The great Yogi Berra once said, “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.” In many ways I have to agree. No matter how many games I attend in person or watch on television there are still surprises. No one has seen it all. Yet, some people find baseball a rather slow-paced affair. If you are a gambler, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this article if you weren’t, you probably find that placing a little wager on a sporting event makes it that much more enjoyable to watch. It gives you a real stake in the outcome.
I grew up watching the San Francisco Giants. They are my home team and I follow them extremely closely now. I photograph the team and this year I will be writing extensively on the individual players as well as the team as a whole. Of course, as a journalist I would never place a wager on baseball myself, but I have noticed trends that may help the gamblers among us make a tidy profit.
So, let’s take a look at the 2014 San Francisco Giants and I will unfold my extremely easy method for exploiting both the strengths and weaknesses throughout this long 162 game season. After winning two World Championships in three years the Giants had a truly forgettable 2013 season with a 76-86 record, finishing 3rd in the NL West. After assessing the dismal performances last summer, General Manager Brian Sabean and the powers that be decided to spend a truckload of money to basically field the exact same team in 2014.
So, why overspend just to keep the band together? Consistency? An over-abundance of number 55 jerseys left in stock? I have no idea. I understand the marketing value of Lincecum on the mound but certainly the Giants could have found a better arm for $35 million. So my prediction, as much as I hate to make it, is that Timmy is going to continue to get lit up by the opposition. I know he’s worked harder then he usually does in the off-season and I’d love to be wrong on my assessment of him…but it seems to be a downward spiral and $17.5 million a year is a lot to spend on someone who is going to end up being a middle reliever.
The Giants exchanged the extremely overpaid Barry Zito for the reasonably overpaid Tim Hudson. ($23 million for two years.) Along with Mark Mulder, Zito and Hudson were part of the “big three” for Oakland 15 years ago. Yeah, 15 years ago. So, there’s that.
Ryan Vogelsong is back too!! He’s a bargain since his new contract is heavily incentive-laden. (I’m doubtful that he achieves the goals he needs to make them kick in.) He posted a 7.19 ERA in his first nine starts last year including letting a rather amazing 11 home runs sail over his head, then he got hit by a pitch which fractured his hand.
My point, in case you haven’t yet guessed it, is that the Giants pitching rotation does not seem much improved in my mind. I believe it’s extremely vulnerable.
So, let’s flip the coin and look at the optimistic half of the Giants line-up. 2014 seems to be a year of real offense for San Francisco. Michael Morse is a tremendous addition to the line-up card. Sure he’ll be stomping and struggling around the outfield, but when he gets into the batter’s box there will be joy. My prediction is at least a dozen dingers this season for Morse. Hunter also looks great, and Morse and Hunter are already as thick as thieves. Sandoval has come into camp fitter then ever for his contract year. He has scouts to impress, after all. And Buster Posey looks loaded for bear. While Pablo Sandoval was shedding the pounds in the off months, Posey was adding muscle to help him make it through the grind. Angel Pagan is healthy too, at least for the moment. So, the Giants are set to put runs up on the board. Even Brandon Belt may finally have his breakout year at bat.
The one caveat is that Scutaro is having back problems already. He may really be on his way out of baseball, as sad a prospect as that is for all of us. You can’t beat time, Mother Nature always bats last.
Okay, okay, all you Bovada members, here is the system. It’s fun, it will keep you involved and you’ll get a ton of action throughout the season. Three words, my friends, three little words: BET THE OVER. Bad pitching and good hitting means high scoring games. The Giants are going to have lots of double digit games, not that they are going to win most of them, but they’ll be fun to watch.
Of course, as with every good betting system, there’s a fly in the ointment, a wrench in the works. It’s Madison Bumgarner. Listen folks, he’s the ace. The one proven entity. And Bumgarner hasn’t even reached his peak yet. He may go Cy Young this year. Trust me, it could happen. So the system may not work with Bum on the bump. So, bet the total to go over on every game except the Bumgarner games. It’s as simple as that. For the system to work you have to do it consistently. The Giants pitching staff is going to get beat up, and the bats are going to wake up.
That’s my prediction and I’ll continue to keep you posted on the tally as the season progresses.
I’ll see you at the ballpark.