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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 12:00 PM

I haven’t talked yet about Interleague Play this season. The schedule has been light. And, frankly, in recent seasons the betting markets have caught up to reality. Several years back, you could make a fortune simply betting all the AL teams over the NL teams. Oddsmakers (many of who were stubborn veterans even then) just couldn’t accept that the AL was not only superior, but VASTLY superior at the time.  The NL was basically “quadruple A” while the AL was Major League caliber for a few seasons.

The line eventually did catch up. Even though the AL continues to win the season series, it’s been doing so at fair prices that don’t offer value. THIS season, the National League is off to a strong start, which might be signaling value in the other direction. Oddsmakers and the public are now so conditioned to think that the AL is going to win Interleague (as it’s done all the way back to 2004) that the lines have been slow to adjust.

Also a factor, the AL has some bad teams right now. Here’s a list of teams with losing records who have struggled in Interleague…

Tampa Bay 0-7

Chicago White Sox 3-9

Detroit 1-5

Baltimore 2-4

Texas is bad, and hasn’t even played any Interleague games yet! Kansas City has only played five, with a 2-3 record. It will be tough for the AL to own the NL with so many mediocrities (and worse).

I don’t want to suggest that the whole AL is going to be outclassed. The great teams will beat anybody. Don’t go fading the Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, and Astros just because the whole league is off to a slow start against the Nationals. But, don’t be afraid to step up when anybody from the NL that knows what it’s doing is facing one of the non-powers in the AL.

This is important to pay attention to NOW because the volume of the IL schedule is about to pick up. We have three series beginning Tuesday (Washington/NY Yankees, Cincinnati/Kansas City, and Texas/Los Angeles Dodgers). Then, three more this weekend (Miami at Baltimore, Washington at Toronto, and Colorado at Texas). It gets even busier down the road.

Here’s your homework from today’s class session in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.

*Familiarize yourself with current team-by-team won-lost records in Interleague. Most major sports websites have an option on their standings page to see records vs. the other divisions and in IL (ESPN’s website does for sure).

*Build a framework for monitoring new results from this point forward. You want to stay on top of this every day. If the NL continues its early edge, or plays even at mostly underdog prices, you want to take advantage before the market changes. Force yourself to monitor this angle DAILY rather than checking in periodically.

*Pay particular attention to the best “indicator” games, meaning “Good NL teams vs. Good AL teams,” “Mid-Level NL teams vs. Mid-Level AL Teams,” and “Bad NL Teams vs. Bad AL Teams.” The Yankees just took two of three from the Mets…but that’s not really a “highlight” for the AL. The Yanks are much better than the Mets and should have won that series.

See if one league is winning more than its share of the perceived coin flips. That was the single biggest factor several years ago when the AL announced its dominance. It kept winning two-of-three in all the coin flip matchups. You can make a lot of money winning two-of-three at coin flip betting odds. And, you can step in with 100-unit or 200-unit “Game of the Year” type bets when personnel advantages are backed up by a hidden Interleague edge. You might see a -120 home favorite from the NL who should really be -150 or -160 (or -200 truth be told). I can assure you this WAS happening back in the AL’s best seasons.

It’s always possible that the AL is still superior on the whole, and will reverse its early 2018 disappointment. Students like YOU need to be on top of the story, rather than finding out later about the story, or never even realizing there was a story. I was always surprised how ill-informed the media and general public were about the AL’s extreme dominance several years back. In 2006, the American League went 154-98 at very affordable prices, and the announcers calling games had no idea. Color guys who were former players were still certain the NL was the better league.

Get to work!

If you’d like additional assistance, KELSO STURGEON’S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters office by calling office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Ask about packages that take you through the All-Star Break or the full baseball season. Of course, it’s never a bad time to ask about early-bird football too.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your continuing attendance and hard work. I trust it’s been paying off for you over these many years. If you’re a new student this summer, welcome to my serious study of real-world handicapping. I’m humbled that you’ve chosen me as a mentor. Our next class get-together will be Friday at this very same location.  

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