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August 23rd, 2012

The Dog Days Are O-O-Ver……Now Onto The Silly Season

By Robert Ferringo

Welcome to baseball betting’s Silly Season.

The last week of the season in any given football or basketball season is always the worst to try to handicap. The odds are all over the map, you never know who is just mailing it in, and it generally just a mess to try to predict what each team and each player’s motivation is.

The last week of the NBA season is ridiculous, with teams trying to tank their final few games to increase their lottery odds. The NHL season is a mess because everyone is resting for the playoffs. And don’t even get me started on Week 17 in the NFL.

But baseball is the worst. September is essentially a month-long NFL Week 17. Between call-ups, guys getting shut down for the season, teams starting to look forward to the offseason, contenders trying to rest players for the postseason, and all of the other jostling and jockeying that occurs it is brutal for handicappers to try to find a consistent rhythm.

Making matters worse is that baseball odds go completely off the rails over the last five or six weeks of the season. On a given Thursday in May you might have one favorite of -200 or higher, and that’s usually the Yankees and C.C. Sabathia hosting the Royals in the Bronx, or some other similar mismatch. Most of the favorite odds are somewhere between -105 and -160, with the occasional line creeping up in the -175 to -190 range.

But in late August and through September jacked up juice becomes the norm. Soon enough we will be forced to lay -150 on RUNLINE wagers and -300 or -320 moneylines will be routine.

I refer to all of this as The Silly Season. And it is here.

There is just nine games on the board today. Yet two of the games – Verlander and Detroit against Toronto and Jake Westbrook (!) and St. Louis hosting Houston – have the home favorite at -300 or higher on a straight play and at -145 or higher on the -1.5 runline. Two other teams (Tampa Bay, Texas) are at -175 or higher despite the fact that they are trotting out Alex Cobb (Tampa) and what used to be Roy Oswalt (Texas). For the record, Cobb’s ERA is a hearty 4.74 and Oswalt’s is a comical 6.04.

The books are just BEGGING bettors to take the underdogs in these games. They have completely priced out the top teams and this is the way it is going to be for the next six weeks. It is awful. And this forces bettors to either swallow hard, lay the fat juice, and hope all is well, to jump on the bandwagon of a team like the Astros or Rockies, or to try to make hay be getting involved in gross series like Cleveland-Minnesota or San Diego-Miami. None of that is appealing.

There will still be some high-value spots over the next few weeks. But they are going to be much fewer and further between and there will be a lot less of them. I hate The Silly Season. But once again, it is here.

(I guess the silver lining is that The Silly Season also means one other thing: FOOTBALL IS GETTING STARTED!)

Posted at 10:06 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 21st, 2012

Emmel Update: Finally Goes ‘Under’

By Robert Ferringo

Paul Emmel has been putting forth one of the most incredible runs I’ve ever seen in baseball. Coming into today Emmel had gone 22-1 against the total on the season, including a stretch of 15 straight games going ‘over’.

I wrote about Emmel back in July when he was at 19-1 and he had continued to watch the totals in his games inexplicably sail ‘over’. Emmel’s exploits finally caught on with some more “mainstream” sources, including R.J. Bell at Pregame and the Eye on Baseball blog over at CBS Sports. (According to EOB, Bell projected the odds on Emmel’s 21-1 start at 182,361-to-1.

But on Tuesday Emmel finally saw one of his games come up short, as Kansas City and Tampa Bay played ‘under’ in a 1-0 snoozer. Having David Price on the hill certainly helped. But even pathetic Luke Hochevar spun eight innings of one-hit ball with 10 strikeouts.

All told, there were just seven hits and four walks in the 10-inning game. Of the 277 pitches, 179 of them were strikes (64.6 percent) and there were 22 combined strikeouts.

Those peripheral numbers for that game really aren’t that surprising. Emmel is an ‘under’ ump. And that is why I expect a significant regression from him not just the rest of this season but also into next year. Even this season, while Emmel was on a record-setting pace, he was calling 63 percent of pitches strikes. The MLB average is somewhere around 62.3 so he was a couple standard deviations away from the mean anyway. His walks-per-game were around 6.6, which is a little high but nothing off the charts. And his 2.2 K-to-BB is right around average.

