Tuesday, 3 February 2015

May the Odds Forever be in Your Favour

The Superbowl has come and gone - great game, great company, great big hangover, great sums of money lost. 

But that's the way she goes sometimes right? Sometimes she goes, sometimes she doesn't go.  As any degenerate gambler will tell you - if you can't handle the loss, probably don't bet. Time to get back in the saddle, hair of the dog, insert cliche here!
Let us officially leave America's crazy sexy-morally backward-money printing-concussion inducing addiction in the rearview and look straight ahead at America's Pastime!

If you've got any semblance of patience, future bets are a the perfect way to invest your money in a fun, high risk scenario! And if you're anything like me, any money left in your wager account will be forgotten about now that football season is over.  Might as well place it on a horse, check back on said horse a few times throughout the summer, roll around in stacks of money come October (please note: in most cases, your horse will collapse and break your heart.)

Below are the Vegas odds as of today (courtesy of bodog.eu).

The number figure on the right represents the number that gets multiplied by your wager amount - that calculation gives you an expected return if your team wins the World Series.
For example - bet $1 on Washington - win $5.50 along with your $1 bet returned - total payout = $6.50

Odds to win the 2015 World Series 

A few points before we get started:

1) Choose a percentage of your bankroll your comfortable having disappear for the next 9 months.  It's not lost money, but it's no longer in play.  Consider it a dividends fun, but the bank is going to play fast and loose with your contribution.

2) Take that percentage and cut it in half, so if you can afford $100, put $50 on your AL horse and $50 on your NL horse.  That increases your chances of having a team in play down the stretch - the best part of gambling is the race to the finish anyway.

3) Don't get cute, sprinkling a couple dollars on flyers is reckless and never works.  Allocate your money properly. 

4) Don't put a huge amount of stock into the odds themselves.  Yes, the people who set the lines know A LOT more than you do.  But they don't have a crystal ball, they can't predict injuries or chemistry. 

5) Favourites rarely pan out - this actually was super hard info to dig up, so I quit at 2008.
Vegas Favourites:
2008 - Red Sox
2009 - Phillies
2010 - Yankees
2011 - Phillies
2012 - Angels & Tigers
2013 - Blue Jays
2014 - Dodgers
All these teams have one thing in common - they failed to win the World Series (although some came real close)

So - the idea is to find a reasonable team with reasonable odds, hope they can sneak into the playoffs and get hot and healthy at the right time.
Last years final
Giants 22-1 vs Royals 35-1
That is some seriously good coin, regardless of the outcome.

All that being said - let's take a look at 5 teams from each league that are potential World Series candidates and can pad your pockets with nice outcomes.
(In order of my preference - #1 in each leagues will be where I place my monies)

American League

5. Seattle Mariners 17-1

Cano having a full season under his belt out west should see him fall into a more comfortable situation.  The addition of Nelson Cruz will protect him in the 3 hole.  Seager and Ackley are young and on an upward trajectory - not out of the question to see career years from both.  One of the best pitching prospects in baseball a year ago, Taijuan Walker, spent most of the year injured.  A bounce back year from him could go a long way.  King Felix is the best pitcher in the AL and is entering his prime - if the Mariners see themselves in contention come the trade deadline, management will move all in for a WS crown. 

4. Toronto Blue Jays 21-1
Call me a homer, but for a team that finished 83-79 in the toughest division in baseball, these odds are mighty tasty!  At seasons end it was evident the Blue Jays needed to address their bullpen, which has yet to happen.  However - the team upgraded at other positions.  Signing Russell Martin secured them a top tier defensive catcher and a patient smart hitter.  Management followed that up by dealing perennial band-aid Brett Lawrie to Oakland for Josh Donaldson - who has emerged as one of the best all round players in baseball, placing 2nd to only Mike Trout in WAR over the past two season.   If Stroman, Norris and Sanchez can extend their small sample-sized performances from a year ago - the rotation could be deadly.  Almost so much depth up front, that Sanchez is figured to be moved into the closer roll.  With a couple low key signings to sure up the back end of the bullpen, I like the Jays sneaking into the playoffs this year. 

