The Betting Corner: Baseball Season – Easy $

cutch

 

It’s that time of year again. With spring training underway, March Madness right around the corner, and NBA/NHL playoffs in our near future, it’s a great time to be a sports fan.

 

But with all of this looming, the date I’ve circled on my calendar is April 1. No, not because of April Fools. April 1 marks opening day for the 2013 MLB season (technically Texas plays host to Houston on March 31 but for all intents and purposes, we’re not really counting Houston as a “professional” team this year, but I’ll get to that later).

 

For the purposes of this blog we’ll be 100 percent focused on baseball games, stats, trends, streaks, match-ups ─ anything and everything related to America’s pastime. Oh yeah, and for all you degenerate gamblers out there, we’ll be doing this from a Vegas perspective. I’ve been able to hold my own in the past few seasons betting MLB sides/totals and I enjoy putting my opinion into words. Put two and two together and that sounds like a solid daily blog to me.

 

Every pick posted on this blog I will play myself with my own money. I apologize in advance if write-ups or plays are delayed in being posted. I do work full-time as a financial advisor and that’s priority  number one. But enough behind the scenes details, let’s get into the first bets you can make this offseason.

 

First off, if you’ve got the itch to bet on spring training games, well… don’t. Baseball is different than any other sport when it comes to preseason action. As a general rule (and I realize this doesn’t apply for EVERY player), a large handful of individuals playing after the fifth inning of most games won’t even be on the opening day roster (especially EARLY in spring training). You may as well take your leans to the roulette table for some better odds.

 

Something a little more reasonable is betting MLB futures and season win totals. I tend to stay away from most futures (i.e. Los Angeles Angels at 7/1 to win the World Series) because trying to single out one team of 30 to hit its year-end goal is difficult. Again, with those odds, I’ll stick to roulette. I do however, see a lot of potential value in season win totals.

Vegas gives us more of a 50-50 split by setting a line for the total wins a team will have at the end of the season.

I’ve been researching the free agent market, trades, acquisitions, manager and division moves for the last few months and I’ve concluded the following five preseason bets hold the most value.

 

As a side note, one of the most important keys to sports betting is being able to manage a bankroll. A general rule of thumb is one unit equates to 1% of your bankroll. If you’ve set aside $5,000 for this season, your unit would be $50 (seems like a lot to set aside but you need to be able to survive the bad runs, as they WILL come). For me, one unit is $100. Most all of my plays will be one-unit plays. I will occasionally release a 0.5- unit play (for example if there was heavy movement on my play in the wrong direction, I may still bet it, but at less money. You’ll see an example of this as you keep reading.)

 

Very rarely will I ever bet a 1.5 or two-unit play. You can think of them as a game of the week and game of the month respectively. In no way however, will I upgrade a play to a 1.5 or two-unit play just because I haven’t had one in awhile. But I digress.

 

The first play I see value in is the Atlanta Braves over 87.5 -110 (Las Vegas Hilton) *1.0 unit*. 

I’ll start by saying this: yes, I agree Chipper Jones is a huge loss from a clubhouse leader standpoint. Chipper did hit .287 last year while sporting a .830 OPS (both above league averages). But that’s about all they lost from last year’s 94-68 club.

Acquiring the Upton brothers to go along with Jason Heyward has given them as good an outfield as any. A solid pitching core lies behind veteran Tim Hudson with young guns Kris Medlen and Mike Minor and is anchored by one of the best closers in MLB in Craig Kimbrel. Don’t quite hand the Washington Nationals the NL East title yet, as I see this Braves team a solid World Series contender come October and a shoe-in to win 90-plus games this year.

 

Second, we’ll be going with the Cleveland Indians over 77 -110 (LV Hilton) *1.5 units*.

Outside of the Detroit Tigers, who represented the American League in the World Series last year, this division is WIDE OPEN. And in my opinion, Cleveland has done the most this offseason. Nick Swisher, Drew Stubbs and Michael Bourn will all contribute greatly to a team that was in the bottom third in the league in runs scored last year (22nd at 667). Justin Masterson and Ubaldo Jimenez are key factors to this teams success and I believe they will both have positive years reflective of their career stats. But the big key for me making this a 1.5 unit play is Terry Francona (yes I am, and will remain a Boston Red Sox fan, regardless of the downward spiral they’ve been on). Tito will be able to rally his fresh and talented team around established Cleveland stars such as Asdrubal Cabrera and Carlos Santana. Look for them to be a above-.500 team and make a little more noise than expected in this wide-open division.