This situation is just another example of how baseball is a funny game. Despite its impeccable statistical construction there are still anomalies that take place. And these are the situations that handicappers live for. I know I will be looking to bet Emmel hard on the ‘under’ over the next 12 months or so as the universe tries to balance itself out.

Posted at 8:24 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 17th, 2012

Breaking News: Boston and Houston Suck…But It Has Nothing To Do With Their Managers

By Robert Ferringo

We’re almost to the silly season in Major League Baseball betting but we are definitely in the scapegoat season

Brad Mills was forced to walk the plank for the Astros on Friday, fired along with his hitting coach and first base coach. (How the third base coach avoided the pogrom, I’ll never know.) Mills’ Astros are on pace for nearly 110 losses just one season after going 56-106. They have a move to the American League pending for next year, which means things are going to get a hell of a lot worse before they get better.

Several thousand miles away Bobby Valentine was undergoing a different sort of coup. The Red Sox are 59-63 and are 13 games out of first place. This team is dead in the water and will not be mounting any type of wild stretch run to get back into the postseason picture. As such, the Boston clubhouse is cannibalizing itself and the giddy local media is reaping the benefits. The latest seventh grade-level “controversy” is about exactly who texted what to upper management last month in an attempt to hang Valentine out to dry over the state of the clubhouse.

But here is the reality:

Houston’s roster is Triple-A caliber. They don’t have a single player making over $1 million and right now their best power hitter is probably Jed Lowrie. That is not a joke. Neither is the fact that they are trotting out Bud Norris (5.19), Dallas Keuchel (4.99) and Jordan Lyles (5.70) as the “aces” of their rotation. The Astros were the worst team in baseball last year and in the offseason they actually made moves to make themselves worse. And during the trade season they traded off any halfway decent players they had. It’s not rocket science: this team is pathetic, the organization is off the rails, and Houston looks like it is headed for at least a decade of misery.

Boston sucks because they are trotting out Aaron Cook every fifth day. What’s worse, right now Cook is a better option than Jon Lester (5.03) and Josh Beckett (5.23), the two stars of last year’s meltdown who are just mailing it in at this point. The Red Sox have the fifth-worst starters’ ERA in the league and I don’t see help on the horizon.

But who couldn’t have seen Boston’s struggles coming? This team seriously went into Spring Training with Carlos Silva vying for the No. 5 starters slot. I mean, how did they think this season was going to end?

The bottom line is that these two teams are both dead sticks. Houston is one of the worst teams I’ve ever seen because their roster is that of a minor league team. Boston is a paper tiger because their players quit in July. There may not be a ton of value left betting against these teams the rest of the season. But I know I will be looking for any opportunity I get to make their incompetence pay out.

Posted at 8:22 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 9th, 2012

NFL Betting Report: Where Is The Money Going In Week 1

By Robert Ferringo

Here is a look at how the money, in terms of percent of wagers placed and not actual total dollars bet, is coming in on the NFL Week 1 Preseason games:

Washington (-2) at Buffalo = 55 percent on Washington

New Orleans (+3) at New England = 72 percent on New England

Pittsburgh (+1) at Philadelphia = 52 percent on Philly

Baltimore (+1.5) at Atlanta = 55 percent on Atlanta (73 percent on ‘under’)

Green Bay (+1) at San Diego = 50 percent split (68 percent on ‘over’)

Denver (+3) at Chicago = 67 percent on Chicago

Tampa Bay (+2.5) at Miami = 75 percent on Miami

New York Jets (+1.5) at Cincinnati = 60 percent on Cincy

Cleveland (+3) at Detroit = 72 percent on Detroit; 76 percent on ‘over’

New York Giants (+2.5) at Jacksonville = 64 percent on Jags

Arizona (+2.5) at Kansas City = 52 percent on Arizona

Minnesota (+3) at San Francisco = 69 percent on Niners (and Reverse Line Movement)

Houston (+2) at Carolina = 60 percent on Carolina; 82 percent on ‘over’ Tennessee (+3) at Seattle = 75 percent on Seattle

St. Louis (-1) at Indianapolis = 61 percent on St. Louis

Dallas (+1.5) at Oakland = 59 percent on Dallas; 87 percent on ‘over’ is most skewed total of the week

Robert Ferringo is a professional handicapper and has posted back-to-back profitable seasons (college and pro). Robert has turned a profit in three of four football seasons and over the last nine months his clients have earned nearly $10,000 in profit with his football selections. He is looking forward to building on his stellar football handicapping resume again this fall and you can check him out here. Also, you can also get $60 worth of free Robert Ferringo member picks (no salesman, no credit card, no obligation!) by clicking here for more info.

