The Chicago Cubs were one of baseball's hottest teams after the All-Star break. They significantly cut into the Milwaukee Brewers' division lead.
But the Cubs never caught the Brewers, and then Milwaukee got hot.
The Brewers came back Sunday to win their eighth game in a row, the longest current streak in baseball. The only good news for the Cubs is they have also been playing well, and despite Milwaukee's winning streak, they trail the Brewers by only four games in the division.
The Cubs and Brewers start a three-game series Monday in Chicago that is huge in the NL Central. The Cubs are -125 favorites for the opener at BetMGM.
Chicago gets one more shot at Milwaukee after this series. The two teams finish the regular season with a three-game series in Milwaukee.
Chicago has been playing well lately, as the Cubs have lost just one series since mid-July. They've been great for bettors. But they'd be at least five games back in the division if they don't win this series, and the wild-card race is tight, too.
Milwaukee's starting rotation started to get healthy and then they took off. Brandon Woodruff finally is off the injured list. Freddy Peralta has been pitching very well. Then Milwaukee's offense suddenly came alive during the winning streak.
This week's series at Wrigley Field should have a bit of a playoff feel. The Brewers' winning streak pushed the Cubs' odds to win the division to +275. If the Cubs are to win the division, this series is crucial.
Here's a first look at the sports betting schedule for Monday:
MLB has mostly full schedule
There are 14 games in MLB on Monday, with the other Central division having a showdown between first and second place. The Cleveland Guardians are fading and might get their last chance to stay in the AL Central race this week against the Minnesota Twins. The Twins' lead in the division is up to six games, and they are -165 favorites.
The Seattle Mariners continue their homestand against the Oakland A's, and they have overtaken the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros for the lead in the AL West. The series against Oakland gives Seattle a chance to extent the lead; they're -275 favorites in the opener.
Aces a rare underdog vs. Liberty
The Las Vegas Aces are up to an astonishing 30-5 this WNBA season, though they are coming off a loss. For Monday's game, Las Vegas is an underdog for the first time this season. The New York Liberty are a 1.5-point favorite over the Aces.
What's the best bet?
We'll go with a total. Zac Gallen is starting for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, and he has been excellent lately. Bobby Miller of the Los Angeles Dodgers has as well. The Dodgers can put up a big number, but I'll trust Gallen to put in a good start and take the under 8.5.