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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, August 6, 2018 at 1:00 PM

Here’s a stat you wouldn’t have expected to see before the season started. Or, even a few weeks ago. Through Sunday’s action, fully 11 of the 15 American League teams are down money in terms of betting units in the 2018 season.

There are two main reasons for this:

*Boston and Oakland have been crushing everyone for weeks…gobbling up all the money! After sweeping the New York Yankees this past weekend, Boston is plus about 28.5 units. Oakland’s on another hot streak. The A’s are plus 26.5 units as they get ready for a big series against the Los Angeles Dodgers that starts Tuesday.

*The AL is having a bad year in Interleague action, pulled way down by the horrible performance of the Central division. The whole division has a losing record financially. It’s 26-47 in Interleague action.

So, Boston and Oakland are vacuuming up value in the East and West, while the Central is giving it’s money over to the senior circuit.

After Boston and Oakland, Seattle (plus 9.5 units) and Tampa Bay (plus 3.5 units) are the only other money makers. Heck, Tampa Bay could have a bad week and fall back below the break-even line. What if we end the season with only two or three AL teams in the black?

Admittedly, there are a few teams currently in the red who could get hot…

Detroit -1.5 units

Texas -1.5 units

NY Yankees -2.5 units

Houston -4.5 units

I don’t know about you. I’m not particularly optimistic about Detroit or Texas getting hot. Maybe they’ll spring enough upsets as underdogs to move forward. The Yankees have fallen off the map the past month, but are still going to be pricey favorites vs. many weaklings left on the August schedule. Houston is so expensive it has to go 5-2 every week just to break even against high Vegas money lines.

What are the lessons from this current AL dynamic for students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping? Here are three that come to mind.

*First, always remember that it’s very hard to ride one individual team to riches unless you’re lucky enough to recognize its edges early on in the process. Typically, you just can’t “show your support” for your favorite team in a profitable way. The vigorish will eat you up unless you happen to find the team destined to crush opponents for weeks at a time. You can’t bet like a fan, you have to bet line an investor. Yankees fans must suck it up and bet the Bosox!

*Smart handicappers pick their spots on the daily card, while keeping an eye out for market surprises. Hey, you might find one! Congrats to any of you who spotted the true offensive quality of the Oakland A’s before the market did. You’re much more likely to find individual starting pitchers across the card that are mis-priced in one direction or the other rather than entire teams that are badly priced.

*Always stay open-minded to evolutionary ticks in the sport. Any sport. The American League has dominated the National League for so long in interleague action that some bettors forgot to even look at it. They just assumed the AL would keep winning, and the market would price that accurately. Instead, the National League is up 116-98 at very affordable prices in 2018. A lot of AL teams went in the tank to “rebuild” for the future. Many NL teams are hanging around respectability. Oddsmakers (and many sharps) have been asleep at the wheel.

Your homework this week will involve a bit of a swerve. My topic today is baseball. But, the homework is pro football based on the themes we’ve discussed.

*First, look for non-playoff teams from last season’s NFL who have upgraded their offense in such a way that it might lead to a string of covers in the first half of the season. The Oakland A’s have been MUCH better on offense than the market expected for weeks. Who’s going to be the NFL equivalent? Who brought in an offensive-minded head coach that can fix prior problems? Who upgraded or matured at quarterback or other skill positions? Who acquired more receiving weaponry?

*Second, look for a division on the verge of collapse. Maybe there won’t be one. But, nobody expected the AL Central to be THIS bad in baseball. Sure, Cleveland’s okay. It’s the Indians and four doormats. Which NFL division could be much worse than expected because veteran QB’s will hit their career wall…because veteran head coaches have lost the team…or because talent just isn’t as good as media hype. If you start thinking about these issues now, you’ll spot important developments as they happen during the regular season.

If you’d like help making smart picks in baseball and football daily and in the coming weeks, 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. The best way to magnify your profits in the summer is to bet both football AND baseball. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, get signed up now so you can start winning Thursday and the first busy day of exhibition football.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your continuing attendance and hard work. Coursework will be football-heavy from this point on through 2018 because that’s the biggest betting sport in Las Vegas, and already in New Jersey, Delaware, and Mississippi. I could provide WNBA tips for five of you…or college and pro football tips for thousands. Easy choice.

Our next class get-together will be Friday afternoon. See you then.

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