07/16/2012 06:05 PM
Weekly Betting Notes
July 16, 2012
If you go through the bio’s of some of the top sports book directors throughout Las Vegas history, you’ll notice that quite a few of them hail from the steel city of Pittsburgh, PA. Legends like Jack Franzi, Art Manteris, Bert Osborne, and Jimmy Vaccaro all made their way to Las Vegas and were instrumental in shaping the way we all now know the modern sports book operation to be.
One of the newer additions to the Pittsburgh lineup making his mark in Las Vegas is Cantor Gaming’s sports book director Mike Colbert, who hails from the Scott Township, South Park area of Pittsburgh. While his chain of beautiful sports books may not fare the best if his Pittsburgh Pirates win the World Series, it’s a bitter-sweet trade off that Colbert wouldn’t be overly disappointed about.
“I‘m extremely excited about the Pirates thus far,” said Colbert. “It’s been a long time since they been this good and it brings up memories of all the good times in the early 90’s, not just of winning the NL East three straight years, but also the good times of going to about 30 games a year with my Grandpa.”
It certainly has been a long time for the Pirates. Try 19 years of futility that has not only seen them miss the playoffs each year, but also have a losing record, the longest stretch of continually losing in MLB history. As we near the end of July, the Pirates are currently 10 games above .500 and are one game out of first-place behind the Reds.
But Colbert isn’t very optimistic, perhaps trying not to be overly excited in anticipation of a failure occurring to lessen the disappointment.
“Look, this is the best team they’ve had since those (Barry) Bonds years when he choked in all three of those playoff series, but they were in first-place near the end of July last year and still finished with a losing record.
“They have a good young team and it looks like the team is committed to the future and winning by having their star player, Andrew McCutchen, bottled up, which is something we haven’t seen the Pirates ever do in the modern age of baseball, but I don’t think they’ll be able to top the Reds in the division. I hope they can, but I don’t realistically see it happening.”
This season there is an added dimension like never seen before with an additional wild card team making the playoffs. Pittsburgh is currently tied with the Braves at the top of the list, two games above the Dodgers.
“I’d be very surprised if the Pirates got one of those wild card sports,” said Colbert.
Despite the Pirates failures last season that saw them finish 72-90, this year's version looks a little more prepared for a good run due to veteran leadership, some experience from last year's run and most of all, better pitching. You can’t put a value on the veteran presence of playoff tested players like A.J. Burnett, Casey McGehee, and Rod Barajas. They also have McCutchen on an MVP run playing better than anyone in baseball, yes, better than even Mike Trout.
If the Pirates did somehow make the playoffs and then win the World Series, Colbert says his books would lose, but it’s only the fourth-worst scenario for the house.
“We opened the Pirates at 150-to-1, but had lowered the odds as they got on their run and before 150-to-1 found any real takers, and we‘ve been steady at 30-to-1 on them for a while.
“The teams that do the most damage are the Dodgers, Nationals, and Mets. We had the Dodgers at 30-to-1 to start the season and they reeled off all those early wins and had people excited. The Nationals were 50-to-1 and the Mets were 100-to-1.“
Despite possible losses just under six figures if the Pirates win it all, you can bet that Colbert will still be silently rooting for his Battling Bucs.
The Amazing Ben Sheets
Who needs Brandon Beachy when the Braves can pull two gems out of no where and turn them into superstars? First, we saw a magical transformation in Jair Jurrjens and now we have Ben Sheets throwing six scoreless innings Sunday against the Mets. Sheets hadn’t pitched since 2010 and was coming off Tommy John surgery. He only pitched 10 innings of Double-A ball prior to Sunday, but looked as sharp and crisp as he did when he was one of the best pitchers in baseball during the 2000’s.
The Pirates have continued to smoke the ball and lead baseball in runs scored (65), total bases (194) home runs (17) and batting average (.315) in the month of July through Sunday. Yes, the Lumber company has definitely been revived. The charge has been led by Andrew McCutchen (.514) and Neil Walker (.474).
The Cubs couldn’t give Alfonso Soriano’s big contract away two months ago, even if agreeing to pay most or all of his $18 million salary. But no one has been a bigger power source over the last two months, which now gives Theo Epstein some leverage as the trade deadline approaches. Soriano has hit 17 home runs since May 15 and could be a nice fit for a contending team, most likely an American League team because his defense would make any NL defense worse.
Another Cubs player that will find plenty of suitors around both leagues is Ryan Dempster, who started off the season as a tough luck loser, but is now hotter than any pitcher in baseball. Despite an ERA of 2.14 through May 25, the Cubs had a 1-7 record behind him. Since then, the Cubs have reeled off six straight wins with Dempster on the mound and he hasn’t allowed a run in his past five starts bumping his record to 5-3. His next start will be at St. Louis Friday against Kyle Lohse.
Even though the Marlins aren’t hitting the ball, Mark Buehrle is doing exactly what the Marlins paid him to do, stop losing streaks and win games. He’s won his last four starts allowing a combined three runs over 28 2/3 innings.
Braves closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a run on June 28 in a non-save situation that ended a streak of 17 straight games/innings without a run. Over that stretch, he only allowed three hits. He’s now on a stretch of six straight games without allowing a run and has converted all five save opportunities while surrendering only one hit. At the same time, the Braves have won seven games in a row heading into Monday’s games making them almost the hottest team in baseball.
That distinction goes to the Oakland A’s who have won nine of their past 10 games through Sunday allowing only 18 runs in the nine wins. The offense has come alive and look like a recreation of the movie ’Moneyball’. Billy Beane is doing it again with players at bargain basement prices ($55 Million, 2nd lowest) and has the team three games over .500 and eight games out of first. We’ll see what they’re made off this week at home with a two-game series against first-place Texas and the first-place Yankees for four. Mark me down for Jarrod Parker against Phil Hughes on Saturday.
On Sunday, the Pirates finally lost a game that A.J. Burnett started, ending a streak of 12 straight wins. Yankees starter Ivan Nova was once the rock of stability giving the Yankees a virtual guarantee of winning the last two seasons, but the Yankees have lost three of his past four starts. The Astros are in a terrible tail spin that has seen them drop 13 of their past 14 games through Sunday. Their last two game win streak came on June 27. Believe it or not, the feared lineup of the Rangers have scored the fewest runs (20) of all MLB teams in July while hitting .228. Even the Astros have scored 26 runs.
Mario Mendoza spent two seasons with the Seattle Mariners and is most famous for his name bearing the dubious distinction of poor hitting called ’The Mendoza line’, meaning a player’s batting average is under .200. For the month of July, the Mariners squad was collectively batting an MLB worst .198 through Sunday, the same average of Mendoza’s during the 1979 season.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: