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Submitted by Richie Baccellieri on Friday, July 13, 2018 at 4:00 PM

Whenever there’s a big line move in baseball, you’ll hear pundits or your buddies trying to guess what caused it. They’ll often point to trends or angles, or some kind of intangible like “revenge” or a “bounce back” spot.

The fact is, sharps (professional wagerers) almost never bet based on those things. Many don’t believe in trends because it’s easy to dig through data and find stuff that sounds important but doesn’t really mean anything. They think emotional factors are overrated in pro sports (particularly baseball!). If there’s a line move, it’s usually because of a personnel change.

And, I’m not talking about the obvious ones where a line changes from -160 to -120 because a good pitcher was scratched for the favorite and replaced by somebody out of the bullpen. I’m talking about a line moving 10-15 cents during the day. The causes are typically…

*The team announces a star hitter is sitting for rest

*The team announces a key player is out with an injury

*The team announces a trade that will hurt the lineup for a day

Sharps bet based on personnel, which means sharp lines moves will be connected to a change in personnel. I’ll oversimplify a lot just for the sake of example. Sharps have a value in mind for each player on a roster (or any player likely to be called up from the minors to a roster). They assume a value for the team based on the collective of players likely to play in a given game. When changes are made, they plug in the new number for the replacement.

What they DON’T do is suddenly realize midway through the day that there’s some sort of “bounce back” angle (“no way the Indians will lose again…no way the Astros will lose two in a row at home…no way the Cubs’ hitting slump will continue.”) or “revenge” angle (“this starting pitcher is going to be mad he allowed runs to this team last time out”).

I want YOU to think like a sharp and bet like a sharp. That means, you should probably spend more time than you currently do thinking about personnel. I mean, EVERY player on the team not just a handful of stars. And, you probably spend way too much time worrying about trends or angles hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. Hey, sometimes that works! I get that. You’re betting Overs in Cleveland this year. You’re betting Unders with Tampa Bay. But, if you look at ALL the different trends and angles you’ve tried to ride, you’ll likely find that it’s all come out in the wash.

Pick any team below .500 right now. Do you know who their starting catcher is? Do you know the backup? What’s the probable lineup impact if the starting catcher sits for a day to get some rest?

Pick any contender. When their best hitter takes a day off, or has to miss some time with a hamstring strain or a sore elbow, how good is the backup who replaces him? How much should the market adjust in those cases?

Sharps are basically grabbing ALL of the line value in those situations because the public isn’t paying enough attention. And, it’s important value because personnel changes matter. If sharps let a trend get away, they’ll be okay. Or, they may have already been on it anyway because the trend is a function of the personnel involved.

Today’s advice works whether you’re betting baseball now, or just getting ready for football season. Whether you focus more on college or pro football, try to do a better job this year of knowing all the personnel. You may pick up several winners or losers just by knowing the qualify of your alma mater’s offensive line if there’s an injury. You and a few sharps will be betting the right way!

If you like digging for trends, have at it. Maybe…cut the time you spend on that in half…and devote more to learning more about personnel (particularly key backups) instead. You can still catch lightning in a bottle if it strikes. But, you’ll turn a few losers into winners elsewhere on the card. That adds up over a month or a season.

If you’d like help finding smart plays each day, you can purchase daily BEST BETS from your friend in Las Vegas right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions call the VSM office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about long term packages that offer the best value. Check on early-bird rates for football when you call. NFL preseason starts Thursday August 2 when Chicago plays Baltimore in the Hall of Fame game.

Thanks for reading. A big sports weekend is on top of us with the end of the World Cup and Wimbledon, and the NBA summer league still going strong here in Las Vegas. Summers are so much busier than they used to be because more and more people are moving beyond college and pro football with their betting. But, the basic fundamental of focusing on personnel is still true in all sports. Trends are more random (and fickle) than you probably believe. Team quality is the sum of player quality.

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