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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, June 15, 2018 at 4:00 PM

You’ll still hear old-timers in Las Vegas saying things that were said back in the 1980’s, during the first big “media boom” in sports betting coverage. They’ll say you can’t make money betting favorites in Major League Baseball. You have to focus on grinding out money with “value” bets on underdogs. Wrong!

While, it IS possible to find occasional value with teams the public doesn’t want to touch. Generally speaking, you won’t make money, let alone get rich by betting on losing teams.

So far in the 2018 Major League season, there are quite a few teams with losing straight up records. Entering Father’s Day weekend, only THREE have shown a profit against Las Vegas money lines.

Detroit 33-37…plus 7.5 units

San Francisco 34-35…plus 4.5 units

San Diego 33-38…plus 4 units

Can’t argue with anyone that’s been backing Detroit. After a slow start they’ve come on pretty strong. What are the odds anyone would specifically pick DETROIT amongst all the losing teams though? Why Detroit over Tampa Bay, or Kansas City, or Texas? Why would the Tigers be the team that got hot (maybe just temporarily) after a slow start?

San Francisco and San Diego have also been pleasant surprises. But, four units? You had to place about 70 bets per team to grind out four units per team. Hard work.

As I’ve been telling you for YEARS here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping, you have to focus on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS when choosing your bets. In baseball, that means:

*Starting pitchers who can go deep (or at least get you to the best relievers)

*Bullpens who lock down wins

*Hitters who consistently find a way to get runs on the board

The only new factor for this sport under this set of guidelines involves the bullpen. I used to focus on the starting pitcher and the closer. Now, it’s essential to be aware of the teams whose bullpens thrive in the seventh and eighth innings. That’s a new class of impact player in this sport.

Now, I’m not saying that you should just go around betting favorites in MLB because that’s where all the top players are. You also have to look at THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. Boston and the New York Yankees are both extremely motivated to win the AL East because neither wants to be forced into a Wildcard play-in game. Cleveland has little competition in the AL Central, and can coast into the postseason. Not a surprise that the Red Sox and Yanks are plus betting units even against very high prices. Cleveland backers are down.

What we’re clearly seeing this baseball season, which is true in most baseball seasons, is that the best overall betting value comes from talented “surprise” teams who caught oddsmakers napping out of the gate (and beyond). Seattle is a great example of that in 2018. As is Atlanta. Throw Milwaukee on that list. Arizona is back in form after a little slump.

*Talent is vital

*Talent that SURPRISES THE MARKET is where fortunes are made

*Fading overrated powers who lack motivation is the way to grind out additional profit, rather than hoping you luck into a losing team that catches some breaks.

Here’s your homework for this weekend. Two steps.

First, go to the MLB standings page at and rank all 30 teams strictly in terms of profit and loss. Don’t worry about won-lost records or divisional races. See who’s making money, and who’s losing money. Think about why those performances have happened based on the themes we’ve discussed today.

Second, start from scratch! Build your own standings framework (either in a notebook or a spreadsheet) that pretends the season began Friday June 15. Update it daily. Look for the “new surprises” that will catch the market flat-footed through the next two months (it probably won’t be the same early-season surprises because the cat’s out of the bag on those). See if you can spot any “delayed collapses” from teams who were supposed to be bad, but treaded water for 70 games until the floor fell out from underneath them.

I don’t mean to suggest that you should stop thinking about PLAYMAKERS, GAMEBREAKERS, and THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. Keep those in mind AS you study midseason changes in form. This well-rounded approach will keep you focused on the fundamentals (talent) and the keys to building really profits (spotting surprises before anyone else).

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. Early investments are often the smartest investments.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping hopes you have a great holiday weekend. I’ll see you again Monday for our next class get-together I won’t be talking about World Cup soccer because many of you don’t bet that, and it’s not a sport that I post selections in for my customers. But, if you ARE betting that event, please focus on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS above all else. That sport…and that particular event…more than anything else is where these traditional points of emphasis really shine. You can start paying attention now and be ready for the knockout stage.

Smart handicappers can be thrown into any sport and start winning fairly quickly as long as they use the proper fundamentals.

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