3.  Los Angeles Angels 13-1

The American League isn't getting much love with the oddsmakers, at 13-1 they own the second best odds in the league.  Admittedly, I don't enjoy picking favourites, and they rarely pan out.  But 13-1 are good odds on a team that really should factor into postseason play.  Mike Trout has his MVP award finally and it's time the best player in baseball focuses on championships.  With the assumption one of Josh Hamilton or Albert Pujols have something left in the tank - the offence is as good as any in baseball.  The starting rotation is without a bonafide ace, however, it features 3 above average arms in Weaver, Wilson and Richards.  If in contention late, expect them to make a splash on a big name pitcher to help get them over the hump - money is no issue, especially when competing with the Dodgers for the support of the locals. 

2. Kansas City Royals 29-1

Granted, the Royals were a massive under dog to be playing World Series baseball a year ago, let alone finish above .500.  This team is laying 29-1 odds and came within 1 win of winning the whole thing just a season ago...too hard not to consider dropping some cash on them.  The monkey is off their back, they made the postseason.  The team should see a revived fan base and hopefully management can continue to assist financially to build on the buzz.  The signing of Rios gives them a nice bat at the top of the lineup along with some plus defence.  Perez is poised for a breakout season and will be considered one of, if not THE best catcher in the league come seasons end.  The success hinges on their bullpen which was historically efficient a year ago.  If they can be a shadow of themselves, the signings on offence should supply them with a few more runs to help balance it out. 

1. Cleveland Indians 29-1

The Indians just missed out on the playoffs last year, finishing 4 games back of the Royals.  Winning 85 games is no small feat in the AL.  The assumption is the Indians are entering the season in the weakest division in baseball.  The Tigers have lost Scherzer (but will get a full year of Price), the Royals are expected to drop off and the White Sox and Twins are a work in progress.  The division is ripe for the picking and the Tribe are in a nice spot to steal it.  Cleveland easily has the best group of young major leaguers on paper - thing about young players is, they're unpredictable.  I'm willing to throw my money on these odds with the potential talent here.  Michael Brantley is an MVP candidate, no doubt.  Corey Kluber is the defending Cy Young winner (bet you didn't know that).  But the talent around them is the key - Carlos Santana moving away from full time catcher is crucial.  Yan Gomes building on being a full time catcher is even more crucial.  Jason Kipnis is quietly one of the best middle infielders in baseball.  Nick Swisher and Brandon Moss bring veteran leadership.  If one of the other 2 young fireballers (Carrasco, Salazar) can piece together a breakout campaign - the Indians are a real force in the AL and at 29-1 are my favourites to pay my bills in October. 

National League

5. Washington Nationals 6.50-1

I'm completely selling out here - the odds-on favourite to win the World Series in 2015.  The pitching staff is simply too hard to ignore.  They have 4 pitchers who can go 7-8 innings each outing.
Basically throwing this one up here, so we can look back in 9 months and I can say - SEE!!
If you're confident with the Nationals, bet it.  They're really good.  But be willing to bed a lot, because the return is dismal. 

4. Miami Marlins 34-1

History states - when the Marlins spend money they win, when they don't spend money - they REALLY don't spend money.  Right now, they're spending money.  Stanton is there long term and he's got to have a fire lit wanting to prove he's worth that contract.  The additions of Dee Gordon and Martin Prado are key to padding their infield and front end of the batting order.  The team is crazy young and unproven - but like the Indians if they can hit on 1 or 2 of these youngsters, look out.
Jose Fernandez should be back from Tommy John and if he can return to his old self by the midway point - the Marlins could see themselves around .500 and ready to push for a postseason birth.  In the meantime, Mat Latos and Hendy Alvarez should be able to hold the rotation together...if all else fails, this team will be a lot of fun to watch. 

3. Cincinnati Reds 51-1
These odds are wack.  I put an asterix beside the Reds last year wanting to keep an eye on how Vegas looked at them.  These odds exceeded my expectations by a landslide.  Here is what I see.
Joey Votto is coming off a down year, he's relatively young and a crazy talented and patient hitter - he will bounce back.  Jay Bruce is a deep threat in a hitter friendly park.  Brandon Phillips is playing for a last ditch contract before he retires. Bobby Hamilton is entering his second full season and literally could steal 100 bags (seriously, hit him in front of Votto to see a million pitches and Hamilton could set records).  Frazier and Cozart are still young enough to have a career defining season.  The rotation is headed by a Cy Young runner up in Johnny Cueto, a two time no-hitter thrower in Homer Bailey and features a young stud in Tony Cingrani - am I missing something here?

