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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 13, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Week One of the 2015 Major League Baseball season is in the books. Handicappers have to be careful not to overreact to what they’ve seen. Each and every day’s results looms large right now because the sport is fresh in our minds. Come July, nobody’s going to remember the first week! Come September, nobody will even remember July, let alone what happened in the first few seconds of a long season.

There have been a handful of early surprises. Most don’t mean anything because the laws of math even out over time in baseball. And, some of these records are polluted by schedule strength anyway. The Los Angeles Angels are disappointed to start the season 2-4…but having to face Seattle and Kansas City out of the gate is a challenging slate! Most teams had it much easier. Atlanta is 5-1, but got to open with Miami and the NY Mets.

To me, the worst start to the season “in context” belongs to the Milwaukee Brewers. They’re 1-5 in their first six games. Plus…

*All six games were at HOME

*The two opponents were lowly Colorado and decent Pittsburgh

*Both Colorado and Pittsburgh went 1-2 in their other series

So, Milwaukee is 1-5 against two teams who are 2-4 when not playing Milwaukee, and the Brewers enjoyed home cooking the whole way through. But, even THAT doesn’t mean Milwaukee is a certified disaster. You need more of a sample size than just six games to draw conclusions in baseball.

Your homework today in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping is to review the home/road splits for all 30 teams…while also taking note of their opponents. Use preseason market projections to evaluate those schedules. Meaning…don’t give Miami “credit” for playing the Atlanta “juggernaut.” Atlanta wasn’t supposed to be very good. It doesn’t matter much that they’re 5-1 right now.

Then, once you’ve noted the challenges teams have faced, tweak your preseason ratings a little bit based on performance. Squares will overreact to what they’ve seen so far. You need to be very conservative, particularly in this sport.

Your second piece of homework is to go through and look at the extremes of star hitters. I encouraged you, before the season began, to list all the potential PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS  in offensive lineups. Some of those guys are off to impossibly hot starts. Don’t make the mistake of betting on them as they regress back to their career norms. Others are off to very slow starts. You can be a bit more aggressive backing them because they’re due to produce in a way that’s going to make you money. Make sure none of the slow starters are battling injuries. As long as they’re healthy, and not suddenly old, they’re going to hit.

With pitchers, it’s probably best not to even look at results! That may strike some of you as odd. But, pitchers throw to their skill sets. It doesn’t matter if a guy has a great ERA right out of the gate, particularly if he got to face bad offenses or throw in great pitcher’s parks. A poor start might be a red flag for an injury or mechanical issues. But, it’s probably just a fluky thing that’s going to correct in the future. And, don’t hold a slow start against any proven pitcher who happened to begin against an elite offense or on a great hitting day weather-wise. In a few weeks, pitching stats will be more meaningful. Right now, it’s a lot of noise.

I’ll be talking mostly about basketball in the next few reports. The NBA playoffs begin Saturday…which means a late-week discussion on postseason betting strategies is in the cards. With that in mind, emphasize these baseball fundamentals over the next couple of weeks:

*Focus on pitching “skill sets” rather than stats

*Focus on how hitters are likely to perform given career norms

*Read injury reports carefully

*Don’t let the newspaper standings pollute your thinking

If you’d like some help picking daily baseball, 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. This is a great time to check on special rates for extended packages. The NBA Playoffs run through June. You can get baseball through the All-Star Break of the full season. And, we have those Triple Crown horse races coming up too.

See you at the end of the week to talk about key factors to look at in the NBA Playoffs. The Dean of Sports Handicapping is likely to emphasize the playoffs for at least the next 2-3 class get-togethers. We’ll see what develops in the coming days. I always try to stay flexible so that the coursework corresponds to real world developments. If something big is happening in baseball, I’ll make sure to get that in somehow.

I greatly appreciate your hard work and attendance. See you Friday.


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

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