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The Daily Sweat: MLB returns with the disappointing Yankees as favorites

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The New York Yankees might not have been the most disappointing team in Major League Baseball before the All-Star break, but they're on a short list. 

New York is 46-43, in fourth place of the AL East, percentage points behind the Toronto Blue Jays. They're eight games out of first place. They had a stunning collapse against the Houston Astros on Sunday, giving up six runs in the ninth inning — including a walk-off home run by Jose Altuve to lose 8-7. For a team that was among the World Series favorites before the season started, they've been surprisingly mediocre. 

And yet, they start the second half as favorites. The Yankees are -135 at BetMGM over the first-place Boston Red Sox

The odds don't make a lot of sense on the surface considering the Yankees' woes. There was not even an official starting pitcher listed against Boston's Eduardo Rodriguez as of Thursday morning. 

The Yankees do have urgency. If they drop three or four games in the four-game series, it might be time to consider selling at the trade deadline. Even a split leaves them in a massive hole. There's also the notion that the Yankees will start a winning streak at some point, even if that hasn't really happened yet. 

The Yankees have been on a slide down the standings for a while. Their plight will be in the spotlight Thursday; Yankees-Red Sox is the only game on the schedule. It seems like the right play to take the Red Sox at +110, considering they've been the better team this season. But if you're going to get the best of the Yankees at any point this season, this weekend might be the time to start. 

New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge and his teammates need a second-half turnaround. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge and his teammates need a second-half turnaround. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Here's a first look at the betting slate for Thursday: 

Just one MLB game? 

In recent years, the MLB has stretched the All-Star break through Thursday. That used to be when all teams returned, but no longer. 

The Yankees and Red Sox square off, and that's always an interesting rivalry (albeit overhyped, to most of the country). On Friday MLB returns in full with 17 games, including a Phillies-Marlins doubleheader. But Thursday night, it's all Red Sox-Yankees. 

Who cashed tickets last night? 

The Milwaukee Bucks won a thrilling Game 4 and somehow covered a 4.5-point spread. Despite rarely leading at all through a tense game, Milwaukee took a late lead and an unbelievable Giannis Antetokounmpo block helped the Bucks extend their lead. Milwaukee ended up hitting free throws at the end to win 109-103, a tough beat for Suns bettors. 

With that Bucks win the series is tied 2-2, and the Suns' odds to win the NBA title are down to -150. 

What else is happening Thursday? 

The answer is, not much. The British Open teed off before you were awake. The NBA Finals doesn't resume until Saturday. It's just a rough week for sports bettors. We'll get through it together. 

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