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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Last week I talked about the importance of looking at Major League pitchers because they play such a large role in determining the outcome of a game. The playmakers and gamebreakers in baseball are typically pitchers who control their own destiny.

But, I also reminded you that you can’t ignore offenses. Pitching is important, but it’s not the ONLY think Advanced Handicappers need to be looking at in this sport.

Today I want to talk about the dangers of betting money on bad offenses. No matter how big a pitching edge you think you have in a game, you won’t get value out of your Las Vegas investments if your team can’t score any runs for you!

Betting on good pitchers backed by a bad offense is as sure way to lose a lot of 2-1 or 3-2 types of games. You feel like you should have won. But, you didn't get the money. There’s no reward in moneyline betting for losing close games. The point is to win!

Here are offenses I would avoid based on their lack of offense so far:

PHILADELPHIA: Because of injuries to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, the Phils have had trouble putting runs on the board so far this season. In fact, they only scored more than four runs twice in the first week and a half. I do expect this team to warm up eventually…and be dangerous again down the road when healthy. This is a high priced team in Vegas. Their offense doesn’t justify the prices.

PITTSBURGH: It’s hard to believe how bad this offense has been so far. They have run into some good pitchers, in tough scoring parks. They’ve been completely overmatched by those good pitchers as a general rule.  The only place to go is up. I’d wait until I saw some up before betting this team seriously.

CINCINNATI: The Reds needed extra innings to have a rare big scoring outing on Sunday in Washington. They had only scored 23 runs in their first eight games. They take the field again tonight in St. Louis knowing that they’d BETTER get something going or they’ll be in a big hole in the NL Central. I appreciate the motivation the Reds have to play well in this series. I’ll have to think long and hard about betting the incentive factor given their poor offensive start.

MINNESOTA: The Twins had one huge explosion from the LA Angels last week, and may score some in New York these next few days if they can drive a few balls over the short right field…but they’ve been much more likely to post small numbers whenever they run into decent pitching. Some familiar names are back in the lineup for the first time in ages. Wait until you see a good week of offense from this team before you bet them too aggressively.

OAKLAND: Through their first 10 games, the A’s only averaged 2.8 runs per outing. That’s abysmal, even if there are some extenuating circumstances with ballparks and a trip to Japan. They had plenty of time to recover from jet lag. This team has bat lag! If the A’s are throwing a good pitcher, look at the Under. If the opponent is throwing a good pitcher, look at the opponent. I’d only consider the A’s as a REALLY big dog with their best starter.

We have plenty of time this summer to talk about the countless fundamentals of baseball handicapping. We’ve started with the basics of pitching and avoiding bad offenses. I can assure you we’ll dig very deeply into a variety of Advanced approaches. And, I’ll be responding to developments on the fly when that’s warranted. I have to find a balance between protecting information for my paying clients and alerting you do-it-yourselfers to opportunities in the market. Those opportunities have been plentiful so far, and the season is just beginning.  

My next report later this week will focus on the NBA, as we continue working our way toward the playoffs. You can purchase my top baseball and basketball plays each and every day on this website. April and May are my favorite months to handicap because of the busy schedules in these two sports, and because horse racing’s big events add even more profit potential. If you have concerns about picking winners on your own, KELSO STURGEON is here to help!

See you again soon for my next installment in the College of Advanced Handicapping. I want to thank everyone again for the great response to this website feature. Among the great joys of my career are the chances I’ve had to help people win money, and to teach them how to win even more money!

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