Posted at 11:04 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 9th, 2012

NFL Preseason Betting Tips: 2012 Week 1 Preseason Betting Trends

By Robert Ferringo

Here are several key trends to keep an eye on for this weekend’s preseason games and some tips that may help you to win in betting the NFL preseason:

1. Washington head coach Mike Shanahan is 12-5-1 ATS in his first preseason game. (Washington is 4-1 ATS in its last five season openers.)

2. Chan Gailey is 4-14 straight up and 5-13 ATS in the preseason.

3. Bill Belichick is 8-1-3 ATS in his first preseason game during his tenure with the Patriots.

4. Andy Reid is 3-9-1 ATS in his last 13 preseason openers and 0-7 ATS in the last seven.

5. The ‘under’ is 2-11 in Baltimore’s first preseason game.

6. Green Bay is 5-14 straight up and 6-12-1 ATS on the road against AFC teams in the preseason.

7. San Diego is 8-4 against the total in their first preseason game of the season.

8. Denver is 13-2-1 ATS when they play on the road in Game 1 and they are 17-6-1 ATS in their first preseason game overall. (But remember: most of those wins came under Shanahan.)

9. The ‘over’ is 6-2 in Game 1 for Chicago under Lovie Smith.

10. Tampa Bay is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games against the Dolphins. The two teams are 2-7 against the total.

11. Jacksonville is 12-3-1 ATS in its last 16 preseason games against the NFC.

12. The Chiefs are 1-7-1 SU and 1-8 ATS when they play their preseason opener at home. Kansas City is 5-19-1 SU and 4-21 ATS against the NFC in the preseason.

13. St. Louis is 11-1 SU and ATS against the AFC, and 8-3 against the total in those games.

14. They Colts have lost eight straight preseason home openers both SU and ATS, but that is mostly because Jim Caldwell and Tony Dungy were notorious for not caring about the preseason.

Robert Ferringo is a professional handicapper and has posted back-to-back profitable seasons (college and pro). Robert has turned a profit in three of four football seasons and over the last nine months his clients have earned nearly $10,000 in profit with his football selections. He is looking forward to building on his stellar football handicapping resume again this fall and you can check him out here. Also, you can also get $60 worth of free Robert Ferringo member picks (no salesman, no credit card, no obligation!) by clicking here for more info.

Posted at 7:55 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 8th, 2012

Doc’s Sports Newsletter - Weekend of Aug. 8-12

Here is a look at some of the things going on at The Mothership this weekend:

Here is this weekend’s Top Games from our handicappers:

THURSDAY

Robert Ferringo – 12-Units of College Football Futures (7-Unit and 5-Unit Plays; CLICK HERE)

FRIDAY

Allen Eastman – 6-Unit MLB Game of the Month (CLICK HERE)

Vegas Sports Informer – 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week (CLICK HERE)

Jason Sharpe – 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week (CLICK HERE)

Vegas Sports Informer – 5-Unit MLS Soccer Game of the Week (CLICK HERE)

SATURDAY

Strike Point Sports – 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week (CLICK HERE)

Robert Ferringo will be releasing his first football selections of the season this Thursday and his NFL Preseason predictions will be accompanied by one of his largest football plays ever. Robert is releasing a 7-Unit and a 5-Unit College Football Futures Play this weekend. The two plays are on the same team, meaning that he has 12 Units wagered against one school this fall! You will get those futures plays for free along with his weekend picks. Robert has produced a profit in five straight Augusts and is one of the top preseason handicappers in the sport. He has collected nearly $10,000 in overall football profit for his clients over the last nine months that he has had football selections and is setting up for a great season. Also, Robert has been rolling on the diamond, picking up over $6,000 in profit over the last two months and notching five of seven winning baseball nights. Robert has more than quadrupled his clients’ bankrolls over the last 24 months (all sports) and is one of the best in the business. Get on board today!

