Betting Tips from a Guy Who’s Reading a Book

In preparation for my best friend’s bachelor party in Vegas this weekend, I’ve been reading Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction, by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner. The book explores how to cultivate and exercise good judgement, which is something we can all use more of, especially in the Age of Trump. It’s worth a read.

So, with my mental acuity honed to a fine point and my perspicaciousness clearer than Tom Cruise after a Thetan removal procedure, I’m ready to descend upon that desert wasteland… I mean, oasis, known as Las Vegas. Which I believe translates to, “The Vegas,” in English.

While March Madness will be the primary focus of my gambling efforts this week, baseball is never too far from my mind. And with Opening Day nearly upon us (one of my favorite lines to write all year), I think it’s time to take a quick look at the upcoming season through the prism of the over-under and futures lines. Tip o’ the cap to Vegas Insider for the numbers used below.

(I wanted to acknowledge my source, even though we weren’t paid for that link. Nonetheless, Vegas Insider, you’re welcome to send-in at any point. Like I said, I’ll be in town this week.)

NL Win Totals O/U
Atlanta Braves – Over 65
I know Atlanta is going to be pretty bad this year. I just don’t think they’ll be 65-wins bad. Plus, they get to play the Phillies a whole bunch.

Chicago Cubs – Over 89
This will probably be the most popular play on the board. With Dexter Fowler back in the fold, this team seems like even more of a mortal lock to crack 90 wins.

Cincinnati – Under 71
The team they fielded down the stretch last year was much better than what they’ll be rolling out this year. Even so, the Reds only managed to win 64 games in 2015.

Miami – Under 80.5
I’m kind of shocked the number was this high. Miami really hasn’t come all that close to breaking 80 wins in a few years. I don’t think 2016 is going to be an exception.

Milwaukee – Under 71.5
Like the Reds, the Brewers have gotten worse since last year, yet their O/U number is higher than 2015’s win total.

AL Win Totals O/U
Cleveland – Over 84
A lot of talent on this team. Should they have found better offseason upgrades than Mike Napoli and Will Venable? Yes. It also feels to me like they’re due for a little luck.

Houston – Over 85.5
Sometimes, teams like the Astros, ones that break through a year or two earlier than expected, suffer through a sophomore slump. I don’t see that happening with Houston.

L.A. Angels – Under 82.5
It’s tough to pick against Mike Trout, but he can’t do it alone. The wheels on this bus are ready to come off at the first sign of trouble.

Seattle – Under 83
Seems like they’re getting too much credit for an active offseason, kind of like the Padres last year. There’s room for a jump of this nature, I’m just not counting on it.

Tampa Bay – Over 78
Depth is this year’s OBP, or shifting, or pitch-framing, or whatever. Anyway, the Rays have it in spades. This team will stand the test of time.

Toronto is my preseason pick for the World Series, and the futures line has them in the upper-middle of the pack, at 18/1. I’ll take that.

Two of the teams listed above – Cleveland (30/1) and Tampa (60/1!) – seem like good long-shot plays.

And, since it is the opening weekend of March Madness, I like:

Michigan State to win it all (tough to bet them at 5/1, though)
Miami (30/1) and Cal (35/1) as long-shot picks
Baylor -5.5 vs. Yale
UNC-Wilmington +10.5 vs. Duke
UT-Chatanooga +12 vs. Indiana
Temple +7.5 vs. Iowa
Wisconsin -1 vs. Pittsburgh
Dayton -1 vs. Syracuse

Best of luck to you all. If these picks are winners, I expect a cut of your winnings. If they’re losers, just remember you decided to follow the advice of some random dude spouting nonsense on the interwebs.



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