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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, April 9, 2018 at 5:21 PM

The Dean of Sports Handicapping is very happy to announce that we'll be expanding class time this spring to allow for TWO presentations per week in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping. In the immediate future, course work will run on Mondays and Fridays rather than just on Wednesdays. That will allow for us to give both Major League Baseball and the NBA Playoffs acceptable coverage. Today we'll talk about baseball. Friday, I'll introduce the 2018 basketball playoffs that will begin Saturday.

Last week we talked about percentages, specifically how to turn any money line into the corresponding win percentage it takes to beat that price. Today, I want to talk about a mistake too many gamblers make regarding their "perception" of percentages.

You've probably heard of "the due theory." Heaven forbid, you may even use "the due theory!" I hope not. That's the theory that says a team is "due" to win because there's no way they could keep losing…or a team is "due" to lose because there's no way they could keep winning. It's usually used by the general public to justify a dumb bet on a favorite that's coming off a loss.

This plays into what we in Las Vegas often call "the gambler's fallacy." If you see that a roulette wheel just had a few "black" numbers come up in a row, the tendency for many bettors is to assume "red" is "due." The problem is, the wheel has no memory. What just happened has no influence one what's about to happen.

In sports…many people not only fall into the trap…but they also think that what just happened WILL influence the next game.

*The team will "bounce back" from a loss
*The coach/manager will yell at the players to get peak performance
*Champions rise to the occasion in a gut-check spot

Sure, "black" or "red" doesn't have a memory, but players and managers do! That's the theory anyway. Sometimes the bounce back or "streak buster" happens. But, it doesn't happen enough in baseball to justify the high prices granted to money line favorites. Lets' say the Los Angeles Dodgers are in a bounce-back spot after a loss. If they're a -200 favorite, they have to win that next game two out of three times to justify the price…meaning they had to win MORE often to justify a bet at that price. Are you confident the Dodgers are THAT sure of a thing to bounce back?

Red or black on a roulette wheel is a bad bet at even money because the green zero's jump up and bite you over time. You can't beat sports by turning it into roulette, particularly if you have to lay -200 or more hoping to get lucky in baseball.

Believe it or not, the best way to bet baseball is to IGNORE recent results. You want to focus on the skills of the players, not fall into the trap of "this guy's hot, that guy's cold, and this pitcher's done well his last few starts but that one hasn't." You tie yourself up in knots using a bunch of different gambler's fallacies!

In other sports, I talk about the importance of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. That's tougher in baseball because one individual can't carry that big an offensive load in any given game. And, the PLAYMAKERS are more often PITCHERS who have the greatest ability to impose their will. Here's what you should focus on.

*The ability of PITCHERS to get STRIKEOUTS
*The ability of PITCHERS to AVOID ALLOWING HOME RUNS
*The ability of BULLPENS to PROTECT LEADS
*The ability of OFFENSES to get RUNNERS ON BASE
*The ability of OFFENSES TO HIT HOME RUNS

If you focus on those five keys, you won't be blinded by what's happened the past few days. In fact, you'll see that what happened the past few days are a direct result of those five key elements…and that what happens TONIGHT will be as well.

*An offense that's yo-yoing between good games and bad is probably facing opposing pitching that alternates between good and bad.

*An offense that's "in a slump" may just be running into a string of elite pitchers (or poor hitting weather, or umpires with a big strike zone).

*An offense that's "red hot" may just be running into a string of mediocre pitchers, or playing some games in great hitter's parks, or hitting in front of umpires with small strike zones.

Riding streaks will disappoint you. Playing the due theory might break you if you're stubborn. But, focusing on the REAL factors that determine who wins and loses will put you in the best position to pick winners at value prices.

If you'd like additional baseball assistance on a daily basis, KELSO STURGEON'S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office by calling office at 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. I do have great rates for extended packages that go through the NBA Playoffs, the MLB all-star break, or the full baseball season.

Thanks very much for your hard work and attendance. Best of luck to you this week in baseball. Our next class get-together will be midday Friday to talk about handicapping the NBA Playoffs. I look forward to seeing you at that time.