2. St. Louis Cardinals 13-1

Never count the Cardinals out - they are the gold standard in MLB franchises - the New England Patriots of baseball if you will.  Always good, always a threat to win.
The key with the Cards is they limited turnover.  They allow players to dig in and get comfortable with each other and get comfortable with a winning tradition.  The addition of Jayson Heyward in the offseason is HUGE.  A five tool player with an MVP caliber upside.  The Cardinal way is the type of spark that could blast Heyward up the charts of franchise type players.  Yadier Molina returns behind the dish for another season and will help Wainwright back in Cy Young talks and build Waccha to the same echelon.  John Lackey is a nice, low risk addition to the rotation and could prove fruitful down the stretch as his experience is vast. 

1. San Francisco Giants 21-1

Highest paying odds of any World Series winning team in the following season since the 1997 Florida Marlins.  Except, the Giants didn't blow up their entire franchise.  Any team with Madison Bumgarner as the ace needs to be taken for real.  Aoki is a nice addition in left field and could end up hitting lead off come opening day.  The loss of Sandoval will be buffered with the addition of McGehee - but in all seriousness, Sandoval made his name in the playoffs - and at this point, we just gotta get there.
Here's the facts.
Pitching Staff: 616 wins, 3 Cy Young Awards, 1 World Series MVP, 4 no-hitters
Catcher: 1 NL MVP award, 1 batting title champion.
The game is won on the mound and behind the plate.  The Giants will again run out the best in both fields. 

Friday, 13 June 2014

THE SYSTY (Or, Who is San Fran playing next?)

This is getting a little out of hand. No series' qualified through the week, so we look to the weekend, and basically, at the Giants.

They are, once again, the only team that qualifies.. And this weekend could be a bit of a risk. The Rockies are in San Fran, and I'm not in love with the pitching match-ups. Game 1 has the surprisingly (sometimes) effective Jorge de la Rosa up against Let Timmy Smoke. Game 2 is Vogelsong vs. Christian Bergman, who has only made one career start. Those kind of match-ups scare me, as it could take Giants hitters a while to figure the fucker out...

HOWEVER, CarGo remains on the DL, and the Giants are winning us all money every week. Ride er til she bucks ya.

One unit on SF starting tonight.

Friday, 6 June 2014


Big Weekend.

Still up. Giants drop another series opener, but win the all-important game 2, with even more favorable odds. I like when that happens. Let's keep riding them, as they are still the only series that qualifies for the weekend. Here is where your money goes this weekend...

SF Giants (RPI - .535) over NY Mets (RPI - .480)

San Fran is taking a nice little tour through the bottom of the RPI rankings. It's making me money, so let's continue to take advantage. Matt Cain returns from the DL to start Game 1, and just in case he falters, we've got the ageless Tim Hudson in Game 2. Should be business as usual.

The guys rookie card is an oil painting for fucks sake.

As always, if you missed my original post, or wanted to wait and see if the SYSTY was worth risking your money with, get caught up HERE.

(Side bet: Anyone putting money on the Belmont Saturday night? I don't like to bet on the wrong side of history, so I will be putting some action on California Chrome)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014


We're up. The Giants beat the Cubs in Game 2 of their series last week. We are up approximately half a unit at this point. That's the only goal, up. Finishing with more than we started with.

Not a whole lot to choose from early in Week 2. I've noticed that this year, a lot less series' tend to fit the SYSTY. I'm sure as the season goes on, and teams that are overachieving regress a little bit, we'll have more opportunities to gain financially from their shittiness. But for now, we take what the SYSTY gives us.

SF Giants (RPI - .537) over CIN Reds (RPI - .480)

The Giants still rank first overall in the RPI rankings (found HERE if you're doing your own research) so expect to be backing them frequently. One Unit on the Giants tonight, and if Lincecum can get the W, the return should be pretty solid, depending on the book you're using. Let Timmy Smoke.

Sunday, 25 May 2014


Big week here. Big, big week. Huge week. I'm starting the 2014 SYSTY with Monday night's games. Who's with me? Anyone besides Scott? Probably just Scott, eh? Fuck it, let's go.

