Hot Dogs, Anyone?
By Jimmy Boyd
We have said it before and we will say it again, handicapping baseball is the easiest sport to make money on. Yet time and time again I receive emails from prospective clients about how they either don’t understand the sport or they struggle at handicapping it. We went ahead and produced a little chart that shows wins required at any given moneyline in order to break even to help the average bettor understand the underlying mathematics of betting moneylines. Our chart will be available for viewing in next week’s article and should help shed some light on what money line equals what winning percentage. We will go ahead and give you some examples of what exactly we mean. For instance, if you bet on favorites, and your average bet on a moneyline is –165, you would have to hit 62.3% winners just to break even. This would be quite a task for even the top experts to accomplish. Now on the flip side, let’s take a look at an average bettor whose average moneyline wager is +155. If your average monyline wager is +155, you only need to hit 39% winners. That is quite a bit of difference and I believe that is why betting on underdogs in baseball is so attractive.
The biggest factor that the linesmakers use in setting the lines is the starting pitchers. Sure a guy like Curt Schilling is a great pitcher, but is he really worth –240, -250, or even more? If on average he pitches 6 innings per game, you are still left with 33% of the game left up to the bullpen. My point here is, and don’t get me wrong, Schilling is a great pitcher, but it is our jobs as handicappers to find an advantage, an edge, that we can use to make money off of soft or bad lines. One advantage is to fade the best pitchers in the sport. How many of your friends will look at a matchup between Pedro Martinez and Jake Westbrook and think the Indians will have a chance? Well, if you look at Pedro’s team record last year it hovered around .500. If you bet against Pedro last year you were looking at +200 of value on average, you don’t have to win very many games at that kind of a number to turn a great profit. We do not necessarily have to be more intelligent than the linemakers, we do however have to be sharper than Mr. Joe Better Public and know when the advantage is on our side. The name of the game is to make money, and dogs are the way to go for sharp players. I personally can hardly wait for baseball to begin, because I know I am going to have a summer adventure of pounding the books, most other sharp players agree.
Each year there are some teams that are undervalued from the start of the season. This year it was the Texas Rangers. In April and the beginning of May, through their first 25 games, they were a favorite only one time. That means 24 out 25 games being an underdog, but their win/loss record for those first 25 games, 16-9. Sharp players who knew the value of the Texas Rangers took advantage of this for an entire month and made some serious cash. Now you have ESPN analysts, radio guys, and even my sister’s husband who have caught on to this fact and the value pretty much disappears. Take a look at their last ten games and you’ll find they were favorites in every one, but only managed to go 5-5, a losing proposition for those who got in late on the Rangers success.
Baseball is a sport that I personally have made money on every year but one for the past 10 years. Finding a great handicapper and putting it together with a sound money management program can all but guarantee the long, hot summer can be rewarding. With so many online books out there now, the average player can open up several accounts and shop around for the best lines. I personally have up to 10 books at any one time during the baseball season, and I know all other professional gamblers will have at least that many. Shopping around for lines is one of the easiest advantages even an Average Joe can have over the books. The thing about baseball is that when you shop lines, you cut losses and increase profits. The line always comes into effect when a dog wins or a favorite loses! If you get in at -150 and another book had -148 and you lose, you just gave away 2 dollars! Imagine how many dollars you can save over the course of a year.
The time and effort required to handicap baseball is something that I relish. I enjoy the statistical information that goes along with handicapping the sport, it’s unlike any other. In football you don’t get nearly the amount of game performance data to handicap with each week, in baseball you get daily updates on each player’s performance. With all that being said, don’t expect to look at the days paper, glance at the line, look at the pitchers, make a “decision” on a game, and then place your bet. That is a one way ticket to the poor house. If you are the type of better I just mentioned, I recommend taking you money to the nearest casino and tell them you just want to donate it to them, because shortly enough that is where you’re money will be anyway. Sure you will win some games, and you WILL lose some games, chances are a lot more than you will win, but you cannot expect to win without putting the required time and effort and that is where a professional handicapper can come in. Use our knowledge to help rip up your book this summer.
This article was produced by Jimmy Boyd, the chief handicapper behind Locksmith Sports Picks. You can sign up for his free picks at his site and also check out the premium packages he has to offer at www.locksmithsportspicks.com.
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