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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Sunday, May 26, 2013 at 7:00 PM

I’ve posted the coursework a bit early this week because Major League Baseball has put together a very exciting schedule if Interleague Rivalry action to celebrate Memorial Day and the few days afterward. All the classic rivalries will play four-game sets…with two games at one team’s stadium, and then two games in the other city.

That makes this the ideal time to review relevant handicapping strategies for RIVALRY games. You’ll hear some handicappers tell you that “baseball is baseball,” and you shouldn’t make any meaningful adjustments for Interleague. Then, you’ll hear the guys who think there SHOULD be adjustments for Interleague suggest that there’s nothing special about the “rivalry” element. Let me tell you, the difference between ADVANCED sports betting/handicapping, and what blue collar handicappers do can be striking.

First, a few quick basics about Interleague:

*The American League is still better than the National League…but the best teams in the NL are capable of stringing together some wins, particularly if they’re playing the lower half of the AL. Acknowledge the AL’s superiority, but don’t overdo it.

*The media makes way too much of the designated hitter situation. Interleague play has been around for a very long time now. Managers know how to adjust. Players know how to adjust. Smart managers won’t lose a step. Bad managers will find a way to screw things up.

*Lefthanders have a unique advantage in IL play if they’re facing a team that hasn’t seen them before. Every southpaw is a little different, and has a “first look” advantage against a new team. Great lefties will be borderline unhittable (particularly a quality AL lefty against a lower level NL team). Decent lefties will pitch more like aces. Even mediocre innings muncher lefties will be positioned to post better numbers than normal.

Now, a few special circumstances for RIVALRY games:

*These are treated like PLAYOFF games by managers, players, fans, and the local media. Handicap accordingly. Invest in teams who thrive under pressure…who have smart managers…who have a lot of depth…and who know how to close out late leads. Fade known chokers, bad managers, teams who have poor benches, and teams with shaky bullpens. There’s no “going through the motions” in games like these. No thinking ahead to the next series. Invest in the best X’s and O’s teams.

*Consider using some of the “bounce back” or “zig zag” betting practices that are common in the NBA Playoffs. Nobody wants to lose two or three in a row to a local rival. Sure, a few teams will be outmatched…but even THEY will try to do what it takes to avoid a sweep. Some of your best bets of the whole MLB season (meaning 50-unit, or 100-unit type plays) will be on good teams in bounce positions after a rivalry loss.

*Ballpark effects can loom very large in hidden ways in rivalry games. If you’re doing a good job of handicapping baseball right now, you know which kinds of offenses are favored or hurt by certain kinds of ballparks. You know which kinds of pitchers are favored or hurt by certain kinds of ballparks. Don’t bet NL fly ball pitchers in AL home run parks! Don’t go gung ho on high strikeout pitchers in great visibility (an issue Monday with so many day games). Making smart picks in Interleague action (including rivalry games) is less about season statistics to this point and more about the skill sets of the starting pitchers in that day’s environment.

I’m not going to give you all of my secrets. And, I’m not allowed to post official service plays because that’s not fair to my paying clients. But, what I’ve given you today should help you navigate the challenges that are ahead Monday through Thursday, and then again whenever Interleague is an important part of the baseball schedule. Advanced Sports Bettors and Handicappers can really make a lot of money this week given the projected pitching matchups that I’ve already been studying.

If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the board each day in baseball…and in the NBA Playoffs, you can sign up for service right here at this website with your major credit card. The coursework here is designed to help-do-it-yourselfers make more money. Additional assistance is always just a few clicks away.

Back again later this week with more coverage of the NBA Playoffs. Things sure are moving quickly in the Eastern and Western Conference Finals. I greatly appreciate that so many of you are making better picks and more money because of coursework designed by The Dean of Sports Handicapping!

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