 

Third is the AAA-caliber Houston Astros under 59.5 -110 (LV Hilton) *1.0 unit*.

They’ve BEEN bad. They ARE bad. They will CONTINUE TO BE bad and possibly even GET worse. This team’s biggest and only major acquisition during the offseason was the signing of 1B Carlos Pena. Really? That’s your big signing Houston? In 2012,

Pena had 497 official at-bats. He hit .197, had 19 HRs (his lowest total since 2003; with the exception of his shortened ’05 and ’06 seasons) and a staggering 182 strikeouts. Yeah, no typo,182 strikeouts (third-worst in the league). That’s more than a strikeout per three at-bats (36.6% to be exact). And if that’s your best, I’m not going to even get into the worst. Not only that, but trading ace Wandy Rodriguez around last year’s trade deadline didn’t help a whole lot either. A realistic goal for this team would be to win a third of its games (54- 108). Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the biggest key of all. They’re leaving the watered down National League to join the stacked AL West (in my opinion, the most top-heavy division in baseball). The Astros will be etching their names into the record books this year with their third consecutive season with (well) over 100 losses.

 

These last two piggyback off Houston’s atrociousness. The first is the Pittsburgh

Pirates under 77 -110 (LV Hilton) *0.5 Units*.

I lay it at 0.5 units because I liked it at 79, but that line was first released by the Atlantis Casino in Reno, Nev., and ain’t nobody got time (or the desire) to travel to Reno, Nev. and since then it’s dropped to 77. But anyways, oh yeah, the Pirates. They’re noHouston by any means, but they will definitely suffer from not being able to beat up onthe Astros in the NL Central (they went 12-5 against them in 2012). The Pirates haven’t won more than 79 games since they were three outs away from the World Series in 1992 (96 wins). I don’t see that trend changing here. They have a  few solid pitchers and it’s hard not to mention MVP candidate Andrew McCutchen, but when you’re only superior within your division to a team who’s underachieved for over a century (yes, I’m talking to you Cubs fans), that’s not much to brag about. Don’t forget they also lost all-star closer Joel Hanrahan (fifth in the NL last year with 36 saves) to Boston and are relying on journeyman Jason Grilli to fill the void. If you can find this line at at 79 or more, bump it to a unit. 75.5-78.5 take it at 0.5. Anything less than that and it’s a no bet for me.

 

Last but not least is the Seattle Mariners over 77 -125 (BookMaker) *1 unit*.

I haven’t bet this one yet as I’m still shopping around. I don’t like the -125 vig at BookMaker but the line was “over 78.5 at the Hilton at -110” so I’m thinking that juice may be worth it for the extra game-and-a-half leeway. In a nutshell, all of the AL West is going to benefit from the laughingstock of the league that is the Houston Astros. I personally don’t believe the Oakland Athletics will have as much success as they did last year.

They’re still a third-place finish for me behind division juggernauts L.A. and Texas, but not by much. Seattle was still able to win 75 games last year even though they were in a four-team league and those other three teams won 94, 93 and 89 games apiece. Signing King Felix to a 7–year, $175 million extension will likely lock him in Seattle for his career. Other notable acquisitions this offseason include Michael Morse from Washington and Kendrys Morales from the Angels. Even veteran signings of Jason Bay and Raul Ibanez have a low–risk, high-reward potential to them. Behind a solid pitching staff and rising stars such as Jesus Montero, Seattle will surprise a lot of naysayers this year and be a legitimate threat in the coming years to an already stacked division.

 

Hope that gives you a little insight to what’s gone on this winter and an idea of what you can expect come this summer. Check back for sporadic updates this spring and expect daily posts once April rolls around . Enjoy this year’s MLB season and good luck to you if you take to the books.