Allen Eastman has exploded with a 23-8 burst with his baseball predictions and is loading up his bankroll for another big football season. Eastman nailed his 5-Unit Game of the Week on Sunday and is going to follow that up with a 6-Unit MLB Game of the Month on Friday. Eastman has been dynamite lately and you can get this play for just $30. He is also just weeks away from the first plays from his incomparable NFL 411 System. The NFL 411 System has hit 63 percent winners over the last four years and has been responsible for nearly $10,000 in profit during that stretch. Eastman has won in the NFL in 14 of the last 18 seasons and this one promises to be his best effort yet. Sign up today and let his 23 years of gambling experience pay big dividends for you!

Jason Sharpe is back on an upswing on the diamond and after four of five winning nights he is lining up to collect his eighth profitable baseball week in the last 10 that he has had predictions. Sharpe is going with a 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week on Friday and he has been strong with his big plays in all sports over the last 12 months. This is one that you don’t want to miss out on! Sharpe also picked up an easy winner in the Hall of Fame Game last week and is now 13-4 with his NFL Preseason selections over the last two years. Sharpe is on the hunt for his third straight winning overall football season and will have two more preseason selections this weekend. Sharpe has done his best work early in the year, going 57-34 in the first two months of the year (August and September) since 2010. Take advantage of our Early Bird Specials and sign up with him now.

The Vegas Sports Informer has yet another big, all-sport weekend planned and is ready to really ramp things up. It will get started with a play in the Olympic Men’s Soccer gold medal game and VSI is looking to wrap up a profitable summer in two world tournaments (Euro 2012 was the other) before releasing 5-Unit MLS Game of the Week this weekend. The Informer will also have a 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week on Friday and he is ripe to turn things around after a down run lately on the diamond. Last year VSI had an amazing run to close out the season and he is looking for another strong stretch push. And for the first time since 2006, VSI will be releasing his NFL Preseason selections (two NFLX plays this week). He will have a full card this weekend that will also include his top college and NFL futures selections. Purchase a weekly, monthly or full season package and collect along side a true Las Vegas insider.

Strike Point Sports is ready to get the NFL party started with their first preseason predictions of the year. SPS showed a profit in NFL exhibition play last year and is chomping at the bit to get this season started. They brought home a sensational $7,000 in total pro football profit last year and they are looking forward to picking up where they left off on the gridiron. They will also have their college and pro futures plays available with their preseason weekend selections. SPS is lining up another 5-Unit MLB Game of the Week this weekend and they have at least one more big push in them to close what has been a profitable season to date. Sign up today and play along with one of the most underrated handicapping groups in the nation!

Indian Cowboy has had some of his personal best seasons over the last 12 months (NBA, WNBA, college hoops) and is looking forward to posting his best football season ever this fall. He has released a free NFL futures play that is available by clicking HERE and he is just a few weeks away from his first picks of the year. IC is also on the rebound with his baseball selections. He has turned things around so far this week with winners on Monday and Tuesday and he will continue his consistent one-play-per-day approach through the weekend. IC is also headed for a bounce back week in the CFL. He hit his lone play on Monday with an easy, easy totals winner and he won’t be satisfied with anything other than a perfect CFL weekend. Finally, in just nine days the WNBA is back in business and IC ended the first half of the season on a 6-1 run. Sign up today with this consistent handicapper.


Free MLB Baseball Prediction From
Indian Cowboy:
Take ‘Under’ San Diego vs. Pittsburgh (7 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 11)

Although the line is not out yet, the line is going to shape up the following way: the public is going to hammer Burnett and the Pirates at home as Burnett has been anchor for this team throughout the season with McDonald, Karstens and Bedard being questionable down the stretch run with potential second half fatigue. But Burnett, maybe with his time in the American League or with the Yankees, has developed a lot of grit as a player and is coming on strong in the second half including 4 straight wins with 4 straight quality starts and 3 of those coming on the road at that. Combine that with Marquis who will get up for this matchup, and has won 4 out of his last 5 starts himself, I like this game to likely go under the posted total as both pitchers will likely have quality efforts here and this is also a decent public fade as well. I will provide more trends when they become more available as this will be my comp selection on the daily video on Saturday.

Posted at 11:23 pm | Permalink | Comments (0)
August 6th, 2012

NFL Preseason Betting Tips: Handicapping Coach ATS Records

By Robert Ferringo

Coaches set the temp for their football teams in the NFL. From offseason workouts to how they handle the media to the approach in Training Camp, NFL coaches set the tone and tenor for their teams. When handicapping the NFL Preseason the first factor that you need to take into account is each coach’s approach to these exhibition situations.

