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Smash Mouth Handicapping
by Scott Spreitzer - 05/29/2006
When you see me on TV talking about sports, or when we discuss strategies in my articles, youâ€™ll hear me use the phrase "smash mouth" handicapping.
You can tell from that phrase that I have a preference for physical teams in football and basketball, and for strong offenses and strong pitchers in baseball. But you know, that's only part of the equation. Taking full advantage of a "smash mouth" approach often means finding teams who are "ready" to be bullied, and going against them.
You don't have to find a powerhouse to back every time they play. You can make money finding somebody like the Kansas City Royals and just go against them every play. A team like that is so bad, that EVERYONE has a "smash mouth" advantage over them.
Now, you're probably thinking that the edge is gone with a team like the Royals. Sure, they lost a ton of games early. But now the lines are so stratospheric against them that there's no value. KC just beat the Yankees in New York the other night as a +3.70 underdog. Bettors playing the Yanks dropped -4.00. It takes a lot of winners to make up for -4.00!
Maybe the edge is gone with the Royals. The jury is still out on whether or not they're really ready to start winning. Today though, I want to talk about a team that might be worse than the Royals right now and nobody's doing anything about it!
Thatâ€™s righ! There's a major league team right now that's been in a prolonged slump which actually registers as worse than what the Royals have been doing this season. That team is the Chicago Cubs.
Thanks to injuries, a lack of offense, and a depressed attitude that seems to have gripped the entire franchise, the Cubs are in a horrendous slump that's lasted the entire month of May. After Saturday afternoon's loss to the Braves, the Cubs had posted a 5-22 record their last 27 games.
How bad is 5-22? Pro-rated out for a full season, that .185 winning percentage equates to a 30-132 won-lost record. Kansas City's loss Saturday afternoon to the Yankees dropped the Royals to 11-36 for the season. That .234 percentage equates to a 38-124 record.
Sure, both are pathetic. But, when was the last time you saw a Cubs' opponent laying -4.00? Nobody's even laying -3.00 or -2.00 against them even though the team has been as bad or worse than the Royals for a month!
Here are the moneylines that backers of Cubs' opponents saw in recent days: -1.20, -1.20, even, even, +1.10, -1.70, -1.85, -1.60, +1.60, +1.10, +1.40, -1.25, pick-em, -1.20.
The high numbers in the middle of the run are from the road series against the White Sox. Think about that for a second; a team playing as badly as the Royals, and the DEFENDING WORLD CHAMPIONS weren't even -2.00 against them. The rest of the lines suggest that the oddsmakers think of the Cubs as a .500 caliber team.
This is why it's our job to find teams like this who are ready to be bullied. You can just keep piling up the profits day after day until the line finally adjusts. Everyone should have seen that the Cubs were ready to be bullied after Derrek Lee got hurt. They had few offensive weapons to begin with. After that, they had limited options for getting runs on the board. The players didn't have much faith in Dusty Baker anyway. You could argue that the team basically went in the tank from that moment onward.
Bettors who anticipated this right off the bat have a 21-5 record to show for it. What was it about the 1-8 road trip in Arizona, San Diego, and San Francisco that anyone could have missed? Since then, the Cubs are 3-11. That means people who waited until after the road trip are still 11-3 going against the Cubs.
If you want to unleash the true power of smash mouth handicapping, find teams like this and bully them for all they're worth!