 

 

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Jeremy Murray
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Rice, Rice Baby

Dave Rice

After years of mediocrity or worse, the recent re-emergence of the UNLV basketball program is a surprise to younger college basketball fans who are unaware of the program’s dominance in the early ‘90s.

It all started with a move that appeared to be a deflating blow. Then-head coach Lon Kruger left the Runnin’ Rebels to take Oklahoma’s head job. Many feared Kruger’s departure was a loss from which UNLV would be unable to recover. However, UNLV athletic director saw it as an opportunity.

The loss of Kruger developed into the greatest thing to happen to UNLV basketball since the ‘90s. In the hiring Dave Rice, a member of the 1990 UNLV national championship team and then an assistant at BYU , came the restoration of the history and pride that UNLV had been lacking.

Rice arrived at UNLV with the goal of this being his ultimate head coaching position. With that mentality he was able to instantly gain the trust and love of Runnin’ Rebel fans. Rice continually preached his philosophy of the runnin’ and gunnin’ style that was successful in the ‘90s under his coach Jerry Tarkanian.

In Rice’s one-and-a-half seasons, UNLV has not become the scoring machine that the early ‘90s teams were, but he has started a desperately needed transformation. Rice has done the unfathomable in recruiting not one, but two McDonald’s All-Americans.

Rice is 44-14 since taking over for Kruger, a very impressive record for a relatively young and inexperienced team. Notably impressive is that the Rebels only have one home loss. Not only has Rice been successful in overall performance but he has also brought national attention to UNLV. Rice’s resume boasts impressive wins, such as the dismantling of North Carolina, which was the number one team at the time.

Rice is still young and inexperienced in terms of strategy. But with the type of recruiting and the people with whom he surrounds himself, it is easy to see that there is no ceiling for how well he could do.

While not everyone will be satisfied with the Rebel’s performance, it is safe to say that the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are back. The idea that this Runnin’ Rebels squad is beginning to become a mirror image of ‘90s teams strikes fear in the hearts of all schools around the country. The Rebels are back and with Dave Rice at the helm they are here to stay.

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Cole Turner
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Super Bowl Props: A Gambler’s Delight

propbets

For an event like the Super Bowl, you can literally find anything on which to bet. And if there aren’t enough bets for you, then you have a gambling problem. We here at the Cover 4 decided to go through and highlight a few of the prop bets. Don’t have a nearby casino that has a sports book or an online account? Set up a pool with your buddies where everyone contributes $20 or $40 and everyone gets an imaginary $1000. Everyone goes through and decides how to distribute their $1000 on what props. Whoever would have won the most money gets the pot. Anyways, let’s take a look at a few of the things you can throw your money at this year.

The Harbaugh Bets * From Bovada.lv

If you haven’t heard WE HAVE TWO BROTHERS COACHING AGAINST EACH OTHER IN THE SUPERBOWL!! Online and Vegas casinos have gone nuts with this (along with ESPN and every sports other outlet) and are offering some interesting action on the brotherly love.

How many times will Jack Harbaugh be shown on TV during the game?

Over 2 (-150)

Under 2 (+110)

If you do not think Jack Harbaugh will be surrounded by CBS cameras watching every reaction to every play, realize it is 2013. The media is intrusive and repetitive. It’s what it does. I’m not saying Jack will get Katherine Webb-like coverage, but give me the over.

 

 

How long will the post game handshake/ hug last between Jim and John Harbaugh?

Over 7 seconds (-120)

Under 7 seconds (-120)

If you’re sitting next to your best friend or brother, give him a hug for 7 seconds. It’s a bit of time. Now imagine that they just won the girl of your dreams and left you with nothing but crushed dreams. Those 7 seconds seems like a hell of a long time. These men have dreamt about winning the Super Bowl their entire lives. They’ll talk at dinner the night after, not immediately following one of them just failed to make his dream a reality.

 

How many times will the game be referred to as the Harbaugh Bowl or Har Bowl or Super Baugh during the game?

Over 2.5 (Even)

Under 2.5 (-140)

If you watched ESPN how many times did you hear this today? 10? 15? 20? It will get said and I can’t wait until next year and we can call it the Super Bowl again.

