Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, April 6, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Everyone knows you shouldn’t overreact to the first week of action in any sport. The results carry a huge load in short attention spans because baseball fans have been waiting months for the action to begin. It’s possible that, come June, NOBODY will remember that the NY Mets, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Minnesota Twins were leading their respective divisions entering the second weekend of 2018 action.
The betting markets are still pricing the preseason projected divisional winners like champions (Washington, the Chicago Cubs, the LA Dodgers, Cleveland, Houston, and the hybrid of Boston and the New York Yankees who were set to dominate the AL East). But, it’s certainly worth looking at some of these early surprises to see if they are capable of making a run at the postseason.
NY METS: This is arguably a playoff contender when healthy. The Mets have had troubles in recent seasons staying healthy! Maybe the every-day lineup is too mediocre. But, the starting rotation is going to shine if the anchors stay off the Injury List. JIM HURLEY will definitely be watching the rest of this weekend’s Mets/Nats series very closely.
PITTSBURGH: Tougher to be enthused here. Pittsburgh opened with horrible Detroit, then came home to face Minnesota and Cincinnati. At least the Mets took two of three from respected St. Louis, and won the first game of a long weekend series at Washington. Pittsburgh will have to beat some other contenders for us to believe they’re any more than a one-week wonder.
ARIZONA: The Diamondbacks went 93-69 last season, which would have been enough to win the NL Central or tie for the AL East. Many pundits expected a regression to the mean this season. Nobody told the players! Arizona certainly has a roster that can return to the postseason…particularly if the Dodgers are hung over from a disappointing World Series. Perhaps this group will take a step forward in 2018 rather than a step backward. (We should also note that Colorado is right behind Arizona in the NL West right now, also hoping to build off last year’s Wildcard run.)
MINNESOTA: Nobody ever respects the Twins. They were supposed to be a doormat last year, but won 85 games. They’re off to a winning start this season despite having to play their first five games on the road. We will need to see some results vs. contenders before taking them more seriously as an October threat. But, Minnesota should probably go on a “best of the rest” list when looking for non-superpowers who can make money for bettors. It’s already clear that you’re not going to win much money backing the high-payroll teams (unless Houston wins 120 games). Be on the lookout for money makers. Minnesota is at least a possibility given their effort, enthusiasm, and talent from last season.
Going hand in hand with those surprisingly good starts, are disappointing starts from the following:
LA Dodgers: 2-5
Chicago Cubs: 3-3
You can’t really say a 4-3 start is a “bad” start for the Nats. But, Washington is priced to crush every game, yet sits in third place behind the Mets and Braves in the NL East. It’s a disappointing start that’s lost money for backers. Interestingly, all of those teams are third place or worse in their current divisional standings. Easy for one big week to right the ship for all four of those slow starters. You may recall that the Indians and Cubs took months to get in gear in 2017. Smart bettors were fading them until that happened.
Handicapping April baseball can get very tricky. But JIM HURLEY’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach is perfectly suited for the challenge. Our SCOUTS and SOURCES are letting us know which teams are playing to win NOW, and which are coasting until we get deeper into the season. Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS have always been ahead of the analytics revolution in this sport, and will continue to help us find value with their simulation software. Our STATHEADS were brought up on baseball, and know which numbers to trust and which to throw away from these early games. Nobody incorporates BALLPARK EFFECTS like us! And, our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS let us know what the smart money, and what the dumb money is doing every day. We make sure our clients are getting smart picks and line value.
For clients of JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK, it all adds up to BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
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We’ll see you again on Wednesday to talk about handicapping the upcoming NBA Playoffs. JIM HURLEY had a great run through March Madness. The NBA championship chase lasts a lot longer, which means you can pyramid your profits even higher. Whatever the sport, whatever the month, you always GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!