MLB and NBA Playoffs

Kelso Sturgeon Basketball - Baseball Newsletter



By Kelso Sturgeon

Busy, busy. Major League Baseball is going full-blast, the NBA playoffs begin Saturday, the NHL began its Stanley Cup playoffs last night and the Master's begins today at Augusta National. The Los Angeles Dodgers remain the 11/2 choice to win the World Series, the Golden State Warriors are 1-2 to win their third-consecutive NBA title, and fourth in the past five years, the Tampa Bay Lightning are 9/5 to win the hockey crown. And, let us not forget the Kentucky Derby two week's from Saturday.

Busy, yes, but that is the never-ending profile of the sports betting world.

Much of the talk two weeks into the baseball season is about the upstart Seattle Mariners (12-2). Is this 20-1 shot to win the World Series for real or just a temporary flash in the pan? It is of note the Mariners lead MLB in hitting with a team batting average of .295 and also are on top in the home run department with 34.

The defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox (3-9) and the always-popular Chicago Cubs (3-8) are getting an equal amount of attention for all the wrong reasons. It's early but both are simply awful right now, sloppy and unfocused. The Red Sox are hitting .237 as a team and have what is supposed to be a blue-chip pitching rotation, which is currently ranked 27th of 30 teams with an ERA of 6.35.

As for the Cubs, their situation is an unexplainable mess. The hitting is there, with the Cubs ranked fourth in this category with a team average of .279. Mark the pitching staff, and especially the bullpen, absent - and it just got worse when ace John Lester (2.57 ERA) went on the injury list. The rest of the starters are not there. Cole Hamels has an ERA of 5.73, Yu Darvish one of 7.50 and Kyle Hendricks at 6.48. Think those numbers are bad? The relief staff is far worse.

The reality of numbers...

  • Despite being a 3-9 bust this season, Boston has been a favorite in all 12 games and those who bet the Red Sox at the $100 level have already lost a MLB worst $1,100,
  • The Cubs have been favored in six of their 11 games and lost four of those. For the season $100 bettors are out $650.
  • At the other end of the spectrum are those Seattle Mariners who have been a favorite five times and an underdog nine times lead the MLB if profits, with $1,180 in the bank.

Time will answer all the questions about these teams but in my mind the Red Sox and the Cubs are go-against teams until for further notice. The winners keep winning and the losers keep losing.
Speaking of Seattle, the 7 player deal between the Mets and Mariners has already benefited BOTH teams. Mets got Robinson Cano (stability and experience) and possibly best closer in baseball in Edwin Diaz and are off to a promising start. As for the Mariners, Jay Bruce who came from the Mets with reliever Anthony Swarzak (who should shore up the bullpen) and three prospects in the deal already has 6 home runs and Domingo Santana, who came in a trade from Milwaukee is hitting .34o with 19 RBI's and the Mariners are in first place in the AL West at 10-2.

In Handicapping Baseball, Trades, Free Agents and Schedule dynamics all come into play.

For instance, last Thursday the NY Mets returned from a 6 day season-opening road trip to play a 1:00 pm afternoon home-opener. This came following a game the night before in Miami which finished a 3 game sweep of the Marlins in which the Mets scored 7, 6 and 6 runs and a total of 19 hits. Anyone watching the game could see the listless effect the quick turnaround had on the Mets as they were shut out by the Nationals 4-0 and in the process managed 4 hits and struck out 14 times.

These night-before and then travel to a day game next, do not occur often, but when they do they are worth looking at. And before you dismiss this particular matchup as a product of the Mets being beaten by Nats ace Strasberg it I worth noting that 5 days earlier, at Washington, this same Mets lineup had 7 hits and 4 runs in 6 innings off Strasberg. Even night game to night game dynamics can come into play if more than one time zone is in play.

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3-0 Last Three 50-Unit Baseball Winners
4/10...Tampa Bay Rays (-155) 9, Chicago White Sox 1 (Won)
4/9...Tampa Bay Rays (-165) 10, Chicago White Sox 5 (Win)
4/7...Los Angeles Dodgers (-155) 12, Colorado Rockies 6 (Won)

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The Golden State Warriors (57-25) are the solid 1-2 favorites to win their third straight NBA championship but there are by no means a cinch to do that. Breathing down their necks are the Milwaukee Bucks (60-22) who have home court advantage all the way, the explosive Houston Rockets (53-29) and always dangerous Toronto (58-24), Denver (54-28) and Philadelphia (51-31).
The playoffs begin Saturday with four games, to be followed Sunday by four more.

