Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, September 29, 2011 at 5:17 PM
Because of popular demand, we’ve decided to provide some additional web material to my “College of Advanced Handicapping” series that you’ve been watching on video here at the website. My staff and I will now be providing two additional articles per week to help supplement and build on what I talk about in my videos.
Today, we’ve put together some notes on strategies for handicapping the Major League Baseball playoffs that start Friday. I’d like to thank all of you who won with me online throughout the regular season in the bases. I’m looking forward to getting the money on a daily basis throughout the playoffs and World Series in the coming days.
First, let’s review the fundamentals…
*The best players usually win…so you want to think very carefully about which team has the best players. This isn’t as obvious as it might seem in baseball for a variety of reasons. Ballparks can create false reads in the statistics of key players (left-handed hitters in Yankee Stadium may have inflated home run totals for example). Sometimes savvy veteran pitchers can hang tough with their craftiness through the regular season…but their tricks don’t work against elite offenses in October. You need to figure who’s really the best!
For PITCHERS, the advanced handicapping approach is to focus on strikeout rate. Pitchers with the best strikeout rate can control their own destiny to a large degree. They can pitch out of jams if they need to. They make it hard for opposing offenses to string together hits. Postseason history has shown that high strikeout pitchers are much more successful than junkballers.
For HITTERS, the advanced approach is to focus on walks and power. You just don’t win playoff games with singles. Drawing walks gets you on base. Power moves the merry-go-round. Study the team stats, and the individual stats of key players on every playoff squad to determine which offensive “units” are best suited to post-season play.
*Experience is overrated in the playoffs…so you don’t want to fall into the trap of laying prices that are too high on veteran teams. Last year is a great example of this…as the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers came from off the radar to play each other in the World Series.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting experience is irrelevant. There are some seasons where teams who have been around the block a few times have an edge over newcomers. My point is, ODDSMAKERS and BETTORS often overrate experience. There will be an extra 10-20 cents in the line (sometimes more) because everyone’s listening to TV announcers talk about “clutch” performance in past seasons. Smart handicappers look for value. Possibly the single biggest factor in terms of “advanced handicapping” is the tenacious search for value.
*Game conditions often impact playoff games much more dramatically than they do regular season games. There are some weird starting times, which can put shadows across the diamond in some afternoon starts. Weather is cooler in October than it’s been all summer. This year we’ll have the visibility created by the roof in Milwaukee to consider (the indoor lighting is very dim at that stadium).
It’s tough enough to hit elite pitchers in perfect scoring conditions on a 90-degree day in June. Trying hitting Justin Verlander through shadows, or Roy Halladay in dim lighting. Basic handicapping stops at the raw stats of the starting pitchers. Advanced handicapping includes the game conditions that those pitchers will be throwing in that afternoon or evening.
Oh, remember to use the advanced strategies when picking TOTALS in addition to team sides in the postseason. Sometimes the best option in a game is the Under in a duel of power pitchers in tough scoring conditions…or the Over with lesser pitchers in comfortable temperatures with the wind blowing out.
You’ll be able to purchase my game day baseball releases right here at the website throughout the postseason. Be on the lookout for 50-unit super-plays and possibly even 100-unit Game of the Year releases this weekend. I really like how the pitching matchups have shaped up from a handicapping perspective.
Here are the matchups for Friday and Saturday…
Tampa Bay at Texas (Shields vs. Wilson)
Detroit at the NY Yankees (Verlander vs. Sabathia)
Arizona at Milwaukee (Kennedy vs. Gallardo)
St. Louis at Philadelphia (Garcia vs. Halladay)
Tampa Bay at Texas (undecided vs. Holland)
Detroit at the NY Yankees (Fister vs. Nova)
Check in with me every day online to see what big plays are available in the bases. Of course, it’s going to be a HUGE football weekend too. The action starts tonight with South Florida-Pittsburgh on ESPN. We’ll keep building our bankrolls Friday with Utah State-BYU. One of my biggest plays so far this season is scheduled for Saturday in college football.
Thanks for supporting my “College of Advanced Handicapping.” My staff and I look forward to serving you on these pages in the coming days and weeks.