Spotting the Superior League, Divisions

Kelso's Advanced Handicapping: Spotting the Superior League, Divisions

Interleague play resumes this Friday and will continue nonstop through Sunday June 24th. Handicappers who have made proper assessments on who the superior league was between the American and the National have historically made very good money over the years in Interleague action. THIS year, it's vital that you're also focusing on the divisions.

That's because, for the most part in 2012:
The NL EAST plays the AL EAST
The NL CENTRAL plays the AL CENTRAL
The NL WEST plays the AL WEST

The classic rivalries, which are generally already regional are interspersed this year within a schedule that is almost entirely regional for each team. There are a few exceptions here and there because it's impossible to take all the quirks out of a schedule. But, you'll have ample opportunity to study and profit from your evaluations of divisions and the two leagues.

In recent seasons, it's the AMERICAN league that's offered the most value, with a few seasons where you could literally print money just by betting the AL across the board every day. The market finally adjusted (many oddsmakers were old school guys who couldn't shake the impression that the NL was the "Senior Circuit" that had an advantage in IL). Since the market adjusted, you have to find something that's going to work RIGHT NOW rather than something that used to work but cooled off.

I think it's best that you leave out what happened in that first weekend a few weeks back in terms of your evaluations. That might seem odd, because handicappers should treasure data. But, we've seen in recent seasons that the NL created illusions over the first weekend that turned out to be red herrings. Playing two weeks straight of IL games isn't the same as playing three days because issues of depth on the bench and in the bullpen come more into play over the longer challenge. You should start your preparations "blind" so to speak right now...and then read and react when the games start Friday.

Here are some tips for getting up to speed quickly on the current differences between leagues and divisions as they present themselves.

  • Don't give divisions credit for when any of their teams win as big favorites. They're supposed to win as big favorites. There aren't any holes in the market to exploit if a -170 or higher team wins the game.

  • Do give credit to a division when a big UNDERDOG wins. That's been a great indicator in recent seasons. When big dogs are winning...they often cluster in the league that oddsmakers have underrated. Or, better put, they're happening against the league that oddsmakers have overrated. Starting Friday, keep tabs on every big dog win scored by each Major League division.

  • Keep a running tally EVERY DAY on what I call the "challenge" games that are priced at -140 or lower. Make a separate list of these and consider them "virtual pick-ems" for the sake of the study. If one league is showing early success in these "challenge" games, then that's likely to continue through the full two weeks. That's been a very clear lesson from past seasons. If all the games near pick-em are slanted one way...they're going to stay slanted in a way that offers Las Vegas betting value. The only difference this year is that you should also be looking at DIVISIONS in a way that matters. (Philadelphia visits Minnesota next week in one of the rare matchups outside of the East-East type scenarios. The Twins are horrible...should they lose to the Phils, it may reflect more on the AL Central than it does on the league as a whole...should the Twins shine, that says something important as well).

  • Pay attention to home/road splits as well. When the AL was dominant, they came right out of the gate winning road games. Within my own methodology, I give some extra credit to road games even within the "challenge" category where home field should be priced into the line. Your trying to spot edges very quickly on the fly. You need to do so from as many directions as possible.

I'm personally looking very much forward to Interleague action this year. And, those East vs. East games could really be something special because of all the winning teams in those two divisions. If you'd like some help picking baseball winners this week and through the month of June, you can purchase my releases daily right here at this website. I also have great rates for the rest of baseball or the rest of basketball as well.

I'll go back to basketball in our next report on Friday. The conference finals have been fascinating, and it's time to take what we've learned in Oklahoma City-San Antonio and Miami-Boston to start projecting out the league championships.

I want to extend my thanks once again to all of you for being continuing students in my College of Advanced Handicapping. It's a pleasure to teach the course knowing that so many of you are showing clear and immediate benefits once you put the lessons into action. See you again next time.

22
Nov

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