If you missed my original post explaining the SYSTY, and are interested in potentially making some money betting baseball this summer, read it here. (One quick note on my first post... Scott blew it and chose the wrong Pete Rose picture to run. Shoulda been this one. No question)

Here's what I'm going with to start the week.

SF Giants (RPI - .542) over CHI Cubs (RPI - .463)

We get a gift here, with the highest ranked RPI team playing the lowest ranked RPI team at home. Little scary seeing The Shark in game 1, but not scary enough for me to not play it. The returns will be minimal, but this series is getting played. One unit on the Giants for Monday night.

As far as I can tell, the only other series that works is Boston at Atlanta. Atlanta qualifies as the home favorite, but I'm going to stay away. Don't love seeing Buchholz and Lester in games 1 and 2 (the ones you need to win to profit). I also don't think the Sox are as bad as their RPI would suggest. Going to play it safe, and just go with the one series.

Here we go...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Tommy John is an Arse

Shocking his elbow blew up...

Well, not really.  In fact, he's basically a hero when it comes to players all across professional baseball.  With 288 career wins, the man should be famous enough - but it's the revolutionary surgery he underwent that's his claim. 

Mr. John won nearly half of his 288 wins AFTER the surgery.  Today, the procedure has been relatively perfected with the help of Dr. Death (James Andrews) - yet it carries with it a dark cloud.

Tommy John surgery brings about a minimum 12 months of missed time, a general drop in velocity (although not always the case) and the long LONG road of recovery.  During said recovery a number of things could happen
-loss of ability to pitch without pain
-drastic drop in velocity
-putting stress on other muscles, causing further injury
And perhaps the most threatening to players - loss of relevance in the game.  What if someone who's elbow didn't snap steps into the job and leads the team to victory...

Regardless of the careers Tommy John has prolonged, he's still a dick in the minds of players and fans alike.

Here's a current list of players who are either recovering from Tommy John Surgery or are experiencing elbow issues that could result in the procedure down the line.
Keep in mind - THIS IS CURRENT, these players are not able to play because of elbow surgery or soreness - (normally referred to as forearm soreness)

Sean Burnett - Angels
Brian Moran - Angels
Jose Cisnero - Astros
Alex White - Astros
Ryan Cook - Athletics
A.J. Griffin - Athletics
Eric O'Flaherty - Athletics
Jarrod Parker - Athletics
Sergio Santos - Blue Jays
Brandon Beachy - Braves
Cory Gearrin - Braves
Kris Medlin - Braves
Johnny Venters - Braves
Kyjui Fujikawa - Cubs
Patrick Corbin - Diamondbacks
David Hernandez - Diamondbacks
Daniel Hudson - Diamondbacks
J.J. Putz - Diamondbacks
Matt Reynolds - Diamondbacks
Chad Billingsly - Dodgers
Scott Elbert - Dodgers
Onelki Garcia - Dodgers
Jose Fernandez - Marlins
Matt Harvey - Mets
Bobby Parnell - Mets
Erik Davis - Nationals
Andrew Cashner - Padres
Josh Johnson - Padres
Casey Kelly - Padres
Cory Luebke - Padres
Joseph Wieland - Padres
Cliff Lee - Phillies
Martin Perez - Rangers
Tanner Scheppers - Rangers
Jeremy Hellickson - Rays
Matt Moore - Rays
Trevor Bell - Reds
Tyler Chatwood - Rockies
Luke Hochevar - Royals
Joel Hanrahan - Tigers
Bruce Rondon - Tigers
Luke Putkonen - Tigers
Chris Sale - White Sox
Ivan Nova - Yankees

A quick look at this list and a couple things jump out
1) It's fucking massive
2) There are pitchers of all types on here...

-Seven year veteran Joel Hanrahan, never logged more than 84 innings in a season, doesn't throw particularly hard

-Young budding stars Jose Fernandez & Matt Harvey - completed one major league season before succumbing to surgery, both have above average velocity

-Bruce Rondon hasn't reached the 30 inning plateau yet in his major league career

-Cliff Lee, pushing the 2150 inning mark, and has been relatively healthy through his illustrious career is feeling forearm tightness (although not yet recommended for the surgery)

-Josh Johnson, recently underwent his second season ending Tommy John

So, here's what we can take from this....Workload doesn't always equate to issues, nor does velocity or  age, and having the surgery once does not strengthen the arm enough to guarantee anything.

