The Dynamics Of Handicapping
Some Days You Win And Some Days You Lose
And The Sports Betting World Belongs To Those
Who Do Both With Emotionless Cold-Hearted Calm
By Kelso Sturgeon
Nobody hates to lose more than do I—and I mean nobody. Since I am coming off a Tuesday on which I lost a 50-unit play in interleague baseball and a 50-unit play in the NBA I want to talk about it—this experience of losing and the dynamic it brings to the day-to-day world of handicapping.
Several years ago a woman who had put up a lot of money to help a young handicapper launch a sports service came to me for advice. She said she had a lot of confidence in this gentleman’s ability as a handicapper but was concerned with his obvious inability to cope with losing and the ever-present dark cloud of its possibility.
She said a losing day sent him into depression which in turn impacted his thinking in a nervous and negative way as he addressed the new set of games to handicap each day. “What can you tell this young man that will help him deal with the losing,” she asked?
“Get used to it,” I said.
The man could not get used to it and closed up shop midway through his first season as a public handicapper. He was just one of hundreds, if not thousands, who entered and left the business in the wink of an eye because of their inability to come to grips with the fact one can’t win every single day.
Sports betting is called “gambling” for a reason. It is a complicated and risky game that is subject to many forces—some obvious and some not—and the only handicappers who are successful at it over more than a month or two or those who accept these dynamics and deal with them.
It is an absolute fact, whether you are a public handicapper or one who plays his own selections each day, if you are afraid of losing you can’t win. If you can’t step up to the betting window with the confidence you are right and at the same time be mentally equipped to accept the results of your wagers—win or lose—you are going to spend a lot of sleepless nights.
There are days you will win.
There are days you will lose.
The goal is to do more of the former than the latter over a set time frame.
You don’t have to win it all today. Your bookmaker will be taking action tomorrow, just as he did today.
Successful sports bettors know the formula for winning is an understanding this is a marathon and not a sprint.
This brings me to Tuesday's two 50-unit losers.
Right Back On The Firing Line Today
As much as I detest losing, I never get excited about it. I don’t like it, but it happens. For the record I never get excited over winning either. My satisfaction comes from a winning bottom line that comes from setting a goal over a certain time frame and then meeting it.
As noted earlier, I lost a 50-unit baseball play and a 50-unit NBA play Tuesday night. Let’s begin with the baseball loser, accompanied by the explanation I gave for liking the team I released. Here is what I said when I released it to my clients.
PERSONAL BEST CLUB
Interleague Pitchers Duel Game Of Year
Philadelphia Phillies (32-29) +120 over NEW YORK YANKEES (40-23)
Pitching for Philadelphia: RH Roy Halladay (8-4, 1.96)
Pitching for New York: LH C.C. Sabathia (6-3, 4.01)
Comments: This game has all the makings of a pitchers’ duel, and it may well be as both teams start the aces of their staffs. Pitchers duel or not, the Phillies Roy Halladay is the ace in this spot and his edge over New York starter C.C. Sabathia requires a little reading between the lines. First of all, Halladay is Halladay, consistent, awesome and usually overwhelming. Sabathia has not been and 4-6 in his last 10 starts and all four wins came over the hapless Baltimore Orioles. He is 4-0 with an ERA of 2.79 against Baltimore and 0-3 with an ERA of 5.64 in his last six starts against true major league teams. Halladay, who is life-time 18-6 with an ERA of 2.81 in 35 starts against the Yankees, is the only pitcher in the majors this season to throw five complete games. Sabathia is 1-3 with an ERA of 4.74 in six career starts against the Phillies. Philadelphia, which is just 6-14 in its last 20 games, is in a hitting slump but it won’t need many runs to get it done tonight. Halladay will carry the mail for the Phillies.
I lost this one big-time as Halladay pitched his worst game of the season. The Philadelphia ace from the get-go could not place his pitchers where he wanted them and one his way to an 8-3 loss gave up three home run—this from a man who in 13 starts this season had given up a total of but three.
Sabathia was not sharp at all and had but did not need to be. He continued to look like the 300-pound elephant that he has become.
Would I go with Halladay again in this situation? Yes—an emphatic high-volume, yes.
To me this was an example of what of my two universal rules of handicapping—that you can do everything right and still be wrong.
Now, on to the NBA.
Celtics Could Not Have Played Worse
I released the Boston Celtics (+6.5) over the Los Angeles Lakers and lost in embarrassing fashion, 89-67, as the former turned in a performance that was beyond disgraceful. The 67 points scored by the Celtics was the second worst in the history of the NBA championship round.
Boston did absolutely nothing right, but first, here is what I said when I released the game.
NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND
Game #6 Of Best-Of-Seven Series
Boston Leads Series 3-2
Boston Celtics (65-39) +6.5 over LOS ANGELES LAKERS (71-32)
Prediction: Los Angeles by 1-2
Comments: Los Angeles is down 3-2 in this best-of-seven series and is an obvious must-win situation tonight and that certain gives the Lakers an edge on a home court on which they are 43-8 this season. The figures say Los Angeles should slip by and win this game by 1-2 points but the margin of error is so tight it would not surprise me if Boston wins and takes home the NBA championship. While the Los Angeles situation and the home court bias are strong elements working for the Lakers, it is obvious to me Boston, which has won three of the last four games in this best-of-seven series—including one in L.A.—wants this far more than does Los Angeles. Boston is coming to each game with fire in its eye while at times the Lakers are playing as if the Celtics are going to roll over and drop dead. In other words, Boston wants it while Los Angeles apparently believes it is owed the title. Neither team has any secrets left. What you see is what you get. The Lakers should win it, but the Celtics should get the cover.
As noted, Boston could not have played worse and after the first five minutes of play it was obvious they were going to get its butt kicked by a Lakers team that must have realized it was not going to win this by just showing up.
Boston had no ability to match the intensity of the Lakers and when it was over had hit 33.3% of its field goals and had been out-rebounded by a margin of 52-39. It was a disaster.
Would I release the Celtics again in such a point and, again, he answer is, yes. In a game with so much on the line the +6.5 points is a big number and I would have to take it.
Again, please understand that I hate losing and am never comfortable with it. But when one knows what one is doing and is immune from the dynamics and forces of handicapping, a positive bottom line looms.
I am right back in action tonight with a full slate of baseball winners, highlighted by a 25-unit game for my Personal Best clients, a 15-unit total for my Chairman’s Clubs and a 10-unit winner for my Best Bets Club. Tomorrow, it will be another winning 50-unit parlay.
All baseball and basketball selections are available on this site and toll free at 1-800-755-2255. I accept all major credit cards.
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