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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 11, 2013 at 7:00 PM

Handicapping Major League Baseball right before the All-Star Break typically comes down to understanding THE MOTIVATION FACTOR for all 30 teams. There are several squads who are ready for a vacation, and frankly have been for the past couple of weeks. There are others who are in very good form, and want to end the first half on a high note.

Obviously, you want to bet on the teams who will be focused on winning, and fade the teams who have already mentally checked out.

I’m not going to get very specific because I need to protect the information for my clients…particularly THIS weekend when I have a few very big releases scheduled. I will give you the following guidelines.

*Ask slumping teams to continue slumping. These teams are ready for some time away from each other. They could full well offer value starting Friday July 21 when the season resumes. They will be re-energized and no longer in the doldrums. This weekend? There’s no reason for an immediate turnaround. They’re counting the hours until they can get away from the grind. Fade slumping teams.

*Assume tired teams are going to play REALLY tired. Any team that’s been on an extended road trip, or who has otherwise been showing signs of fatigue recently is likely to play with very little energy this weekend. They need a few days off. It’s like a factory worker one hour before quitting time on Friday. The intensity just isn’t there. Fade tired teams this weekend…even if they’re high up in their divisional standings.

*Assume home teams will stay energized if they’ve been home all week. I’m not suggesting that these teams will “gain” energy.” But, they’ll be more refreshed in many cases than tired visitors. They won’t take a hit in THE MOTIVATION FACTOR while their opponents will. This is a big deal this weekend because most (not all, but most) home teams HAVE been at home all week. That should set up some very big bets for you. Any relatively fresh home team who’s also been playing well should get serious consideration from you.

*Grab yourself a list of All-Star pitchers for both leagues. Look for value spots to bet AGAINST expensive pitchers who could get caught looking ahead to their special appearance. Look for value spots to bet ON good pitchers who just missed getting selected. It seems that every year features two or three absolute gems from snubbed starting pitchers; and as many as four or five dud outings from big name stars. Be prepared this time!

*Remember that Sunday is the ultimate summer get-away day because all 30 teams will have the next four days off. Many games will race to conclusion, meaning you should focus on Unders in addition to fading teams who are anxious to start their vacations.

My principals of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping rely heavily on THE MOTIVATION FACTOR because intangibles play such a huge role in the reality of what happens on the field. Stats and data-mining will only get you so far. It doesn’t matter what a team’s stats are if they’re not in the mood to play! Please keep that in mind this weekend.

If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the board through this weekend and beyond, you can purchase my top releases daily right here at this website with your major credit card.

Back with you again early next week. I’ll have at least one baseball report next week getting you ready for the second half of the 2013 MLB season. I still haven’t decided yet if that will be the early week or late-week report. I’m also putting together some football notes that will run for one of our two classes next week.

Thanks again for your loyal attendance and hard work. It’s an honor to be considered the Dean of Sports Handicappers because of my many years as a Las Vegas professional. I’m glad I can pass along what I’ve learned to all of you. See you again next week, after what I hope will be an extremely popular weekend for you.

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