Pre All Star Game Handicapping

Veteran handicappers have a system for betting on or against quality starting pitchers in the days before the All-Star game that has stood the test of time. It won’t work in every single game. But, it generally makes money year-in and year-out.

*Fade any starting pitcher in his final appearance before the All-Star game.

*Back any prominent starting pitcher having a strong year who was snubbed.

We usually talk more about THE MOTIVATION FACTOR in other sports here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. But, here’s a case where it can be used successfully in baseball.

Pitchers named to the All-Star team often struggle in the outing between the announcement and the big game. They know all eyes will be on them after their name was in the headlines. Maybe the home town crowd is larger because more people wanted to see “their” All-Star in person. On the road, the other team would love nothing more than getting a win over a hyped opposing pitcher. Plus, they’re looking ahead to the following Tuesday. High pressure AND a look-ahead situation.

The great thing about this is that you’re getting fantastic line value. Lines are already inflated anyway on big-name pitchers. Making headlines for selection to an All-Star team pushes them up into “overpriced” territory. If only half of these guys struggle, you’re going to make good money. If more than half struggle, home run.

Here’s a list of starting pitchers who were named to the National League and American League teams.

National League

Max Scherzer

Jacob deGrom

Jon Lester

Aaron Nola

Patrick Corbin

Mike Foltynewicz

Miles Mikolas

 

American League

Justin Verlander

Corey Kluber

Chris Sale

Luis Severino

Gerrit Cole

Jose Berrios

Trevor Bauer

(Note that Justin Verlander is scheduled to pitch Sunday, making him unavailable for use…that’s why Trevor Bauer was added.)

The first part of your homework assignment is to look up when each pitcher throws this week. I got you started by listing the names. You find out when they pitch so you can consider whether or not fading them is going to make sense. You may not want to fade a star pitcher facing a team that’s obviously in the tank! Otherwise, at least consider going against them…or betting the Over if two stars happen to run into each other.

The rest of your homework involves the following. Determine which other American League and National League starters have a legitimate case that they were deserving but left off the team. Each league has a few of these…guys whose seasons are just as good as others who made it…or who had a bigger impact that one or two of the relievers who got nods. Look in particular at won-lost records and ERA’s, because those are still the main stats the public, the media, and even managers use when evaluating pitchers. These individual pitchers don’t care about analytics. They evaluate their own resume’s based on ERA and W-L record.

*Find the guys who are going to be furious

*Bet on them!

And, if one of the snubbed pitchers faces a selected star, increase the size of the bet, particularly for underdogs.

That should keep you busy today…and hopefully the benefits will continue all through the weekend.

I told you at the top that this is a system many have been using for years. I can’t tell you when I started because it was so far back…and I can’t honestly remember when I wasn’t paying attention to this. All-Star Pitching staffs used to be smaller, so there were more snubs…particularly in low scoring seasons back before the steroid era. Again, I’m not going to suggest you’ll win every single play. You’re making value bets for the most part. Though, there will likely be a situation where the stars align across a few of your different betting strategies that to create a true monster selection.

This is what handicapping and betting is all about! Doing the work and getting rewarded because you outworked and out-thought everybody else.

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The Dean of Sports Handicapping misses the days when the All-Star Game was a virtual national institution. The flood of TV baseball is a relatively recent phenomenon. Imagine being a baseball fan, but you could only watch road games of your local team on TV…and then the Saturday afternoon Game of the Week on NBC. There was no such thing as interleague play, so players from the National League only faced players from the American League in the All-Star Game and the World Series. For something that special EVERYBODY WATCHED!

Though the buzz isn’t the same as it used to be…making the team is still very important to the players. That’s why the angles in today’s coursework are so important. Selected stars will be dealing with butterflies and nerves this week, while snubbed pitchers in good form will throw even better. Best of luck in your efforts to take advantage. See you again Friday for our next class get-together.