The Saturday Schedule

#7 Orlando Magic at #2 Toronto Raptors (-8.5, 216)
#6 Brooklyn Nets at #3 Philadelphia 76ers (NL)
#8 Los Angeles Clippers at #1 Golden State Warriors (-12.5, 231)
#7 San Antonio Spurs at #2 Denver Nuggets (-5, 211.5)

Each round of the playoffs are in the 2-2-1-1-1 format and that means the higher-seeded team in each game will host games 1-2, 5 and 7. Teams must win four games to win their series.


#1 MILWAUKEE (60-22) vs. #8 DETROIT (41-41) - The Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo probably will have to settle for second place in the league's MVP voting (behind Houston's James Harden, of course) but his team's all bulked up for a long run this post-season.

#2 TORONTO (58-24) vs. #7 ORLANDO (42-40) - Let's just say that if Raptors' megastar Kawhi Leonard is gonna be a one-and-done guy North of the Border, then he should make it count; Toronto has all the goodies to make it to the NBA Finals.

#3 PHILADELPHIA (51-31) vs. #6 BROOKLYN (42-40) - All eyes will be on whether or not Sixers' stud Joel Embiid (knee) plays here in Game 1 on Saturday afternoon. Could the overachieving Nets be a playoff dark horse behind All-Star G D'Angelo Russell?

#4 BOSTON (49-33) vs. #5 INDIANA (48-34) - The Celtics will be without defensive demon Marcus Smart for the playoffs and - ouch - that'll hurt. Okay, no sympathy coming from Pacers' team that lost Victor Oladipo weeks ago.



#1 GOLDEN STATE (57-25) vs. #8 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (48-34) - Could see the defending champ Warriors being a tad bored in the early rounds, so maybe LA's "other" team makes this a bit sticky. Hail Clips' coach Doc Rivers who earned every dime this season!

#2 DENVER (54-28) vs. #7 SAN ANTONIO (48-34) - Nuggets wrangled their way into the #2 seed on the final night of play but sub-.500 road record (20-21) makes us feel they're vulnerable here. Spurs in "house money" mode, for once!

#3 PORTLAND (53-29) vs. #6 OKLAHOMA CITY (49-33) - Lower-seeded Thunder is counting on a nightly triple-double from G Russell Westbrook but will that be enough to KO Blazers' bunch that finished hot with eight SU (straight-up) wins in its last 10?

#4 HOUSTON (53-29) vs. #5 UTAH (50-32) - Appears to be dead-even series that could favor deeper Jazz team the longer this goes; can the aforementioned Mr. Harden zing in another half-a-hundred a time or two here?

There Are Reasons I Have Crushed the NBA Playoffs 10 Of The Last 12 Years
And I Am Confident I Will Bury The NBA Playoffs Again Starting Saturday
The bottom line is that I win because I have mastered the 3 KEY FUNDAMENTALS OF THE NBA.

  1. Private and outstanding numerical ratings on each team, updated daily!
    These numbers give me a foundation starting point to compare my Figs with the actual betting line on the game.
  2. Sophisticated Computer Tracking Game by Game!
    If a team lets up in any area, I am immediately aware of that "blip on the screen" and can follow it to see if a pattern develops. This permits me to "stay ahead" of the "official number" because it takes the linesmakers as long as a week or two to catch up.
  3. Situation and Circumstance Perspective
    My experience gives me a tremendous advantage to use those intangibles like extra the return of an injured player or home court advantage after a road trip.

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Odds To Win 2018-19 NBA Title

Golden State Warriors       1-2
Milwaukee Bucks6/1
Houston Rockets10/1
Toronto Raptors15/1
Boston Celtics20/1
Philadelphia 76ers30/1
Oklahoma City Thunder40/1
Denver Nuggets50/1
Utah Jazz75/1
Portland Blazers200/1
San Antonio Spurs250/1
Indiana Pacers500/1
Brooklyn Nets500/1
Los Angeles Clippers500/1
Orlando Magic500/1
Detroit Pistons500/1


Rory McIlroy is the 8-1 favorite to win the Masters, which got underway Thursday, but he was not the choice of an unidentified gentleman who yesterday walked into a Las Vegas William Hill Sports book and bet $85,000 on Tiger Woods at 14-1 to win this Master's. If he wins, he will receive just under $1.2 million. The bet was the biggest in the history of golf betting in Las Vegas. Good luck.