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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Man, losing six of your last eight games is disappointing. Losing eight of your last 10 games is a slump. Losing 14 of 16 is humiliating…often so bad that it gets a manager fired or several starters benched. The Houston Astros are so bad right now...with a roster that might struggle to win Minor League games, that the team is 2-22 its last 24 outings!

Some quick details:

9 game losing streak heading into tonight’s matchup with Pittsburgh

1-12 since the All-Star Break

1-10 right before the All-Star Break

2-22 the last 24 games!

This team was pretty bad to begin with starting the season. Their Regular Season Win Projection in Las Vegas was just 63. That means the market saw them as a 63-99 team up front…which is very low for a Preseason estimate. Normally somebody projected in the 70-92 range has a bad year and falls back to around 60-65 wins. It’s rare to see somebody who’s roster is so bad before the seasons starts that they’re expected to be a 100-loss laughingstock.

Houston had a lousy roster…and THEN started trading away the handful of guys who knew how to play so they could build for the future! That’s why the Astros are 2-22 the last 24 games. Everyone associated with the team realized management had thrown in the towel on the season….and unmotivated BAD players have little chance of winning.

What’s amazing to us is how long it’s taken oddsmakers and the market in full to adjust to Houston’s horrid level of play. It’s like nobody can believe it, so they just assume the team is going to start regressing to the mean soon. Maybe that happens starting tonight vs. Pittsburgh. Some said that when the Cincinnati series started. Houston did kind of regress to the mean because they started losing closer games instead of getting blown out!

Look at these lines from recent opponent’s perspectives for a sense of how oblivious the market has been to Houston’s poor roster.

*Cincinnati laid -140, -145, and -155 in Houston this week

*Arizona laid -230, -220, and -200 at home last week

*San Diego laid -160, -135, and -135 at home before that

*San Francisco laid -230, -170, and -220 at home

*Milwaukee laid -180, -155, and -150 in Houston

Now, many of you are thinking that those lines don’t seem out of whack. In fact, they’re in the range of “I don’t want to lay a number that high in this spot” gut reactions that many longtime bettors have. That’s the point. Nobody’s used to seeing a team THIS BAD in the Majors! Houston isn’t the worst team of 2012. Their recent roster represents the worst of at least the last 20 years!

Houston enters tonight’s game with a full season record of 34-65. Opponents are winning 66% of their games vs. the Astros, which means the “typical” game should have opponents laying around -200 as a break even number. But, wait…that includes a couple of months when their best players were still contributing. WITHOUT THEM, opponents should probably be about -300 in general…representing 75% victories. During this 2-22 slump, opponents are winning 92% of the time!

Vegas is nowhere near capturing the new reduced level of Astros performances. As handicappers, YOU have to change how your gut reacts to the numbers involving this team. Yes, they are due to start winning more than two games a month. But, are they due to win so much that they match these out-of-whack Vegas prices?

Note that Houston is currently on pace to finish 56-106 counting the months they had with their best players. If they go 2-5 every week from this point forward, they’d finish 52-110. Can THIS collection of outmatched, undermanned baseball players who lack confidence go 2-5 every week moving forward? They just went 2-22, not 2-5!

Things could get really ugly. Be sure you stay on top of the story as you aim to stay a few steps ahead of the oddsmakers.

Our VSM legends are always way ahead of the oddsmakers. That’s why so many are having blockbuster 2012 seasons highlighted by recent big play tears! Among Thursday’s highlights:

*Kelso Sturgeon is 9-2 on his last 11 major releases, including a 100-Unit winner Wednesday Night on Cincinnati over Houston. Don’t miss Thursday’s 100-Unit Personal Best release. Remember to take care of business early Thursday because of all the day games!

*Jim Hurley is on a 19-6 run with his Hit and Run games in the bases lately. He’s just posted a “get acquainted” offer that will introduce you to this great program at a bargain rate. Pay just $49 for SIX DAYS of service. That’s less than 10 bucks a day for a program that’s absolutely been on fire.

*Wayne Root’s No Limit games are 11-4 the last 15. Two have been posted for Thursday action. The cost is only $20.

Be sure you visit the website every day for big play announcements on the home page and complete package details on the “buy picks” pulldown page. Early bird football packages are available from many of our legends…and the NFL Preseason is now less than a week-and-a-half away!

Hot handicappers are waiting to hear from you with the biggest games at the best prices!

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