Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, May 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM
I think one of the biggest weaknesses that simplified statistical approaches have is that they’re blind to the future. Too many proponents of that style will tell you that the past will predict the future. But, the fairly common phenomenon of the “June Swoon” in baseball is a great example of just the opposite.
Baseball history is full of stories about teams who played very well in April and May before their balloon burst when hotter temperatures and the laws of math started to wear their best players down. It was nicknamed the “June Swoon” many years ago…long before I was a professional handicapper…and I’ve been a professional handicapper for a VERY long time!
What causes the June swoon?
*Many hot starts for teams are created by certain players performing way over their heads for several weeks. Nobody can keep that up for the full season. Opposing players have now had time to make adjustments to any legitimate gain in performance. And, the laws of math catch up to anyone who’s posted an extremely high batting average or an extremely low ERA.
*Teams that are winning with spirited ball and a college type energy start to see that wear off. This isn’t college football where you can get sky high for one game a week over three months. You play every night in baseball, which is much more of a grind. The best teams know how to keep an even keel over six full months. Flash in the pan teams can get hot for two months before losing their mojo. June is when that starts to happen.
*Teams that are winning because of intense hustle on the basepaths and defensively start to wear down physically just as the temperatures get hot. We’ve already had signs of summer in a few baseball cities before the end of May. If teams just spent two months trying to take every extra base they can grab, the legs start to go in June. Now, I’m not suggesting that professional athletes should just loaf. Again, it’s about maintaining an even keel. Extreme hustle can create the illusion of greatness before the legs and energy go. June is when THAT starts to happen too.
*Teams who lack depth and ask their frontline starters to do the bulk of the work are extremely prone to letdowns after May. By no means is this like football or basketball, where the energy output is extremely intense. But, playing daily for months on end IS a grind. Smart managers pace their players for the full season. Insecure managers, or those with little job security can’t afford that luxury. As a result, a good two months is often followed by a bad June where tired sluggers and pitching staff aces hit a wall from overwork.
June officially starts Friday, but I think we’re already seeing some June swoons in action right now. Look at all the teams who have gone ice cold in recent days. Even casual fans can monitor that on standings pages that show streaks or “last 10” compilations (of course, the Cubs didn’t play well early in the season, yet STILL had a major losing streak heading up to June…so even BAD teams can swoon!). Advanced Handicappers should be making their lists now of teams they expect to cool off in the coming days and weeks.
Think about how much trouble stat handicappers are going to be in when:
*Pitchers with good stats hit a wall in June. Their numbers will project very good outings just as they’re about to post some of their worst games of the season.
*Offenses with good stats hit a wall in June. Their numbers will project offensive explosions in warm June temperayures, in games they’re destined to lose 7-2 or 8-3 when the bats don’t produce.
*Teams who have been playing over their heads will be priced in Vegas as playoff contenders just when they’re about to limp to 14-16 or even 10-20 type records through the month.
Handicapping means trying to come up with a better assessment of what the future holds than the Las Vegas market anticipates. The tools of Advanced Handicapping allow you to do this. You can’t predict the future if you’re blind to it! The June swoon is coming up for some teams, and has already started for others. Handicap and bet in Las Vegas accordingly.
If you’d like some help picking baseball winners from today through the rest of the season, you can purchase my game day releases right here at this website. There are also very affordably priced seasonal offers on the table. Be sure to look into combination packages that include both baseball and basketball.
I’ll be back Friday for another Advanced Handicapping discussion, as we “read and react” to what’s happened in early action in the NBA Conference Championships.
I greatly appreciate that so many of you have become regular students here at my College of Advanced Handicapping. Be smart, and print out all of these articles so you can create a textbook you can refer to at a moment’s notice through the rest of your wagering careers. See you again Friday.