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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, May 19, 2017 at 6:00 PM

There have been a few Major League Baseball teams in the 2017 season that have caught Las Vegas oddsmakers by surprise. But, sportsbooks are more than holding their own so far thanks to all of the following…

*The defending World Champion Chicago Cubs are off to a very slow start. Everyone loves betting the Cubs in this town. Chicago was down almost 10 units for the season before embarrassing an overmatched Cincinnati Reds team the past few days.

*The defending runner-up Cleveland Indians are almost down 10 units entering their weekend series with Houston despite having a winning record at 20-19. This was a popular choice out of the gate because many square bettors thought the Tribe would be out to prove they were deserving champs. For now, it’s more like a World Series hangover for the AL Champs who just missed throwing a World Championship parade.

*The Los Angeles Dodgers are a popular betting team here in Las Vegas, and they’re down a few units so far this season.

*The San Francisco Giants are also a popular betting side in Nevada, and their backers have been stubborn about expecting this slow start to end! SF is about -10 units for the season entering the weekend.

*The New York Mets often find some betting interest in town because of old-time roots. They’re down more than 12 units this season…though many squares did jump off that bandwagon early because things were so bad.

*Can’t leave out the Boston Red Sox. They were supposed to win the AL East. So far, they’re down a couple of betting units as well.

The only really “public” team that’s been cashing tickets this season is the New York Yankees. Vegas could get hurt going forward if that team sustains a few more months of excellence. But, many of the “pleasant” surprises off to good starts (Colorado, Arizona, Milwaukee, Minnesota) don’t have big betting constituencies.

It really couldn’t have played out much better for sportsbooks. Almost every team that the squares (and more than a few sharps) wanted to bet have poor results out of the gate. With three-fourths of the season still to go, things could definitely turn around. If the Cubs, Indians, Dodgers, and Red Sox start playing more toward preseason expectations…they could run off a few weeks or even a couple of months that sting the books (even at higher favorite prices).

The biggest challenge I’m hearing from sharp handicappers involves the lack of true quality pitching. It’s amazing how many generic arms are in rotations just taking up space. The obvious stars are too high-priced for sharps to bet in most instances. And, it’s hard to find value in guys who aren’t able to control their own destiny with great stuff. That’s particularly true in a season where home run totals continue to rise and scoring is up.

That leaves sharps:

*Looking to bet Overs, particularly for teams with shaky bullpens

*Looking at younger lesser known pitchers showing good stuff

*Betting a lot of summer football props like Regular Season Win totals and Futures!

My best advice to you baseball bettors would involve all of the following…

*Realize that home run totals are still going up, for whatever reason, and figure out how to swim with that tide. Back the best home run teams in conditions that favor the long ball. Bet Overs if both teams are positioned to score. Don’t assume scoring is going to regress back to the mean. Weather is getting warmer! Scoring could still keep going up.

*Recognize that surprise teams out of the gate often keep quality play going for months. Their early success creates bigger home crowds and a great atmosphere. It’s a while before fatigue will start setting in on new hitting stars. Starting pitchers aren’t going to wear down in late May or early June. That’s more likely to happen in July or August. Those “low payroll” teams who are cashing tickets thus far might still offer value in a way you can profit from through July.

*Monitor line moves so you know how best to play your opinions. If you like a team that gets daily support in the marketplace, bet them early to get the best number. If you like a team that the line usually moves against, wait until much later so you get a better return.

It’s okay to think about hitting one of the slow starters at just the right time. Maybe the Cubs are about to go 25-5 to rise up to where they were last year. Typically, though, that’s just wishful thinking from fans. And, there’s no way ALL the slow starters are going to catch fire. Monitor the team you have in mind and wait to see some success before just assuming it’s going to happen.

I’ll be posting baseball selections for clients all through the summer. I don’t post monsters or locks, but you always get my best shot at an affordable price as we try to earn a profit through the summer. You can purchase my best daily plays right here at the website with your credit card. Or, call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155.

Thanks for reading. The NBA Championships don’t start until the beginning of June. I’ll only talk more basketball before then if some upsets make things interesting in the Conference Finals. Plenty of ways to make money in Las Vegas during the summer! I look forward to sharing those with you as the weather gets hotter.   

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