Interleague Oddsmaker Report Card

DIRECT FROM NEVADA WITH NICK BOGDANOVICH

ODDSMAKERS HANDLING DELICATE DANCE
WITH ONE WEEK LEFT IN IL PLAY

It's important to remember that an oddsmaker's job is to protect his employers from potentially dangerous one-sided action. So, as you evaluate the performance of the betting lines thus far through Interleague Play, keep in mind that the numbers you see on the board every day aren't necessarily'predictions,' but are designed to:

*Avoid one-sided action
*Make the public take the worst of it when they bet
*Keep sharps from making big scores in the event of a bad number

It's possible for the results from a period of time to be wildly in conflict with the Nevada betting odds, but for oddsmakers to be pleased with their performances. It's possible for results to be relatively close to the odds but for sportsbooks to take a loss (say if a basketball or football favorite barely covers and the public was heavy on the favorite...or games are landing close to the number during a period of high pro football teaser activity...and everyone's teasers are cashing).

To this point, here's what we're dealing with in IL play:

*The American League teams have been showing a profit overall (again), but not in a way that's hurting the sportsbooks.

*Public action in baseball is such a small piece of the 12-month pie for sportsbooks that it's not very much on the radar right now except in the occasional TV game, or right when Steven Strasburg starting wowing everyone.

*Sharps have been doing okay in IL games, but are far from'crushing the books' in terms of beating opening numbers.

With a week to go, no harm no foul for everyone involved.

Sure, you could find individuals who had great runs or very poor streaks. In sum, everything's coming out in the wash about the way it's supposed to for the most part.

Do I anticipate any changes in this final week?

*I don't see square action increasing. This past weekend was when we had all the marquee series. These next few days won't be nearly as exciting. There will be some hype next weekend for Yankees-Dodgers in LA and the last round of Cubs/White Sox in the battle of Chicago. The most exciting betting weekend is in the rear view mirror in terms of your average square.

*The American League looks like it picked up its intensity a little bit last weekend, meaning oddsmakers have to be on the lookout for a strong AL finish. Sharps sure are. If the AL is going to close strong, oddsmakers need to charge a penalty for backing that league. Right now that looks to be the biggest danger for sportsbooks. Can they dodge any bullets that are about to be fired?

We're basically at a point on the calendar where it's oddsmakers vs. sharps. The NBA Finals are over. Football doesn't start until August. The down economy took a big hit out of baseball betting last year, and we haven't seen a full recovery yet. Squares will pick their spots for big TV events (weekend TV games or whenever Strasburg faces a top-notch opponent). Sharps will still be looking for value every day, in every game on the board.

When I put my handicapping hat on, these are the games I'm most interested in this week:

Monday-Thursday:
Detroit at NY Mets
St. Louis at Toronto
Atlanta at Chicago White Sox
Boston at Colorado
LA Dodgers at LA Angels

You have several winning teams on that list. The White Sox are losers for the year, but have been performing very well in IL play. They'll provide a good test for the NL East leading Braves. Boston/Colorado has a lot of potential...with the Red Sox being red hot over the last month but Colorado having such a dominant record at home in IL action.

Friday-Sunday:
NY Yankees at LA Dodgers
Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox
Boston at San Francisco
Detroit at Atlanta
Minnesota at NY Mets

Yankees/Dodgers has been special for DECADES! Cubs/White Sox always gets a lot of local interest because there are so many transplanted Chicagoans here in the legal betting capital of the world (especially in the media!). A few more good series matching playoff contenders.

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