The Seattle Mariners
Handicapping Us The Rest of the Year Should Be Easy, Fade Away
We are 100 games into the long, long major league baseball betting season. That means we are still more than two months away from the end of the year. For a lot of teams, though, these last 60 games are just something that have to be endured before the season draws to a merciful end. There are eight teams in the league that are at least 13 games out of first place in their divisions, and none are likely to be any closer by the time October arrives. Because they really don’t have a lot to play for it’s hard to trust that they are going to put forth any real effort in a given game. It would be easiest just to ignore these teams for the rest of the season, but they are more than a quarter of the whole league, so you don’t want to do that when baseball handicapping. What you need to be able to do instead is to evaluate the bad teams to determine which ones are going to be trying and which ones likely aren’t. Here are six things to consider as you try to do that:

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San Francisco 49ers Football
We are going to have a fine season because our team is improved and we play in a weak division, not because of last years strength of schedule
There is a lot of attention paid every year to strength of schedule in the NFL. When the schedule is released lots of articles pop up talking about who has an easy schedule and who has a hard one, and talking heads go wild trying to explain what it all means and who has the edge. It’s talked about in grand and important tones, and given a lot of significance. This year, for example, people are talking about how the Niners and the Chargers could be lifted by schedules which are in the bottom five of the league in terms of difficulty, while the Texans, Bengals and Cowboys could see promising seasons compromised by playing top five difficulty schedules. There’s only one problem with that line of thinking – by itself strength of schedule is virtually a meaningless statistic. That’s especially true for NFL handicappers. Here are five good reasons why strength of schedule is more a distraction than a tool for bettors looking to place winning bets:

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If you’re using the same information to handicap NFL football games as everyone else then you’re going to come to a lot of the same conclusions and fall int a lot of the same traps as everyone else as well. The nice thing about NFL handicapping is that there is so much information out there and so may people doing some really serious thinking about the game that with a little desire and research you can access some really phenomenal stats that will help you understand the game better, identify strengths and weaknesses quicker, and generally become a better bettor. Trying to figure out new stats can be very intimidating, though, because they can seem complicated and hard to understand. To ease you into your search for new stats here’s a look at four that are pretty easy to figure out, yet are very powerful:

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The NFL football season is getting closer. It’s still too far away for most, but it’s a lot closer than it was a month ago. Instead of just sitting around impatiently waiting for things to get started smart NFL bettors are using this time to get more prepared for the season so that they are ready to identify and exploit any edge that they possibly can. To do that yourself here are five different things you could think about doing to improve your NFL handicapping. You don’t have to do all of them – anything you do is more than most of the public is doing, so it certainly won’t hurt:

Continue reading “NFL Handicapping: Offseason Prep Work To Better Your Game”

We are in the midst of interleague play in baseball. For the next couple of weeks all but one game will involve a National League team playing one from the American League, with the rules of the home team being enforced. I absolutely hate interleague play. Baseball is a game of beautiful traditions, and one that should be completely and absolutely above shameful gimmicks like interleague plays. Seeing things like the two Chicago teams or the two New York squads play is mildly amusing, but it isn’t worth all of the disruption and meaningless matchups that the rest of interleague play creates for us. Those classic matchups become less and less compelling each time they are played as well – a subway series World Series wouldn’t be the novelty it was last time we saw it now that the teams play every year. If I had my way I would not only end interleague play immediately, but also purge the records of every one of the stupid games that has ever been played.

Continue reading “Handicapping Interleague Baseball Games”

When it comes to betting baseball, not all games are created equally. You can essentially break the season into three broad types of games that teams play – division games, games outside the division but in the league, and inter-league games. Each type of game has different characteristics which the successful bettor will recognize and look to exploit. Today I want to look at division games – why they are unique, and how to deal with them.

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For most sports bettors this is the time of year when things are at their slowest. Football is a distant memory, and won’t be back again for a long while. Basketball and hockey are winding down. Baseball is chugging along, but the relentless pace of that sport is more than some bettors want to deal with. Summer is a great time for bettors to relax, sit in the sun and drink some beer, and get ready for a long, hard fall and winter. It’s also a good time to get ready for next season by working to become a sports bettor. There are a lot of really terrible books about sports betting out there, but there are a few that are really great. When you’re sitting on the beach soaking up some rays this summer, pick up one of these classics is you haven’t read them already. You’re certain to learn something – I do every time I read through them again.

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There are two main ways to bet sides in baseball – the moneyline and the runline. The difference between the two seems subtle, but the more you look at them, the more you appreciate their complexity. The most interesting thing about the two different bets to me is that if you ask baseball bettors what they prefer you’ll get a bunch of different answers, and most of those answers will be passionate. Some people favor betting the moneyline because runlines can present lousy value. Others play the runline because the payoffs are better and about two-thirds of games are decided by more than one run. As is the case in so many things, both opinions can be right or wrong depending upon your perspective and how you look to use them. To know what’s best for you you need to understand the two tools, and their strengths and weaknesses.

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As some of you know over the last year or so we have been doing various work with ESPN on their insider pages providing stats and historical data as well as some against the spread predictions on the games.  After a spectacular NCAA tournament providing winner after winner for their readership Chad Millman asked me for my take on Monday’s national championship game between Duke and Butler.

Continue reading “Insight From Someone Who Actually Wins”

The major sports leagues in the U.S. are not just going to sit back and let Delaware legalize sports betting. They obviously fear that it would establish a dangerous precedent. If you haven’t followed it, here’s a quick summary – the state of Delaware has decided to legalize sports betting as a way to raise more revenue for the state. There will be a lottery as well, but the controversial idea s that they will have Vegas-style sports books located in the existing race tracks in the state. Other states, especially New Jersey, are watching very closely because they would be interested in doing the same – in Atlantic City in New Jersey’s case. The state pushed through the legislation quickly and intends to have it up and running in time for the wildly lucrative football season. The leagues aren’t happy about it at all. They are outwardly opposed to gambling in any form, and their position is that they fear that widespread gambling will lead to corruption within the sport, or at least it will allow questions to be raised each time there is a close finish or a controversial call. In an attempt to stop progress in Delaware the four major sports and the NCAA have banded together and have sued the state.

Continue reading “Delaware Is The Battlefield”

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