Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 21, 2014 at 6:00 PM
I’ve talked about this some already. But, to me it’s clearly still the driving story of the 2014 Major League Baseball Season. The bulk of the 30-team ledger in the Majors right now is so tightly packed that you have to adjust your handicapping accordingly.
*There’s no value in taking favorites unless you’re laying chalk against a handful of the truly bad teams. Right now, there may not even be a handful of teams you should fade all the time.
*There’s minimal value in taking a lot of underdogs because Vegas is pricing the games near pick-em and so many are true toss-ups. You should be taking underdogs all the time at +120 to +130 in a time of parity. But, there’s no value in taking them at even money. You’re just spinning your wheels.
I didn’t start my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping so all of you would just spin your wheels! Right now I would advise caution in Major League Baseball until the cream starts to rise to the top (which is common for veteran teams who are pacing themselves for the long haul) and the rocks start to sink (which is common for less-talented teams that wear down through the summer).
I mentioned a second ago that there aren’t many truly “bad” teams. Here’s my short list:
*Houston: the Astros are still a minor league team wearing Major League uniforms. There’s limited talent on the roster. And, it turns out that many of the young pitchers they were optimistic about haven’t been faring so well. Looks like another disaster. That’s really bad in a league of parity because it means everyone else can bully you!
*Arizona: the Diamondbacks started the season in a bad mood because they had to fly to Australia to face the powerful Dodgers. They’ve pretty much been in a funk the whole season because of injuries, lineup issues, and the knowledge players have that management trades any players that they lose faith in. There’s a black cloud hanging over that team right now that isn’t going to go away unless some of their rotation pitchers lift their games.
*Chicago Cubs: the Cubs are like the Astros in that they’re a young team that’s building for the future under a front office obsessed with “analytics.” There’s a place for that of course. But, as we just saw in the NBA, it can take a long while for a team like this to start winning. The Cubs were 5-12 through the weekend even though they’ve played one more home game than on the road. At least I’ve seen some enthusiasm with this group when watching their games on TV.
To me, those are the only three teams who are clearly bad right now. Seattle has a shaky record at 7-11. But, they’ve only played five home games with 13 road games. Their record looks more like a .500 type team playing a tough early schedule than a bad team floundering.
A couple of stragglers who may be on their way down to the baseball are:
*Miami: a 9-10 record despite playing 13 home games and only six road games. They’re 0-6 on the road. So, when the schedule evens out, we may be looking at a very ugly record.
*San Diego: same exact story here, with a 9-10 record against that same 13/6 home/road split. The Padres are 2-4 on the road instead of 0-6…but they’re still likely to post a poor road record in the seven games that equalize the home/road split. That knocks them “below average” in a parity rich league.
Is there anyone in MLB worth getting excited about? Milwaukee is playing like a contender with a chip on its shoulder. That’s a GREAT thing to have in your corner. That kind of team doesn’t pace itself, which gives them an advantage in THE MOTIVATION FACTOR in April and May. Oakland is off to a great start, though some of that is from beating up on Seattle and Houston. The A’s have smart management that always finds new ways to squeeze out edges. The Los Angeles Dodgers are loaded, but rarely offer line value because of market respect.
Beating the market in MLB is very tricky right now. I’ll continue to provide guidance for you here in our coursework. If you’d like additional help, you can sign up for my personal service right here at this very website with your major credit card. Just make a few clicks for today’s BEST BETS or great longterm packages. If you have any questions, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
My next report late this week is scheduled to be about the NBA Playoffs. Everyone will have played two games by then, which will give us a lot to chew on for evaluating how the postseason is likely to play out moving forward. I will see you then. The Dean of Sports Handicapping KELSO STURGEON once again thanks you for all of your hard work!