Sports Book Scene May 24th 2000

Beating baseball, sports book mergers and more – all in Wed edition

This time of year, the betting crowd thins out, but though volume may be down intensity is still high.

We get emails asking for plays or to recommend tout services, but regular readers know that’s not what this column does.  However, for those betting baseball who do their own handicapping, here are a few general guidelines to help reduce the house edge.

One of the keys to winning at baseball is to be a compulsive box score hound, and to stay on top of injuries to key players.

Case in point, last week Pedro Martinez was –320 at home.  But missing from the Red Sox lineup that day was Nomar Garciaparra.  Betting against Pedro isn’t going to make anyone wealthy, but if he’s vulnerable, it might be when he’s without a big bat in the lineup.

On that day, he got beat 1-0, which was a nice payday for those who took the +280.

All we can do as bettors is look for an edge, i.e., either what we consider an overlay on a dog, or an underlay on a favorite.  It doesn’t guarantee a win, but it gives us a small edge that will pay off over a period of time.  That’s what wiseguys do, and why BMs are not crazy about taking baseball action with a 10-cent line.

Reading box scores and paying attention will help you pick up on emerging players, especially pitchers.  Stats are important, but the line in the paper that shows a pitcher’s last three performances is key.

It’s similar to handicapping horses.  Current form is what you’re interested in.

If you’re going to make profits, you must be willing to take a shot with a live dog more than occasionally.  However, determining a live dog is not easy.  This approach of course requires sound money management.

We don’t bet for a living, so we do not limit our plays to straight bets.  So, we find reverses to be more attractive than parlays.  We rarely put two dogs on a reverse, but sometimes the big payoff is too juicy to turn down.  Obviously, we lose more of these than we win.

Look for run line opportunities, when you can bring a big favorite down to a bettable number.

Trends and Angles.  The other day on the Stardust Line radio show, we heard Steve Fulton of Game Day Sports talking about trends and angles with host John Kelly.  It was a good interview and covered lots of ground.

It reminded us that Fulton’s 2000 Major League Baseball Workbook is one of the tools we regularly use.  It is an excellent source of stats, results from last year, as well as trends and angles.

The pub includes coverage of every game from the previous year, including starting pitcher, home or away, grass or turf, line and total, and the score.

This year’s schedule has each game listed, day by day, with blanks to be filled in by the handicapper.  This provides an ongoing personal handicapping record of the season.

Trends for starting pitchers show in great detail how a team performed for each one.  For instance, Tim Wakefield was 4-1 in home day games last year, 0-3 in home night games.

Betting baseball means paying attention all season long.  This workbook is an essential aid for those players who are committed to being in action almost every day.

For more information, visit or call 1-800-755-4263.

More Info on Recent Major Off Shore SB Acquisition.  The recent acquisition of Costa Rica-based (formerly Global Sports Connection) by, based in the U.K., gives the British bookmaker an additional handle of £100 million annually, according to’s estimates.

The addition of over 31,000 customers, “has provided the company with a platform to establish a loyal customer base across the North and South America,” said’s managing director Mark Blandford.

The acquisition by the British firm is just further confirmation that the off shore industry is an attractive market.  If non-Americans can seize the opportunities, it is a sad commentary on the U.S. government’s position, which tries to exclude its citizens as bettors or as owners/investors.

If there is a message that we would send to our erstwhile politicos, who are so busy looking down their little blue noses at gaming, this is it:  “Hey boys and girls, wake up before the rest of the world steals the marketplace.”  Right now, they are eating our lunch. | May 24th, 2000

– – – – – – – – – – – –About the writer
A long time sports betting columnist, Buzz Daly

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