Some coaches take a militant, serious approach to these August gathers. They may want to set a winning tone for a season. Or some new coaches want to send a message to the fan base and front office that they are the Right Man For The Job and that the team is headed in the right direction.

But some other coaches don’t care about these meaningless games. Their primary goal may just be to keep their team healthy or to rest their veterans.

Understanding coaching motivation is a critical NFL preseason betting tip. Here is a breakdown of each of the current NFL coaches with their career records against the spread:

WIN AT ALL COST – Best Bets

Washington (Mike Shanahan) – 46-22

Pittsburgh (Mike Tomlin) – 16-5

Detroit (Jim Schwartz) – 10-2

Baltimore (John Harbaugh) – 11-5

St. Louis (Jeff Fisher) – 31-25

New England (Bill Belichick) – 28-22

*New Orleans (Sean Payton) – 28-22

Tennessee (Mike Munchak) – 3-1

CARE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT – Will Have Their Guys Prepared

Denver (John Fox) – 21-19

San Diego (Norv Turner) – 15-13

Houston (Gary Kubiak) – 13-11

FLIP A COIN – The Jury Is Still Out; Depends On Their Situation

New York Giants (Tom Coughlin) – 16-16

Green Bay (Mike McCarthy) – 12-12

Kansas City (Romeo Crennel) – 8-8

New York Jets (Rex Ryan) – 6-6

Dallas (Jason Garrett) – 2-2

Minnesota (Leslie Frazier) – 2-2

San Francisco (Jim Harbaugh) – 2-2

LAIDBACK LOSERS – Who Needs A Game Plan? Let’s Wing It

Chicago (Lovie Smith) – 16-17

Cincinnati (Marvin Lewis) – 18-19

Carolina (Ron Rivera) – 1-3

Cleveland (Pat Shurmur) – 1-3

Jacksonville (Mike Mularkey) – 3-5

Seattle (Pete Carroll) – 3-5

WAKE ME IN WEEK 1 – These Guys Are Mailing It In

Atlanta (Mike Smith) – 6-10

Arizona (Ken Whisenhunt) – 7-13

Buffalo (Chan Gailey) – 4-14

Philadelphia (Andy Reid) – 21-31

ROOKIES – They Always Have Something To Prove

Indianapolis (Chuck Pagano) – 0-0

Miami (Joe Philbin) – 0-0

Oakland (Dennis Allen) – 0-0

Tampa Bay (Greg Schiano) – 0-0

Robert Ferringo is a professional handicapper and has posted back-to-back profitable seasons (college and pro). Robert has turned a profit in three of four football seasons and over the last nine months his clients have earned nearly $10,000 in profit with his football selections. He is looking forward to building on his stellar football handicapping resume again this fall and you can check him out here. Also, you can also get $60 worth of free Robert Ferringo member picks (no salesman, no credit card, no obligation!) by clicking here for more info.

Posted at 11:23 pm | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 24th, 2012

College Football Odds And Futures Influenced By Sharps

By Robert Ferringo

Over the weekend I saw a really interesting article over at Covers today about the Las Vegas Hilton college football odds that were released the other day. The Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Superbook (aka The Hilton) was the third Vegas establishment, after Cantor Gaming and the Golden Nugget, to release numbers for the upcoming college football season.

Basically, the college football betting market is being set. As these books start to release their numbers the offshore books will follow suit and piggyback off the best oddsmakers in the world and release their own numbers.

The article, written by Teddy Sevransky, posits his theory about Phil Steele’s influence on the early betting and even how the books shift their odds. Even he admits that it is a little bit of a conspiracy theory but I actually do think that there is merit to what he is saying. Steele is a legend in the industry and his college football preview magazine is a “appointment reading” for every wiseguy and wannabe wiseguy college football bettor in the country.

In a lot of ways, the Steele Effect is not so different from what we see with the ESPN Effect. Basically, just like ESPN and its tribe of bobbleheads are the single biggest influence on the general sports betting public. And whichever way they are swaying people’s opinions about certain teams, players and games, the books have to adjust on the other side in order to stay ahead of where they know the action is coming in.

