-4), Arizona (4-1) and Philadelphia (9-2).

Before the season, the Rays were listed at 75-1 to win the AL pennant at VegasInsider.com.

With Tampa Bay currently in second place in the AL East behind the Red Sox, oddsmakers have responded.

At VegasInsider.com, Tampa Bay is now listed with 10-1 odds to win the AL pennant. Boston is still the favorite at 7-4, followed by the Angels at 11-4, New York Yankees at 9-2, Chicago at 6-1 and Cleveland at 8-1.

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Updated odds for Wimbledon, which begins next week, have been posted at Sportsbook.com with Roger Federer and Maria Sharapova being listed as the favorites to win the men's and women's singles championships.

Federer is 1-1, followed by Novak Djokovic at 3-1 and Rafael Nadal at 4-1.

On the women's side, Sharapova is listed at 9-4, followed by Serena Williams at 5-2, Venus Williams at 9-2 and Ana Ivanovic at 5-1.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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