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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM

It can be very complicated for new baseball handicappers to figure out what matters most when trying to pick winners. If they read social media and the internet as a whole, they’re going to come across a virtually infinite variety of approaches. And, each of those approaches focus on certain stats at the expense of others.

Unfortunately, many pundits are way behind the times when it comes to understanding the reality of baseball. I’m still amazed by how many don’t even acknowledge park effects! You’d think that would have sunk in 35 years after they were first publicized. My goal in today’s coursework is to simplify the thinking process for you. Don’t look for a “gold standard” stat that’s going to do the work for you. If there were such a thing…the market would know about it and take away value! Here’s what you should do…

 

FOCUS ON STATS THAT HELP YOU ISOLATE “GAMEBREAKERS”

We talk all the time about PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. The term “playmaker” really doesn’t work for baseball. You want hitters who can break a game open with big blows. You want pitchers who can break the spirit of opponents by dominating them from the mound. At the team level…you want lineups with multiple gamebreakers, and staffs who can follow up a good start with lights out relief performances.

So, THAT’S what you should be focusing on. Don’t worry so much about what somebody’s hitting over the past two weeks, or a guy’s ERA over his last three starts, or what this team is doing on the road in night games, or what that team is doing against the NL West. Pin it down to the SKILL SETS that allow elite players to control the destiny of their teams.

Imagine for a second that you didn’t have any stats. You had to visualize a baseball game as a boxing match…and you were putting together a “Tale of the Tape” for skill sets. Clayton Kershaw’s on the mound for the Dodgers. What can you say about him without using any stats? That should be easy. He’s one of the most dynamic forces in the sport’s history! What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses (or at least areas where he’s somewhat mortal)? How does he go about doing his job?

Now imagine the opponent. Let’s say it’s the St. Louis Cardinals and we’re looking at a playoff game in October. What are their strengths? How is it they go about scoring runs? How do their skill sets match up without Kershaw?

Do THAT without any stats. Fairly easy to visualize isn’t it, if you follow baseball closely. NOW, what stats best describe what you’ve described? I’m not going to list a bunch because we’ve done that in past handicapping articles. My point is…you already know what’s important! Go find the stats that best express the reality of the game. Then, use those stats for matchups where you might not know the teams so well.

Everyone knows a lot about Clayton Kershaw. The #4 starter on the #12 team in the NL may not be as well understood. Or, a spot starter for an AL mediocrity. Learn about those with the indicator stats you like best.

Frankly, a lot of what passes for baseball analysis might as well be astrology. Pitcher X is a Sagittarius and water signs are 7-1 this month as underdogs. That would be ridiculous wouldn’t it? Yet, so much baseball stat material is just trivia…that what passes for “insight” is just somebody reading trivia to you. To pick winners you have to understand the game! Use the stats that best help you understand the game.

If you’re struggling as a do-it-yourselfer this season, maybe it’s because you’re trying to pick winners with trivia. Maybe you’re not focusing enough on GAMEBREAKERS because some illusory trend or angle has seduced you into a bad approach. Step back for a bit and think about the keys that matte most. I strongly believe your results will improve if you do so.

Of course, help is always just a few clicks away. My personal service selections 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. Be sure you check on early-bird football rates when you call. I have a great deal for the NFL Preseason that’s just around the corner.

I’m currently planning an NFL-themed report for Monday since training camps open across pro football next week. We’ll continue to mix football and baseball through the summer. Then we’ll be almost exclusive football during the Fall except for October “playoffs” and “World Series” class days in the MLB postseason.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your loyal attendance. Let’s go pick some winners!

 

Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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