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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, June 22, 2012 at 12:43 PM

It’s fitting that we transition from the end of the NBA playoffs into a full summer of baseball coverage with a discussion about THE HEAT! Thursday Night the Miami Heat won the NBA Championship by finishing off the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games. Congratulations to the franchise, the city, and all of you who made money during the postseason. Friday, these first few days of summer include forecasts for high temperatures all over the baseball landscape that will surely influence play on the field, and therefore must also influence your handicapping approach.

The world changes in baseball when it gets hot. Here in Las Vegas, we’ve been dealing with summer temperatures already for a few weeks. I can see on the weather map that many of you are dealing with Las Vegas weather even in the Northeast or on the Atlantic Coast! Well, it’s not dry out there like it is here, but it sure is hot.

Here’s how Advanced Handicapping must adjust for hot temperatures in the summer.

*Home run totals go up, so you have to pay more attention to home run hitters, and gopher ball prone pitchers. I’d particularly encourage you to look at pitchers…because fly ball pitchers can turn from money-makers to money-burners at the drop of a hat. Even the bottom half of a lineup can go deep when a fly ball pitcher is throwing in hot temperatures. Advanced handicappers must fade fly ball pitchers except in the deepest of ballparks, and must look for good Over bets as well. And, you would be well served to think of the top home run hitters in the “Playmakers and Gamebreakers” context that we use in basketball and football.

*Innings pitched per start go down because starting pitchers get tired earlier. If you’re used to getting seven good innings from a guy to this point in the season, it may only be six or six-and-a-half for the next couple of months. Maybe less for heavy pitchers who aren’t well-conditioned. If you’ve been making money on value bets with a pitcher who generally goes about six innings….you may want to stop riding that horse because long relievers will kill you when he only goes five or five-and-a-half.

*Bullpens start to matter a lot more because the starting pitching doesn’t last as long. Be sure you know who has the staff depth to handle the new challenge. I have my eye on a few teams who currently have great bullpen reputations because their set-up guy and closer have done well. Guess what? Some lesser arms are about to be on the mound in the middle innings…and that bullpen ERA is going to shoot up quickly.

*Monitor the number of days off teams are getting between now and the All-Star Break. You’re already hearing some players mentioning fatigue to the press. Are there any teams who don’t have a day off between now and the break (which starts July 9th)? Offenses that can stay fresh will have a better chance to play well than those who are full of worn down fadeouts.

I can’t emphasize enough that the game is about to change dramatically for many teams in various parts of the country. The stats you use to get informed won’t be as useful because hitters will hit more, and certain kinds of pitchers will start to have trouble. The last thing you want to do right now is bet on a fly ball pitcher in a good home run park just because he earned a good ERA in cooler weather. Teams who may have been in good form for a few weeks may hit a wall because of fatigue. THINK AHEAD!

I think many handicappers give up on baseball because they find out quickly that simplified approaches don’t work. My Advanced theories DO work, and have worked for many years. I think you can see just from today’s discussion how I can stay several steps ahead of the oddsmakers by looking ahead and seeing how conditions are changing.

We’ll talk more about baseball the next time we’re together on Tuesday here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I will mix some occasional football discussions into the summer menu because I know many of you use the month of July to gear up for the college and pro seasons. If you’re already thinking about the gridiron, please check out my early bird rates for 2012 football here at this website.

You baseball fans? I’ve got you covered daily with my top plays online, and with what I’m confident will be some very helpful coursework in the coming days and weeks. Thanks again to all of you who diligently attend every class and print out the articles to create your own textbooks. I look forward to seeing you again on Tuesday for keys to beating baseball.

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