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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 1:00 PM

It’s very easy for casual sports bettors to overreact to what they see in the first week of Major League Baseball action. That’s a big mistake anyway because a 6-7 game sample size doesn’t tell you much. But, it’s even worse if you’re not accounting for the home/road split of that first week!

Some teams have started the 2017 season slowly. But, they did so while playing nothing but road games in that first week. They can bounce back right to where they should be by playing well at home this week when the schedule evens out. Other teams started well, but played only home games. That may not mean much because a week of road action could erase all of those gains.

So, when evaluating teams right now, don’t pay too much attention to the standings! Look at team skill sets on offense and on the mound. Look at game conditions to see how they might impact those skill sets. But, don’t jump on any bandwagons because of won-lost records. There’s no reason to fade “slow starters” unless those teams were awful out of the gate on their home field. You don’t want to back “fast starters” unless they were doing some damage on the road last week. In fact, going 3-3 while playing three road games is actually a pretty good start!

In past seasons, we’ve talked about a helpful stat we call “Wins Minus Home Games Played.” It’s not really worth your energy to tabulate that now. But, be prepared to do the work later this month and through the summer. There are invariably unbalanced schedules at various stages of the season that don’t make it back to equality until all 162 games have been played. This more than any other factor is what causes misperceptions about the playoff and/or championship potential of Major League teams.

Other keys to keep in mind in regards to the home road dynamic.

*Teams who play their home games in great hitters’ parks are often HORRIBLE at scoring runs away from home. They get used to taking advantage of what their own park offers. When they have to hit somewhere else, it becomes more difficult to manufacture runs. (This can be called “Colorado Rockies Disease” most seasons.) Be sure you break offensive production down into home and road categories rather than looking at overall data. You’ll find it very hard to win money by asking poor road offenses to win road games for you.

*Teams who play their home games in great hitters’ parks often have starting pitchers who perform very well away from home. These are true value pitchers because too many handicappers (and oddsmakers) focus on their current ERA that’s been polluted by an unfriendly home park. Look at backing these pitchers, or at betting Unders if that same team has a struggling road offense.

*Teams who play their home games in a great pitchers’ park often have offenses that are better than you realized. This has been true for many years for the California teams, who all play home games in parks that inhibit offense. Ask them to score runs for you on the road in neutral or hitters’ parks, and they’ll often explode for you. This is particularly powerful at underdog prices. And, it will help drive a lot of smart Overs bets.

*Teams who play their home games in a great pitchers’ park often have starting pitching staffs that are pretty mediocre (or worse) on the road. You will also notice this with some of the starting pitchers on those California teams (though it works for all parks of this genre). A hurler might have a decent overall ERA…but that turns out to be “okay” at home but “lousy” on the road. Fade lousy pitchers!

Smart handicappers who use these guidelines can earn profits from of them for the next six months! Well, even longer if you count the playoffs. And, that often holds true because teams from extreme parks do qualify for the playoffs. You find a good trend in football, and it’s only good for a couple of months (at most). You find a good trend in college basketball, and it’s only good for about the same amount of time. Smart strategies in baseball work in April, May, June, July, August, September, and even in October.

If you’d like some help cashing tickets through all of those months…as we build a summer bankroll that we can use for Fall Football, hook up RIGHT NOW with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK! You can always get game day selections right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. When you call, be sure to ask about extended programs that take you through the NBA Playoffs or the MLB season. 

The NBA Playoffs start this weekend (we’ll see you again here in the NOTEBOOK for a postseason preview at the end of the week!). BIG JUICY BASEBALL WINNERS are available TODAY. Take advantage of the exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach led by PROVEN WINNER JIM HURLEY!

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