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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 6, 2015 at 4:00 PM

The beginning of the 2015 Major League Baseball season is here. So, it’s time to talk about the best strategies for making money in what many longtime bettors believe is the most profitable betting sport.

We’ll have a lot of time in the coming weeks and months to dig pretty deep on the diamonds. Today, the focus will be on general principals. I expect to be talking about baseball in our next few get-togethers before adjusting focus toward the NBA Playoffs in the middle of the month.

You regulars know that my first fundamental always involves PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. It’s a little tricky in baseball because the most high impact players can be very one-dimensional. Obviously ace caliber starting pitchers are relievers can impose their will on a game without doing anything with a bat. And, there are many important hitters who’s defensive impact is marginal (particularly DH’s in the American League and first basemen). You obviously need to focus your investments on what these key men do without worrying about what they’ don’t do.

It’s helpful to note that most of the sport kind of cancels out. Most rotation pitchers perform at a generic level of effectiveness. The same is true for most hitters. That allows you to run through the numbers and pick off the extremes who are worthy of investment. Here are some key stats to focus on…

 

FOR STARTING PITCHERS

*ERA (or FIP if you prefer modern analytics)

*IP per start

*Strikeouts per nine innings (or strikeout rate if you prefer modern analytics)

 

FOR RELIEF PITCHERS

*Strikeouts per nine innings

*Walks per nine innings (or walk rate if you prefer modern analytics)

*Opponent’s on-base percentage and slugging percentage

*Ability to avoid “Blown Saves”

 

FOR HITTERS

*On-base percentage

*Slugging percentage

It should go without saying, but I don’t want to leave out the importance of HEALTH! That’s not a stat. But, there’s very little reason to ever invest in a PLAYMAKER or GAMEBREAKER if they’re not at 100% health. Be sure you’re monitoring the injury reports for starting pitchers and offensive stars. Oddsmakers often have trouble adjusting for the impact of a nagging injury. In fact, modern stats are so widely available these days that the market is fairly sharp when everyone’s healthy! Don’t throw money down the drain hoping that hobbled players can perform at their healthy norms.

Once you have your list of high impact players handy, you can study each game from the following perspective.

*How are the key players likely to perform in THIS ballpark?

Put a great pitcher in a pitcher’s park, and he’ll be virtually unhittable. Think about Clayton Kershaw in Dodgers home games for an obvious example. Or, a slugger playing in Colorado or Arlington can really do some damage because home runs and doubles off the wall are more plentiful. Be sure you know how each ballpark impacts play. Try to put those park characteristics in your favor.

*How are the key players likely to perform vs. THIS opponent?

You want to back a great lefty against offenses who can’t hit lefties! Maybe you want to leave him along against an all-righty lineup of productive hitters. You want to back groundball pitchers vs. slow teams who are likely to hit into a lot of double plays. You want to back sluggers against gopher ball-prone pitchers.

Baseball is a sport where PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS are most profitable when conditions allow them to truly DOMINATE. This is when you want to spend your money. Many of the same players turn mortal when conditions are lined up against them. Don’t ask sluggers to win a game for you in San Diego’s pitching paradise. Learn the skill sets. Learn the ballpark effects. Then very strong bets will literally jump off the page at you.

The great thing about baseball is that your homework is rewarded time and time again over a LONG season. If you find an edge, it’s not only going to come up two or three times during a season (which can happen in college football or the NFL). Students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping can parlay and pyramid their information into huge profits between now and the end of September. That’s April-May-June-July-August-September of seven-days a week action waiting for you to come take your shots!

Again, we’ll talk more about specifics in future coursework. Right now, you should be focused on making sure you’re up to speed with your list of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on the mound and in the batter’s box. Don’t give short shrift to middle relievers! The modern game now sees some teams making their mark by shutting down opponents (or failing to) in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings. One of the hidden keys to making money in 2014 was knowing which staffs had high impact pitching performance in what used to be lower priority innings.

Monday’s schedule has 14 games weather permitting…with eight set for Tuesday…and then we’re off and running. Those of you who are ready from the get-go will be able to build larger pyramids because you started sooner…and will be able to get your money in before the markets adjust to its offseason mistakes. Don’t dilly-dally.

If you’d like some help in the baseball from the Dean of Sports Handicapping, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions about extended service can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about long term packages for MLB or the NBA Playoffs when you call.

Don’t forget to check with my service if you need help with Monday Night’s NCAA Championship game in basketball or this week’s NBA. I’ll see you again at the end of the week for more baseball discussion. Play Ball!

 

Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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