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Pre-All Star Break Strategies
by Scott Spreitzer - 07/02/2007
*Go against pitchers that have been named to the All-Star team in their final start before the break. It's just amazing how many of these guys start looking ahead to the TV showcase and lose their focus on the task at hand. We're talking about guys with great ERA's suddenly pitching like middle relievers. They're almost universally big favorites too. So, you're getting great payoffs going against guys who are likely to get hit much harder than usual.
Now, I'm not saying that each and every guy named to the All-Star team is going to get rocked. History shows that several do. You're putting the odds in your favor by going against these pitchers. A few will still pitch gems, and you may lose those bets. The underdog payoffs in all the other games will typically more than make up for it.
*Take any pitchers who thought they deserved to go to the All-Star game but didn't get picked! There are usually a couple of guys in each league that fall into this category. They thought they were going to go, but there just wasn't enough room to get all the qualified pitchers on the roster. These guys have something to prove. They often throw one of their best starts of the whole season in the last effort before the break. Their teammates are extra motivated to help the guy out too because they usually think he was robbed. Some of my easiest winners of the whole season come in games like this every year.
*Shade your action against first place teams in the days leading up to the break. Divisional leaders have a natural psychological tendency to take their foot off the gas a bit to save energy for the second half of the season. Seeing the break coming up reminds them that there are still three long months ahead. There's just no reason to breathe fire right now. You can get some great underdog prices going against big name teams in that week leading up to the break. This is particularly true on the weekend right before the break.
*Shade your action toward second and third place teams who want to make a run toward first place before the break. It's funny. It's as if all the runners up realize that the first place teams are relaxing a bit. They kick things up a notch to get as close as they can before the break. If you go back and study past years, you'll see that many of the hottest 10-game runs before the break came from teams in the middle of the pack. For gamblers, this offers great value because the prices are so cheap in those games. You can ride a team that's playing like a champion for prices near pick-em.
*Look very closely for games where more than one of the above factors have lined up. Let's say you've got a snubbed pitcher on a second or third place team who's facing a first place team that may be a little flat. What a great combination! Or, maybe a guy heading to the break for a first place team is going up against a surging team that's just kicked things up a notch. He's likely to get rocked! These strategies are very strong individually. When things line up like that, it's DYNOMITE!
*Add in total selections based on the dynamics in play for the team side you're selecting. If you're going against a big name pitcher before he heads to the all-star break, you'll want to take the Over too. He's going to have a bad outing, and the total will probably be too low. If you think a snubbed guy is going to have a great start, take the Under too. He may throw a shutout, and will likely throw a gem. There's extra money on the table for Under players to collect.
If you're taking a surging runner-up as they make a run before the break, take the Overs too. Surging teams generally win with offense in this sport. It's hard to ask all five of your rotation starters to get hot at the same time. Hot teams are winning with offense. We see this a lot in the history books because of the July temperatures. Warm weather helps hitters and wears out pitchers. Surging summer teams play Overs.
There's plenty of time to map out your strategies before the break gets here. Be sure you take advantage. I can't emphasize this enough. We're talking about time-proven strategies that have been winning consistently ever since baseball became a betting sport! I first heard about some of these systems 15 years ago in my twenties. They worked then and they still work now!