IL Tips and a Blue Ribbon BOMBSHELL

HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK

HANDICAPPING KEYS FOR INTERLEAGUE PLAY...
PLUS A SPECIAL OFFER FROM NETWORK!

by Mathew Hurley, Managing Editor

Stop the presses!

JIM HURLEY knew many of you would be excited about the start of INTERLEAGUE play this weekend in Major League Baseball. Attendance increases at the ballparks. Legal betting interest increases in Las Vegas. You have very special matchups that get the juices flowing in rivalry cities...or bring stars to ballparks they've rarely (or never) played at).

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Okay, as promised, some tips for INTERLEAGUE handicapping...

The most important thing you need to know is that the American League is still the superior league. They went 137-114 last year against the Nationals, continuing a trend that's lasted a few years. We should note though that the bottom teams in the AL have fallen down enough now that they have trouble vs. the NL. During the peak of the domination, even the last place teams were crushing the so-called 'Senior Circuit.' Last year, AL teams with losing full season records didn't impress as a group vs. the NL.

2009 AL TEAMS WITH LOSING FULL SEASON RECORDS
Chicago White Sox: 12-6 vs. the NL
Baltimore: 11-7
Kansas City: 8-10
Toronto: 7-11
Cleveland: 5-13
Oakland: 5-13

That's 48-60 for the six AL teams with losing full season records when matched up against the NL (meaning the winning AL teams were a dominant 89-54).

The days of just backing the AL in blanket fashion may be over. The NL has made some improvements, and they match up better against the low end AL teams. That's very important to remember over the next several weeks.

Other tips:

*Remember that lefthanders have an edge the first time they face a team because every southpaw has a unique delivery. Taking 'first look lefties' is a great value strategy in IL play, particularly when they're throwing for the superior AL sides. Just make sure it's a first look! Lefties in the rivalry series can lose that edge because they face the same rival every season.

*Remember that slugging AL teams are particularly dangerous in the NL bandbox parks. Any good HR team in the AL is going to be a GREAT HR TEAM in a bandbox.

*Remember to adjust at least half a run in ERA when studying any individual game matchup (take a half a run off the AL guy, or add a half a run to the NL guy). AL pitchers face much stiffer competition before IL play begins, meaning they're going to perform better than their numbers vs. the NL. Vice versa from the other side of the coin. Remember how great Javier Vazquez was with the Braves last year? He couldn't even stay in the rotation with the Yankees.

*Study recent history to see which AL mangers really emphasize IL play. We're not going to discuss that ourselves today because we want to protect our clients as best as possible. There are a handful of managers that recognize they can really boost their won-lost records by prioritizing these meetings. They bring peak intensity, and Vegas just hasn't noticed.

*Teams with the most unique home environments have increased home field advantages in IL play. For example, Colorado is one of the few NL teams that's been able to hold its own over the years thanks to their experience at altitude. We don't want to list any other examples! This is something we've exploited to great affect over the years.

*Many IL games take on a 'playoff feel' because of the buzz in the crowd and the general excitement about unique matchups. If you only get to play the Yankees or the Red Sox once every few years, those special occasions really matter! That can lead to a lot of Unders because playoff intensity means 'big game' strategies. There's more 'playing for one run' which actually reduces the chances for big innings. Managers have a quicker hook if a starting pitcher is sluggish. Don't chase Overs except in the very best scoring scenarios. Look for smart places to take Unders.

*Look for 'Rivalry Letdowns' in games immediately after a big city series. You don't want to back the Mets the day after they finished a big subway series with the Yankees (particularly if they won the last game or the series!). It's probably not a great idea to lay odds with good AL teams in these spots even if they seem to have a huge talent edge. Look for letdowns after ALL of these marquee matchups. In some seasons, the edge you pick up here is huge.

Among the rivalry series on tap this weekend:
NY Yankees at NY Mets
Cleveland at Cincinnati
San Francisco at Oakland
Baltimore at Washington

When IL play resumes again down the road, everyone will get their shots at their local foes. Don't forget these tips because we only have three days of IL play right now! They'll apply all summer long!

We love handicapping INTERLEAGUE action because our exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach is ideally suited for games like these. Our SCOUTS AND SOURCES have all the information covered. Our STATHEADS know what's happened in the numbers since this great feature was started, and have kept us ahead of the Vegas curve by miles. Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS gives us the right numbers because they know the right adjustments to make. And, our WISE GUY connections tip us off to smart money developments as they happen.

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Back tomorrow to preview some more playoff basketball. We'll continue to be all over basketball, baseball, and football in the coming days and weeks. Make sure you're with us EVERY DAY so you know what's REALLY happening in the world of sports. And, make sure you take JIM HURLEY up on this BOMBSHELL offer before it expires!

This article is part of the VSM MASTERS SERIES presented by VegasSportsMasters.com and JimHurley.com. For more information on JIM HURLEY'S handicapping packages, call 1-800-323-4453.

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Nov

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