The Daily Sweat: The AL West race is one of the most compelling MLB storylines

The race to win the American League West is one of the most compelling storylines in baseball.

The Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros and Texas Rangers are all within one game in the standings, and the Mariners have been on fire lately. They have won 12 of their past 13 games to jump to first in the division.

The Mariners swept the Astros last weekend in Houston, took two of three from the White Sox in Chicago and then started their home stand with four more wins — a sweep of the Kansas City Royals and a 7-0 win over the Oakland A’s on Monday. The Mariners are massive -300 favorites over the A’s on Tuesday at BetMGM.

The Astros have had a bit of a bumpy August, but their bats have come alive the past few days. They beat the Detroit Tigers 17-4 on Sunday before blasting the Boston Red Sox 13-5 on Monday. Their three-game series in Boston continues Tuesday, and the Astros are +105 underdogs at Fenway Park.

The Rangers, meanwhile, have been reeling. They snapped an eight-game losing streak in Minnesota over the weekend and then posted a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Monday. The Rangers are -130 favorites at Citi Field on Tuesday.

Despite that losing streak, the Rangers are 74-57 on the year. The Astros are 75-58, and the Mariners are 75-56.

It’s a heated race that could come down to the wire. As of Tuesday morning, the Astros, the defending World Series champions, are the betting favorites to emerge as division champions at BetMGM. The Astros are listed at +150, just ahead of the Mariners at +165. The Rangers are within striking distance at +210.

The Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning Monday against the Oakland Athletics. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)
The Seattle Mariners' Julio Rodriguez hits a two-run home run in the fourth inning Monday against the Oakland Athletics. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

What else is going on in MLB?

The National League wild-card race is going to come down to the wire. While the Philadelphia Phillies have surged ahead of the pack, there are five other teams within three games in the standings.

Two of those teams are in action Tuesday, as the San Francisco Giants host the Cincinnati Reds. The Giants took the first game of the series 4-1 on Monday and are -165 favorites at BetMGM for Tuesday's matchup.

Elsewhere, the Milwaukee Brewers have won nine consecutive games to build a five-game lead over the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. The Brewers beat the Cubs 6-2 on Monday at Wrigley Field, but the Cubs are -135 favorites Tuesday. The Cubs are currently a half-game up for the second NL wild-card spot.

Another team in the wild-card race is the Miami Marlins, who are 2.5 games back of the final spot. The Marlins are -120 favorites at home vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, who lead the AL wild-card standings and are 2.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East.

Elsewhere, the Phillies have won four straight and are -165 favorites at home vs. the Los Angeles Angels, while the Minnesota Twins will try to continue distancing themselves from the Cleveland Guardians in the AL Central. The Twins, currently seven games up in the division, are -160 home favorites.

College football lookahead

We got our first taste of college football action Saturday, but things get real Thursday with Week 1. There are two very intriguing matchups on the board, with Utah hosting Florida and Minnesota hosting Nebraska.

Utah is currently a 6.5-point favorite over Florida. The line has moved quite a bit with the status of Utah QB Cam Rising unclear. Rising suffered a torn ACL in last year’s Rose Bowl, and his availability has caused a lot of action on the betting market. The Utes were double-digit favorites at one point in the offseason. Last week, the spread dipped as low as Utah -4.5, but now it’s back up to just below a touchdown.

Nebraska, in its first game under new head coach Matt Rhule, is a seven-point underdog at Minnesota. Rhule executed turnarounds at Temple and Baylor but had a disastrous stint in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers. Can he start off his Huskers tenure with an upset win?

What's the best bet?

I'll take the Rays at +100 over the Marlins.

I know Sandy Alcantara is on the mound for Miami, but he has allowed at least three earned runs in three of his past four starts while giving up seven home runs in that span. The Rays have won six of their past seven, and I was surprised to see them available at plus money.