It’s no different with Steele. He says he likes USC and that they are his pick to play in the national championship game and voila, all of a sudden bettors are looking to lay down action on USC 2012 college football futures odds. The books can either shift their numbers in anticipation of the inevitable rush of money or they can wait and react as the market maneuvers. More often than not they are going to stay out in front of the betting.

And we’re not just talking about the college football futures odds and predictions. Steele’s opinions also appear to have had an impact on how the college football odds for individual games shifted after they opened.

Anyway, I thought the article was worth a read. You can CLICK HERE to take a look.

Posted at 12:47 am | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 23rd, 2012

MLB Betting: Umpire Emmel The Best Bet In The Game

By Robert Ferringo

The best bet in baseball this year hasn’t been R.A. Dickey. It hasn’t been the upstart underdog in Baltimore (+1600), Oakland (+1700) or Pittsburgh (+2200). No, the best bet in baseball this year has been Paul Emmel.

Who?

Umpire Paul Emmel is an absolutely astounding 19-1 against the total this year when he is working behind home plate. Emmel has gone ‘over’ the total a stunning 14 straight times, including his last time behind the dish which was Sunday in a 7-4 win by the Angels against the Rangers.

Emmel has seen an average of 11.5 runs per game in his 20 games behind the dish this season. And in all of my years of tracking umpire performance (I began, in earnest, in 2007, but researched back to 2004) I have never seen a run like the one that Emmel is presently on. His last five games have blasted ‘over’ their posted totals by nearly four runs per game.

But what is most astounding about Emmel’s run is that his peripheral statistics don’t at all support what he has accomplished. His strike percentage is 62.8 for the season. That is a touch high of the MLB average (which is around 62.5) but is still within a standard range. Also, his strikeout-to-walk ratio is a perfectly average 2.09. So it’s not as if Emmel is calling things tight and shackling the pitchers with an unduly small zone.

Futher, last year Emmel had a much tighter strike zone. He as only calling 61.7 percent of pitches strikes – which is an extremely small zone – and his K-to-BB ratio was a hitter-friendly 1.9-to-1.

But despite those numbers, Emmel went just 10-14 against the total.

Prior to 2011 I would have dubbed Emmel a “pitcher’s ump”. In 2010 he called 64.2 percent strikes and was at 2.6-to-1 K-to-BB. (He went 15-17 against the total.) He was also over 63.5 percent strikes and 2.4 K-to-BB in both 2007 and 2008. When I saw his name set to call a game I would immediately dig a little deeper and see if the situation warranted a play on the ‘under’. In fact, at times during 2007 and 2008 he was nearly an automatic ‘under’ unless I could find some reason not to play the total at all.

But this is the perfect illustration of why gamblers can’t solely rely on umpire information to bet on Major League totals: there is not a strong enough correlation between their statistics and their performance against the sportsbooks. This is a lesson that it has taken me years to learn, and even now I may still be too reliant on umpire handicapping and totals betting in my baseball betting portfolio.

It is Monday, which means the opening game in baseball series. As such, I don’t know where Emmel and his crew will be this week. However, unless he’s involved in a four-game series he will miss a turn through no matter where he is stationed. Then, again, this weekend we won’t know where he is for Game 1 until about 30 minutes prior to opening pitch. And it will be interesting to see if his appearance will have any impact on the MLB odds.

(Umpires rotate from home to third to second to first to home. Umpire rotations aren’t announced prior to series, but you can dig around and find out who is behind home plate about 30 minutes before Game 1 of a series. After that it is easy because whoever is at first base in Game 1 will be behind the plate in Game 2, and whoever is on second base in Game 1 will be behind the plate in Game 3.)

So we will most likely have to wait until Friday to see if Emmel can continue his incredible ‘over’ streak. The match and the metrics suggest that he cannot. In fact, Emmel should be due for a heavy regression and several ‘under’ games in a row. But who knows. It’s baseball. And the number one rule, above all else, is never bet against the streak.

Posted at 12:50 pm | Permalink | Comments (0)
July 20th, 2012

Brutal Beat Sinks SPS GOTY - But I’ve Still Lost Worse

By Robert Ferringo

Brutal.

Just absolutely brutal.

Strike Point Sports had their 7-Unit National League Game of the Year go down in flames tonight thanks to Washington blowing a 9-0 lead, at home, against Atlanta. The Nationals lost 11-10 in 11 innings despite the fact that they led 9-0 going into the top of the sixth, 9-4 heading into the top of the eighth and still 9-8 with three outs to go in the ninth.

