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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 2, 2015 at 7:00 PM

There are few holidays when you’re a professional sports bettor. There are always games to bet! Even Christmas NBA games. New Year’s Eve and New Year’s have the bowl extravaganzas. Pick a holiday…and there’s a game on TV that might be worth betting. Often, “dumb money” from the public becomes a big factor because the public likes watching TV games on their holidays.

So, this July Fourth weekend isn’t a time for you to sit back and relax. Sure, you can have a hot dog or two. Enjoy a picnic with the family and watch the fireworks. FOR A FEW HOURS! Otherwise, keep your eye on the ball as you watch games and plan out your handicapping strategies for the second half of the 2015 Major League Baseball season.

Here’s your homework for this weekend…

*Study the opening lines each day so you can create a sense of the Power Ratings that oddsmakers are using to rate all the team/pitcher combinations. Too few of you think of sports betting as what it really is…as a battle between you and the bookmakers. See if you can pin down which combinations on top contenders oddsmakers consider to be the best in the league…and perhaps more importantly, which combinations on those contenders don’t impress them at all. You can’t know for sure how oddsmakers are overrating or underrating pitchers unless you first know how those pitchers are being rated.

Quick Examples

Oddsmakers should have been more impressed with the win potential in St. Louis

Oddsmakers should have been more impressed with the win potential in Kansas City

Oddsmakers have been overly impressed with some of the guys on Oakland

*Next, make a list of all the starting pitchers currently in Major League rotations (about 150 different players…with a few extra spot starters who are being called into duty. Then, write down next to each name their FIP and K-Rate stats. If you don’t know what those stats are, you shouldn’t be betting!

You can find those stats at a variety of baseball stat sites (baseball-reference and fangraphs to name a couple). FIP stands for fielding-independent-pitching, and calculates what a pitcher’s ERA “should” be to this point based on his performance. This is a great way to exclude good or bad luck from your evaluation process. FIP also has a good track record of anticipating what’s ahead for a pitcher because it’s much more stable than other categories.

*Third, make a list of all 30 Major League teams so you can create a chart for offensive production. I’m going to give you some leeway here so you can develop your own best preferences. You can keep it simple and focus on the classic trio of batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage. You can focus on run scoring. Some of you younger folks may already have some new-age sabermetric categories you like. My only requirement is that you make sure you’re adjusting for BALLPARK EFFECTS!

If you have a stat that does that already, use that. If not, focus on ROAD ONLY performances in run scoring or the big three. Too many new handicappers to the sport don’t realize how many decent offenses are hidden because they play home games in a pitcher’s park. Or, how many “pretender” offenses can only post good numbers in home games in great scoring conditions. Rate the offenses for how they would perform in “normal” conditions as best as possible.

Now…with all of that at your fingertips, you’ll be very well positioned to pick winners from the Fourth of July onward. That’s not everything of course (bullpens, team health, chemistry, among many other important influences). But, your homework for this weekend will have you focusing on what matters most on the field and in the marketplace. You’ll be able to anticipate what’s most likely to happen in any given game. You’ll be able to find mistakes that the oddsmakers continue to make.

And, that my hard-working students…is the proven key to making a living as a sports bettor in any sport. Direct from the Dean of Sports Handicapping!

Those of you who’d like additional help finding the best baseball bets on the board every night can sign up for my personal service. Top releases can be purchased 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.

I know some of you were hoping for a rest break over the holiday weekend. You know what happens if you take that break? You start Monday behind everyone else who kept working. It might take you weeks to catch up. Work smart…then have your cookout before enjoying fireworks. Winning handicappers enjoy the best of all worlds! See you again next week.


Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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