The first pitch of the 2006 baseball betting season has been thrown — over / under projected victories.
This prop has emerged one of the most requested listings. Last year we at GT made 11 over/under predictions, hitting six. Of the 30 major league teams, 16 wound up below the projected victory totals, 11 above and 3 matched.
In other words, this could be a profitable prop for bettors if limiting the number of teams they like either way. This season, the two NL teams I like the most play in stadiums owned and operated by major beer companies — the Colorado Rockies (Coors) and Milwaukee Brewers (Miller).
Not only should each go over the projected total, they could actually contend all year in their respective divisions.
"I’m a big Rockies booster as well," said Mike Colbert, the aggressive sports book guru under head man Lou D’Amico at The Plaza. "I like the improvements Colorado has made and there are no dominant teams in the NL West."
Here’s a capsule of Colbert’s top plays.
UNDER: Yankees, Red Sox, Cubs: Toronto will take wins away from both the Yanks and Red Sox in the AL East. The Cubs pitching is a question mark with Prior and Wood will be out the first few weeks. Maddux won’t get 15 wins. It’s all on Zambrano.
OVER: Rockies, Brewers, Dodgers, A’s, Braves, Royals: Milwaukee’s hitting and pitching has improved. Oakland and Atlanta are both built for the regular season and should reach 90 wins. I like the Dodgers staff with Lowe, Penny and Edwin Jackson, who is ready to come into his own.
As for me, I’ll pick a few off the bat with the right to change as the exhibition season approaches.
OVER: Colorado, Milwaukee, Tampa Bay: These are three teams on the rise in a more balanced major league picture. Each has youth, better hitting and pitching than you think and fans hungry to respond to anything positive.
UNDER: Washington, Minnesota, San Francisco, Florida: It will be tough for the Nats and Marlins to compete with Atlanta, Philly and the much improved Mets. Barry Bonds status makes the Giants a high risk. Florida and Minny unloading salaries.
The inaugural World Baseball Classic takes place March 3-20. It should be interesting to watch, though a major interruption to the major league camps. The jury is out, but I think ultimately the Classic is going to be a home run. Phoenix is one of the venues and site for USA’s games. (Complete odds on page 14.)
"Baseball is a favorite time of the year for us," said Colbert, who has helped make The Plaza a prime area for betting downtown. "It’s not our goal to compete with The Strip, but I think we have downtown locked up pretty good."
Any questions, comments or suggestions, please E-mail me at [email protected]