 

The Quarterbacks *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Colin Kaepernick’s first rushing attempt:

Over 5.5 (-110)

Under 5.5 (-110)

 

He averaged 6.6 yards during the regular season and 11.2 yards this postseason. It’s the young stud versus an aging linebacker corps. With someone as big and fast as Kaepernick, I’ll put my money that he’ll be able to take a couple strides when he decides to scramble.

Total Rushing Yards by Colin Kaepernick:

Over 48.5 (-110)

Under 48.5 (-110)

 

16 rushes for 181 yards? Or 2 rushes for 21 yards, which Kaepernick will he be? The answer will rely more on the Ravens’ attack against the read option — will they key on Kaepernick or Frank Gore? Kaepernick has busted off three runs of 50 or more yards this year. Get ready to hold your breath every time he takes off if you bet against him, because he only may need one rush.

Total Rushing Yards by Flacco:

Over 2.5 (+105)

Under 2.5 (-125)

If Flacco cannot rush over 2.5 yards, I will get to see this picture all over twitter, which is a win for everyone.

 

Possible Kaepernick caption: “This guy ran for more yards than Flacco!”

Flacco response: “To get away from ever being held like that again.”

 

Will Joe Flacco throw an interception?

Yes (-155)

No (+135)

 

Joe Flacco is on a roll right now with an 8:0 touchdown to interception ratio this postseason. Anquan Boldin is playing like a monster right now and expect him to either catch the ball or manhandle the defender trying to make a play. When Flacco throws to Torrey Smith, it’s either 10 feet ahead of everyone or Smith is the only player on the field fast enough to run underneath and get there. Flacco becomes an elite quarterback if he throws a perfect game, but if he throws a pick in Ray Lewis’ last game, he falls back into that middle tier and Lewis will be chewing on more than grass.

 

The Running backs *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Total rushing yards by Ray Rice:

Over 63.5 (-110)

Under 63.5 (-110)

Bernard Pierce’s role is expanding and Rice will be facing a stout San Francisco defense.

No disrespect to Ray Rice but I don’t quite think he’ll get to 63 yards on Sunday.

 

Total rushing yards by Frank Gore:

Over 81.5 (-110)

Under 81.5 (-110)

 

The Ravens rushing defense just isn’t what it used to be. Before Stevan Ridley got knocked out during the AFC Championship he had rushed for 70 yards. If Baltimore takes away Kaepernick’s ability to run, expect him to hand the ball off to Gore a frequent amount of times.

Longest Rush by Frank Gore

Over 17.5 (-110)

Under 17.5 (-110)

17.5? Really? I’m not saying Gore’s incapable of busting off a run this length, but it will take a serious defensive lapse. With a good amount of rest and time for preparation, I think the Ravens will be ready to prevent the big rushing plays.

 

The Receivers * Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

 

Longest reception by Torrey Smith:

Over 27.5 (-110)

Under 27.5 (-110)

Flacco has a huge arm and Smith is the Ravens go-to deep threat. He averaged 17.4 yards per catch this season. If there’s one-on-one coverage against Smith, expect the throw and expect it deep. Take the over.

Total Receiving Yards by Torrey Smith:

Over 65.5 (-110)

Under 65.5 (-110)

If the Ravens win this game, it’s going to be through the air. Smith could possibly get this in one play. It’d be a hell of a pass but with his speed and being a deep-ball threat, it’s not impossible. If Smith isn’t able to get going, I don’t see the Ravens being able to pull off the W.

Total receiving yards by Michael Crabtree:

Over 82.5 (-110)

Under 82.5 (-110)

The DA agreed to not file charges so long as Crabtree wins the Super Bowl (just kidding). Either Crabtree or Vernon Davis is going to be big in the passing game this week. Crabtree had 119 yards against Green Bay but just 57 against Atlanta. I’m thinking that the Ravens will try to take away Davis in the middle leaving Crabtree with some one-on-ones meaning a good amount of yardage.

 

The Kickers: *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Will the first kickoff of SB XLVII Result in a Touchback?