Long story short, it's a crapshoot - the ligament can snap, and it can snap at any time - and when it comes, Tommy Boy comes a calling (again, Tommy John is only the player, James Andrews is the renown surgeon, and even at that, the team probably has to give him a shout, not vice versa).

It's truly saddening and frustrating to see Jose Fernandez and Matt Harvey succumb, two of the brightest stars in the next crop of talented pitchers.  It's difficult to watch Josh Johnson, whom once had a promising career headed in the right direction get derailed not once, but twice.  I don't suspect I'll ever hear the name Bruce Rondon again...fading into the obscurity of farm systems upon rehab.

I won't pretend to have a theory as to why the onslaught of elbow ligament injuries has come in 2014 (although it has been trending upward for sometime) - why didn't Rodgers Clemens or Randy Johnson run into trouble?  They both threw hard enough and hard weirdly shaped bodies to boot!

Perhaps the best theory I've come across went something like this:
Little Leagues and farm teams have implemented pitch counts, rest days and countless other programs to help young pitchers stay healthy and succeed.  The goal of Little Leaguers and Minor Leaguers is to make the show, and to do so, they must stay healthy and grow as a player on the field - not in a recovery bed.  Perhaps this is delaying the inevitable - let's say for instance, in 1995, of 20 Little Leaguers, 1 would make the big leagues.  That one lucky ball player was talented enough to catch the eye of scouts, and was structurally sound enough to avoid any serious ligament issues in his elbow.  In 2005, of those same 20 little leaguers, 5 make the big leagues.  Four of which are not structurally sound, but were able to delay the issues with pitch counts and rest days.  So, once in the majors, time catches up with these players and the elbow gives way to the nature of things.

It's tough to tell really, one this is agreed on however.  The human arm is not structurally able to sustain such motion and torque repeatedly.  Thus, we can expect the issues to continually arise until a solution is found.

It's interesting to look at Commissioners of professional sport leagues, they each tend to leave a footprint.  Something they focused on that changed their game, for good or bad.  Gary Bettman has made the NHL not just a Canadian national sport, but spread it all across the US.  Adam Silver has maybe already put a stamp on his reign with his Donald Stirling ruling.  Roger Goodell brought the NFL to financial juggernaut...at the expense of some his players well being.
Bud Selig, Commissioner of Major League Baseball spent the better part of his time fighting the war on steroids.  Pouring countless hours and dollars into legal fees.  Selig defamed some of the greats in the history of the game and punishing many looking to achieve the same status, all the while blacklisting anyone linked to the supply of performance enhancing drugs.
The end of the 2014 season will mark the end of Selig's 22 years as commissioner, and the search for a replacement is already commenced.

Without a doubt Selig's successor will be faced with many daunting tasks, but none more pressing than keeping pitchers, especially young electric talent, on the mound.  His or Her legacy depends on it.
Maybe it'll be time to dust of that aforementioned blacklist, place a couple calls, and work with the PED suppliers to find a way to use modern therapy to better the game.  Maybe "cheating" is the only way to keep the game as it once was...

SYSTY PICK TONIGHT - Padres over Cubs - $15

The "Systy" - from the depths of Pete Rose's modest room at the Belagio


It’s fair to say that Pete Rose and I don’t have a lot in common. I am not Major League Baseball’s career hit leader. I did not win 3 World Series titles, play in 17 All-Star Games at 5 different positions, nor did I spend the last few years of the 90’s being annually tombstoned by Kane. BUT, Charlie Hustle and I do share one mutual love: Betting on baseball.

I have been betting on sports for a little less than half of my 26 years. My mother used to take my already filled out Pro-Line cards to the counter for me before I turned 18. While it might sound like it, this is not my ‘10,000 hours’-type statement of expertise. Let’s get the truth out of the way; I have never been a particularly good baseball bettor. Like everyone who places the odd wager, I’ve had some good wins, and many, many more painful defeats. The 2013 season was different. I accomplished the only thing a true gambler should aspire to: I finished the season with more money than I started with. 

This is how I did it. Around this time last year, browsing reddit.com/r/sportsbook (A great resource for sports bettors), I came across an MLB betting system that supposedly had great results in 2012. I gave it a shot. I won some money. It’s not really that exciting of a story, but it worked. I did not create this system, but I call it the ‘SYSTY’, and it is now the only way I bet on baseball. I want to share it with you, a person reading my friend Scott’s blog.

