It Happens every Spring

One of the pleasant things about living in Yerington, NV., a small mining town 70 miles south of Reno, was the fact that the community's two casinos offered baseball betting.

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Now I have always been a baseball fan. I followed the Pittsburgh Pirates when I was growing up in Sutersville, about 19 miles south of Pittsburgh. And when I moved to Phoenix, AZ., I switched allegiance and became an Arizona Diamondback fan.

I was only in Yerington about three weeks. But during that time, I spent many enjoyable hours at the casinos making wagers on baseball games -- and winning.

I made my selections based on a strategy that involved money lines and betting against the favorites. You don't have to win a majority of games when you follow this strategy, by the way. By taking the underdog, you are being paid more than you wagered if you win.

Gamblers who wager on football need to worry about point spreads. An NFL team plays only 16 games a season while a Major League Baseball team plays 160 games. That means yoou have a total of 2,430 games each year to choose from. That gives you a lot of leverage.

Baseball is a wonderful game that happens every spring. One of the fun aspects of betting on baseball is that you can select your favorite team to follow. Read the sports pages of your local newspaper and the sports magazines. Find out what the managers are doing to strengthen that team and keep statistics.

Learn which teams have the strong bullpens because strong bullpens win games. They can especially help an underdog team in the late innings when a game is close.

Don't expect to win all your games. You won't. But if you make intelligent wagers on teams that are not the favorites in good situations, you could win only 40 percent of the games and still wind up with a significant profit.

Just because fans favor a team or a team has a lot of talent doesn't automatically make that team a winner.

Here are a few tips to consider when you are deciding which team to back with your money.

If a team has been on a long road trip (seven to 10 games) and returns home and is an underdog, that is a good bet. The local fans have been deprived of baseball for more than a week. They are excited and will show their excitement in the stands. This invigorates the players and makes them play better. Hey, it's Home Sweet Home!

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Another good bet is a team that won its previous game by a big score -- say 10 runs. If it is the underdog against a top team, it's worth a bet. The players believe in themselves and will often overperform in that contest.

If a team was shut out and goes into a game as an underdog, the money line may give you good value on a bet. No team likes to be shut out. They will often take vengeance on the opposing team.

If you have sized up two teams and think one team has a 50-50 chance of beating the favorite and you can get a good plus money line of 130 or more, that is an excellent bet. Take it.

Money line bets seem to work especially well early in the season. Watch for opportunities during the months of April and May. By June, the contenders are usually fairly well lined up and your opportunities lessen.

If a team loses two games in a row and the second game was as an underdog, the third game is often a good bet whether the team is on the road or at home.

Bet underdogs in division games. Those are the games a team focuses on and they should not be ignored.

Now all we have to do is wait until next spring. Take me out to the ball game...

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