That is as gut-wrenching of a loss as you will find at any time. But to lose a Game of the Year and a monster play in that fashion is the nightmare scenario for any bettor or handicapper.

But that’s gambling.

The guys at SPS were handling it about as well as you can – lots of alcohol and anger. And I was able to let them know that not only able to empathize with their plight but that their unfortunate loss still didn’t top the dual groin shots that I took in 2009.

Whenever people tell stories about gambling, be it poker or sports betting, it inevitably turns into a can-you-top-this story about bad beats and horrific losses. It’s a certainty.and that’s exactly what I’m going to do here to try to add some levity to Washington’s collapse.

In 2009 I lost not one, but two Game of the Year-level plays to the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles lost 98 games that year but pulled absurd comebacks to foil my top play not once, but twice that season. Those two losses will haunt me for the rest of my life and are further proof that Jesus f@#king hates me.

The first loss was on May 27, 2009. It was a day game and the final game in a three-game set between the teams. Baltimore had won the first two games of the series but Toronto was able to come back with Roy Halladay in the finale. Not only had Halladay absolutely dominated the Orioles in his career (at that point he was 19-4 in his 23 starts against them) but his opponent was the perpetually awful Rich Hill. Hill was a disaster, the Jays mashed lefties that year, and we could get Halladay at -150. It was a steal.

And it started out that way. Toronto scored in the first inning and erupted for six runs in the fourth to chase Hill and take a 7-2 lead. It was 8-3 going into the bottom of the eighth when things started to unravel. First, the Jays pulled Halladay after just 102 pitches and seven innings. They didn’t even let him start the eighth inning and – sure enough – Baltimore scored five times in the bottom of the frame to tie it up.

But the worse indignity came in the 11th. Toronto scored two times in the top of the inning to take a 10-8 lead. But I didn’t feel good about it at all. And, sure enough, Nolan Reimold hit a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the 11th to sink that huge play.

Losing a big play like that once – especially to just a pathetic, do-nothing team headed toward nearly 100 losses – is bad enough. But it happened twice.

Flash forward a little over a month later. It is now June 30, 2009 and the Red Sox are in town. Boston was heading toward 95 wins that year and they absolutely owned the Orioles. They were sending John Smoltz to the mound to make his second start for them, and Smoltz had looked really sharp in his debut a week earlier. I knew he was 100 percent but the books and a lot of bettors were still shy about him because he had been gone for so long (it had been a year-and-a-half or so).

Once again that pathetic mess Rich Hill was on the mound facing a team that destroys left-handed pitching. Once again the books had shorted the line, only posting the Sox at -115 because of the uncertainty surrounding Smoltz’s return.

And once again Hill didn’t make it out of the fourth inning.

The Red Sox demolished that loser, taking a 9-1 lead after scoring five in the fourth inning. The Red Sox tacked on another one in the 7th to make it a 10-1 laugher.

Then it happened. Again.

Let’s back up. Smotlz was awesome in this game. One Orioles writer had posted in a blog that through the first two innings they were convinced this was going to be a no-hitter. However, there was an hour-long rain delay after the fourth inning, with the Sox up 9-1. When play resumed the Red Sox didn’t send Smoltz back out there, instead opting with young reliever Justin Masterson. Masterson retired the first six batters he faced but the rain had forced the Sox into their bullpen prematurely.

Sure enough, Baltimore scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut it to 10-6 and then they came back and scored five in the bottom of the ninth to win the game 11-10 and to sink my American League Game of the Year.

It was the largest comeback in Baltimore history and it was the greatest comeback of any last place team against a first place team, according to these dicks. According to Fangraphs, after the seventh inning the Orioles had less than a 0.5 percent chance of winning that game. But they won.

I always say that I am the best handicapper with the worst luck, and that the only way I lose big plays is through these type of just ridiculous, absurd, nonsensical ways. And it’s true. I don’t remember too many GOTY plays that I just bombed or just completely missed, but I can think of a dozen or so that were nearly as gut-wrenching as these two.

So chin-up, Strike Point Sports and all of you that had money on the Nationals tonight. That loss was awful (and I feel even worse because I actually had Atlanta!) but it could be worse. (And in gambling, if you just give it a minute it usually is.

Posted at 11:59 pm | Permalink | Comments (0)