Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, July 7, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Shifting Gears In Handicapping Baseball’s New
Season Produced 9-0 and 13-0 Winners This Past Weekend
With More To Come Each Week
You Can Bet All You Want The Cleveland Browns
Will Rue The Day They Drafted “Johnny Football”
By Kelso Sturgeon
Many times during the football and basketball seasons the handicapping element of situation-and- circumstance is the engine driving teams to win. Please add baseball to that list now that its 162-game season is 90 games in with 72 to go and with the S/C factor very much in play.
There were two games Major League Baseball games played over the past few days that drove home this point as the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Washington Nationals were beneficiaries of this element and reported home easy winners, the Dodgers 9-0 over the Rockies on Friday and the Nationals 13-0 over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday.
To set the stage for both these games, Los Angeles was a -210 favorite over the Rockies and the Nationals were -201 over the Cubs—numbers which for me made the games unplayable, even though both favorites figured to win. As a bettor I simply will not lay $200 to win $100, having learned long ago there is no average in doing that.
But there is more than one way to bet a team and both winners filled the bill for run-line plays, taking Los Angeles -1.5 runs, laying just 110, and taking the Nationals -1.5 runs laying -110. When I released the Friday night play as a 50-unit run-line game, the edges were apparent in the notes that accompanied the release. Here is what the notes included (please note the under-lined portion).
Los Angeles Dodgers (49-39) -1.5 Runs –110 over COLORADO ROCKIES (36-50)
Pitching for Dodgers: LH Clayton Kershaw (9-2, 2.04)
Pitching for Rockies: RH Jair Jurrjens (Jurrjens was acquired from the Cincinnati organization Wednesday and hasn't pitched in the majors in more than a year. Jurrjens was 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA in six starts with the Reds' Triple-A affiliate in Louisville this season.)
Here we have Kershaw, the best pitcher in all of baseball, facing Jurrjens who had been with the team less than two days and was forced into a starting role because pitcher Jaime Garcia was hurting and could not make it to the mound. Do the math. We have a pitcher with an ERA of 2.04 and just two games removed from winning a near-perfect no-hitter—a two-time Cy Young Award winner to boot—facing a guy who has not started in the majors in more than a year.
I use a rather sophisticated, and I believe unique, formula to grade baseball games. The Dodgers graded out with a 95% chance to win and a 90% chance to win by more than two runs. Now, I did not have to lay $210 to win $100 but had to put down a mere $110 to win $100. This bet was also an example of the risk vs. reward factor in wagering, something we will go into at a later time.
Saturday It Was Another C/S Feast
Amazingly the same bet emerged late the very next day.
The Cubs’ starter against Washington was listed as Jeff Samardzija (2-7, 2.83), who despite his record, had pitched outstanding baseball all season and suffered most of his losses because of a lack of run support. Just hours before the game, Samardzija was traded to the Oakland Raiders as part of a block-buster grade, leaving the Cubs searching for a starter—any starter.
The job was handed to right-handed relief pitcher Carlos Villanueva (4-5, 5.91), who had not pitched more than two innings in any game this season. Do the math. He was facing Washington ace Gio Gonzalez (5-4, 3.52) who was again at the top of his form. The S/C element gave Washington a 95% chance to win the game and a 90% chance to win by more than 2 runs.
It was again easy to give the 1.5 runs and lay the $110 to win $100.
For the record, Villanueva lasted two innings, giving up a quick five hits and four runs and this one was over before it started. A 13-0 win could not have come any easier.
This Element Should Give Us 2-3 Winners Every Week
Heading into the All-Star break, the teams that have a chance to win a pennant and a World Series are going to trade up for any player, especially a pitcher, who can help them do just that. This means many teams who know they have no chance to win anything this season are going to unload top players and build for next year.
This means baseball bettors are going to have to pay attention to what is happening and quickly analyze late and last-minute changes to determine what they mean in the moment. As the two games mentioned above showed, the S/C factor often kicks in to produce a winner.
All these moves also signal the immediate future of each team involved.
We know the Cubs have given up on the season by dealing two starting pitchers—Samardzija and Jason Hammel—to the Oakland Athletics. By the same token, Oakland has declared it is going for it and will make any changes and moves to win the pennant and the World Series. The addition of the two former Cubs give the Athletics the best pitching rotation in baseball and simply puts them in the driver's seat. Before the trade, they had the best record in baseball (54-33).
For the record, Samardzija started against the Toronto Blue Jays Sunday, just two days after the trade, and went seven strong innings, giving up four hits and a single run in a 4-2 victory.
Again, it is pay-attention time.
Here’s Betting Browns Rue Day They Drafted Johnny Football
With the start of the National Football League pre-season less than four weeks away, players are getting serious about getting into top physical condition and getting up-to-date on the play book—both essential acts if one is serious about finding a spot on any of the 32 teams. Party time is over; it is now all business.
Well, for most players that is the case but rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel has somewhat opted out. The first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns has been asked by the team’s owner to stop partying so much and to be very careful in picking his friends. Manziel basically told the owner he would do what he pleased on his own time.
Doing what he pleases includes trips to Las Vegas to party large and hooking up with the likes of bad boy singer Justin Bieber in California to party at even a higher level, with enough social outlaws around to fill a jail.
Unbeknown to the former Texas A&M star with the hard head, he is setting himself up or failure.
The bottom line is simple—rookie quarterbacks need to be focused on NFL football right now or risk failure. In Manziel’s case, the Browns gave him an $8 million contract and they expect him to earn it. He obviously will, if he feels like it.
Take it from me, this very talented undisciplined air-head is just beginning to reveal his true self and character to Cleveland and you can bet all you want the Browns will rue the day they drafted him, despite the fact his football IQ is off the charts. Unfortunately, that IQ is severely compromised because the rest of him is a bit smarter than a turnip.
Just my opinion.