Yes (-170)

No (+150)

 

Akers kicked the ball deep into the end zone multiple times against the Saints in Week 12 and all 5 for touchbacks against Atlanta in the NFC Championship. Tucker has a huge boot on him and in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, I expect them to fly into the end zone. Hopefully special teams stud Jacoby Jones doesn’t try to make a play from the get go and bring one out from deep in the end zone.

Longest made field goal of game:

Over 44.5 (-110)

Under 44.5 (-110)

 

If the Ravens have a shot at a field goal from 45-55 yards, they’ll send Tucker out and odds are he’ll nail it. He’s made 30 of 33 field goals this year. I wouldn’t count on Akers, as the Lakers are more likely to get a three-game winning streak than he is to put up three points. At this point, Jim Harbaugh would probably lean on Kaepernick to get closer than 45 yards before sending the kicker out.

 

Odds on Odds on Odds *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Will Ed Reed intercept a pass?

Yes +400

No -500

 

Ed Reed has 8 interceptions in 14 playoff games, yet he has failed to pick a ball off this postseason. Is he overdue?

 

No touchdown will be scored in Super Bowl XLVII:

200:1

 

Will defenses dominate the game? Will it be a match between David Akers and Justin Tucker? I’m pretty sure me and the rest of America hope it won’t be. Someone has to get a touchdown!

 

Will any Baltimore or San Francisco Player on Active roster be arrested before Super Bowl XLVII?

No (-500)
yes (+500)

 

First off, I don’t know who should be more ashamed of themselves for stereotyping NFL players. Should it be Bovada for offering the bet or the people who take the odds? Or is it not shameful at all? That being said its Mardi Gras, with Michael Crabtree, Ray Lewis and two NFL teams — yikes.

 

Will there be a safety?

Yes (+900)

No (-1300)

 

I’m wondering if last year’s Super Bowl safety that put the first points on the board and all the stories of huge payouts will cause people to be inclined to wager yes this year. Can lightning strike twice? I’m thinking no.

 

Will there be overtime?

Yes (+700)

No (-1000)

 

No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime. Until this year however, no two brothers had coached against each other and deer antlers hadn’t been a headline on ESPN (Has football entered into doping in cycling — where we know stuff is used, just not being tested. Coming back from torn biceps so soon doesn’t seem exactly ‘natural’).

 

 

Will the game be decided by exactly 3 points?

Yes (+350)

No (-420)

 

In a game that nearly everyone predicts to be close, this might not be such a bad idea. Will Akers or Tucker kick a game-winning field goal? Can Flacco or Kaepernick drive the team down the field for a touchdown when down four?

 

 

The bets that your girlfriend will get a kick out of. *Bovada.lv

 

Will Alicia Keys add at least one word to the National Anthem?

Yes (+200)

No (-300)

 

Really? It’s the National Anthem. You’ve got to have some major cojones if you’re going to try to add a word to the National Anthem. It would just throw everything off.

 

What predominant color will Beyonce’s top be at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime show?

 

Black (9/4), Gold (11/4), Silver (7/2), White (5/1), Red (13/2), Pink (15/2), Orange (12/1), Blue (15/1), Green (15/1)

 

The only thing missing here are odds for none/nip slip. You would think that the Janet Jackson miscue would forever give us the ability to wager on a wardrobe malfunction.

 

Will Beyonce’s hair be Curly/Crimped or Straight at the beginning of the Super Bowl Half Time Show?

Straight (+150)

Curly/Crimpled (-200)

 

She went curly when she sang for the president. She’s got to switch it up right? Maybe? I have no idea.

 

Will Beyonce be joined by Jay-Z on Stage during the Super Bowl Half Time Show?

Yes +110

No -150

 

You think one of the biggest egos in the world will miss an opportunity like this? Please, HOVA is going to be up there with his baby mama. Go ahead and parlay this one with the over (.5) how many times Jay-Z will be shown on TV during the game.

 

What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?

Market Up (-140)

Market Down (Even)

 

Let’s see if everyone committing to one activity on Sunday will cause the market to go up on Monday. I personally plan on doing my part and spiking Coors stock up a bit. Everyone’s going to be buying Super Bowl goodies all weekend right?

 

 

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Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
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