The SYSTY is based heavily on ESPN’s MLB Relative Power Index rankings. ESPN uses a variety of variables, like win percentage, strength of schedule, run differential, and a few others, to give teams an RPI ranking, displayed similarly to a players batting average. For example, our current RPI leader this year is the Braves at .604, while the Cubs are at the bottom of the rankings at .421. You can find these rankings at http://espn.go.com/mlb/stats/rpi. If you are planning on using the SYSTY this year, bookmark that website.

The SYSTY is a series-chase bet. When teams begin a 3-game series, we identify which team to bet on using the RPI rankings (I’ll come back to this). We are betting that they will win one of the next three games. If they win the first game, we are done with that series, we take our money and move on. If they lose game 1, we bet on them to win game 2. If they win game 2, we are done with the series, if not, we hit them again for game 3. Sweeps are the enemy. 

Here’s how we manage our money. This is a modified martingale betting system. You have to decide how much you are willing to play per series. Identify a betting unit. Your unit may be $2, it may be $10, or it may be $50. It is entirely your call, but YOUR UNIT SHOULD MAKE UP A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF YOUR TOTAL BANKROLL (For example, if you have $1000 in your betting account, your unit should be less than $100). For the first game of the series, we bet 1 unit. If the team we bet on loses game 1, we TRIPLE the bet (3x your betting unit) for game 2. The thinking behind this is that by tripling the game 2 bet, we recoup our game 1 loss, and earn a similar profit that we would have by winning game 1. If we lose game 2, we go back to betting 1 unit on game 3. Doing the math, you’ll see that a series that goes to a third game will result in a net loss. However, the theory is that this happens so rarely that future wins will recoup these losses. The creator of the series found that 65% of series’ will result in a win in game 1, 26% will end after a game 2 win. That means we are supposed to profit in over 90% of series’ played, which will cover the rare losses.

The Betting Approach Simplified:


We know how to bet; now we need to know who to bet on. We go back to the RPI rankings. At the start of a three game series, compare each teams RPI ranking. If the AWAY TEAM is 50 or MORE POINTS HIGHER in the RPI rankings, we will be betting on them to win the series. If the HOME TEAM is 42 or MORE POINTS HIGHER in RPI rankings, we will be betting on them to win the series. Not every series is going to fit the SYSTY, use the RPI rankings, do a little math, and find the candidates to bet on. Unfortunately, I have to complicate things. Just because a team qualifies according to the RPI rankings, we don’t automatically throw money down on them. There are a few other factors to be aware of. Maybe our teams star player is hurt, maybe they have lost 6 straight, maybe the underdog team has gotten hot and is running their two best pitchers out in games 1 and 2 of the series.  There are a number of things to be aware of before putting any money on the line. For example, the creator of the system will never bet on a team with a sub .500 winning percentage, even if the RPI rankings qualify them as a winner. The RPI rankings are a guideline, but you HAVE to do a little old-fashioned research before deciding who to bet. 

New series’ typically start on Monday’s, Tuesday’s, and Friday’s. Some weekends, you may have 4 series’ on the go, others you may have 1 or none, and that’s cool. I can’t emphasize this enough; the SYSTY is a marathon, not a sprint. We will almost always be betting on favourites to win. The profits are small, but this is about volume betting. We chip away, small wins at a time, and by the end of the year, hope to have turned a nice profit. This should go without saying, but this is gambling we’re talking about. The SYSTY is not perfect, and I didn’t create it. I can’t guarantee a fucking thing. I may lose every cent I have in my bankroll, and if you choose to bet with it, you might too. If this happens, please don’t murder me. You may also make a little bit of money, like I did last year. If this happens, I would also prefer not to be murdered.

I’ll be checking in once or twice a week to talk about who I am liking for upcoming series’, as well as keeping track of the success of the SYSTY in general. The MLB season is still young, and the RPI rankings need time to normalize. I’m planning on starting the 2014 SYSTY on either Friday May 9th, or the following Monday. If you have any questions, I’ll answer what I can in the comments. 

Let’s make Pete Rose proud, let’s bet on baseball.

- The Perrs