With MLB training beginning Friday, we are about to catch Spring Fever

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Hello sports fans. You may know me as a constant in the Vegas race and sportsbooks, as a bettor, or as a champion sports handicapper.

I am honored to be contributing to GamingToday for the MLB campaign. Over the season, you can expect my top MLB picks and betting angles, current baseball news, and the inside scoop from our own race and sports directors on the biggest bets and who is making them.

With spring training beginning this Friday and the earliest opening day ever, Thursday, March 29, we are about to catch Spring Fever.

Baseball is a sport unlike any other, when it comes to betting. It is a daily sport with full slates, 5-6 days a week and has a long, 162-game regular season.

Like other sports, factors play into making the line, such as home/away and injuries. Unlike other sports, and most-important, is pitching.

Here are a few keys to staying ahead of the curve when betting baseball: No. 1 – Value.

Don’t go above -140. If you drop a -$1.40 play or higher, you need to pick up several consecutive wins to get in the plus column.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – the Run Line. Not so fast. Those extra 1/2 runs are as tough as 1/2 points in football and basketball. There is a time for Run Lines and we will be hitting that soon.

This game is about pitching. Not just starting pitching as you also need to look at the bullpen.

There are quite a few teams with solid starters that can score runs, but they have no bullpen. That is where betting a team for 5-1/2 innings comes into play. We will touch that base when the regular season starts.

Another rule: Don’t bet with your heart. Last, be selective. There’s no crime in passing. There are games every day and odds are, if you don’t like something today, you’ll like something tomorrow.

Over recent years, the popularity of Futures Bets has skyrocketed. Once they were only bet by a few, like a businessman from Cincinnati who came to Vegas for a convention and put $20 on the Reds to win the World Series. Now, from avid fans to sharp bettors, people are wagering serious money on long-term “investments.”

When betting Futures remember, you are tying your money up for six full months, so again – Value! Right now, I don’t see any evidence one of the contenders won’t be taking the Fall Classic. Here are notes on a few:

Dodgers: Won 104 regular season games last year. They have amazing pitching and solid hitting, and don’t forget, one of the best fan bases in baseball.

Indians: Baseball is all about pitching and the Tribe has about the best staff in it.

Astros: An exciting team with great young talent.

Nationals: Loads of talent, but always a bridesmaid, having never made it to the World Series.

Yankees: The Bronx Bombers have bolstered an already dangerous lineup. Do they have the pitching?

Red Sox: They have what it takes, but can they get it together?

Cubs: Just signed Darvish. They have it all, but leadership is an issue.

Some solid teams that offer solid value: Diamondbacks, Cardinals, Brewers, Rockies, and Twins.

VP of race and sports operations for Westgate, Jay Kornegay told me daily baseball wagering has always been consistent, but Futures has gotten more action. So far, the Superbook has written the most tickets to win it all on the Yankees, Cubs and Giants, with the most money wagered on the Yankees, Cubs and Cardinals.

This Sunday, the Superbook will have available wagering on such baseball Futures as Over/Under Total Wins, Divisions, and Props. Kornegay also told me about a brand new contest they are offering, The Season Wins Totals Contest, in which you must pick an over/under season wins total on all 30 teams. It’s $200 per entry, up to entries per person.

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