Diamond gems

Jul 6, 2004 6:31 AM

One of the pleasures in writing about sports gambling is fielding the number of baseball trends slammed up the middle.

With the assistance of many, here’s our Top 10 list of trends. Understand, of course, these tools of brilliance can change with the stock market.

By-coastal unders (21-2): Word is to bet "under" on any two teams that both played the day before and then travel coast to coast. The jet lag factor occurred once this season (May 31) when both the Blue Jays and Mariners traveled cross country to face each other in Seattle.

The Mariners won 6-2 with the posted total at 8½. A win, though narrow, still smells sweet. Unfortunately, this situation occurs about as often as an eclipse. Next sightings are Aug. 16 (Atlanta/San Diego, Montreal/San Francisco) and Aug. 23 (San Diego/NY Mets, Tampa Bay/Seattle, Baltimore/Oakland).

Daily sparks (0-16): Knuckleballer Steve Sparks, formerly with Detroit and now on the Arizona staff, seems to be allergic to winning in the sunlight. Sparks lost twice in sunlight this year (San Francisco, Florida) and posted a no-decision last week against Detroit.

Virgin deliveries: (9-2): All of us that closely scan the pitching matchups are often detoured when seeing a rookie making his major league debut. Don’t be. Teams are 9-2 this season when bringing up new blood. Ignorance is bliss. Batters don’t know these kids and they often pitch well.

Dodging AL trips (3-16): Sadly, this trend took a beating this past weekend when the Dodgers visited the Angels in Anaheim and saw each game go "over" the total. Previously, "unders" were 16-1 when LA visited AL parks. Unless the Dodgers make the World Series, dig this one up next year.

Overcome with Cincy: Runs have come in bunches for the Reds thanks to Ken Griffey Jr, Adam Dunn and Sean Casey. Since June 5, Cincinnati games have gone "over" the posted total 19 of 26 times. Reds ace Paul Wilson has benefited the most with five straight "overs" until failing Saturday. But Wilson won his start, 4-2.

Rocky Mountain high: GamingToday contributing columnist Andy Iskoe noted on a local radio show that oddsmakers are underplaying the posted totals due to Colorado’s rash of injuries. But Larry Walker and Preston Wilson are back, and the total runs have been 19, 17, 17 and 18 the past four games. Expect a rash of "overs" at Coors Canaveral in the second half of the season.

Homeplate Tim: The really cerebral bettors know from checking the umpire rotation that Tim Timmons behind the plate is pure money. The "under" is 15-2 with T squared calling balls and strikes. In fact, the streak is 11 straight dating back to May 4. Timmons umped Randy Johnson’s game Sunday.

Weekends with Cleveland: Another assist from Iskoe on this one. The Indians are 9-2 on weekends since May 29 and 15-11 overall this season. Better yet, the Tribe has swept its last five Saturday and Sunday home games at Jacobs Field dating back to May 1-2. That’s 10-0, and Cleveland hosts Oakland this weekend.

One nation under Radke: A personal favorite of mine. A few years ago Minnesota pitcher Brad Radke went almost the entire season pitching games that landed below the posted total. Last season the stat took a beating, but Radke has bounced back. Right now the "under" is 10-7 in his starts after opening 0-2.

Call Roto Rueter: "Captain Kirk" began 8-0 in his 1993 rookie season for Montreal. The lefty is 123-79 (60.9 percent) and we haven’t a clue how! Opposing batters are hitting .307 this year and .279 lifetime. Rueter is 4-6 this year with the Giants and has never won more 16 in a season. Kirk won last Saturday and the trend could be back.