Be on the lookout for ‘swagger’ MLB betting plays

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It’s been great to see crowds returning to sporting events, but we’ve been troubled by all the bad behavior, with spectators throwing things or spitting at players and charging the field or court.

Sure, we remember tennis player Monica Seles getting stabbed by a fan in April 1993, followed a few months later by “Fan Man” parachuting into the outer ring at Caesars Palace during the Evander Holyfield-Riddick Bowe fight. But the examples are few and far between since then, though the “Malice at the Palace” brawl involving fans, the Pistons and the Pacers in 2004 probably being the ugliest of all.

There’s always been booing and heckling of opponents with the occasional streaker, but we’ve never seen fans crossing the line as much as we’ve seen lately. Part of the cause is that we’ve all been quarantined for pretty much a full year, but that’s no excuse.

As a rule, I try to avoid commenting on off-the-field events like this unless it directly impacts the gambling aspects of the game. For instance, it was certainly notable last fall that the lack of fans in the stands affected home-field advantage in the NBA and NHL playoffs as well as MLB. However, this has been on my mind because I’ve been streaking a lot lately. Before you call the local authorities, I’m talking about betting on streaks, so you see it’s possible to make anything into a gambling topic!

It certainly isn’t rare to want to bet on hot teams and against cold teams. That’s pretty much human nature. In baseball, I don’t consider a team streaking until there are wins or loses against multiple teams. Sweeping a bad team or getting swept by a great team for three or four games doesn’t mean as much as when the team continues the streak to another series, so that’s when I look to jump on the bandwagon.

If you’ve watched or listened to VSiN over the past four years, you’ve probably heard some of our hosts and guests talking about betting on or against streaks. The key is to find the ones that will last and not jump in too late. It’s also important because you don’t want to be fading a streak (a friend calls that “getting in front of a train”). There’s another old saying that goes: “If you’re fading a streak, you can lose multiple times, but if you’re backing a streak, you lose only once.”

The A’s had a 13-game winning streak in April.
The A’s had a 13-game winning streak in April.
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In my mind, this is best illustrated by an episode of “The Simpsons” when Krusty the Clown was asked why he had bet against the Harlem Globetrotters. Krusty replied, “I thought the Generals were due.” You don’t want to be that clown.

We’ve seen several MLB streaks lately. The A’s had a 13-game winning streak in April and the Rays had an 11-game joyride, while the Diamondbacks ended a 10-game skid last weekend. Entering Saturday, the Royals had the longest winning streak (five) and the Marlins the longest skid (seven). Plenty of opportunities will exist to jump on the bandwagon by betting straight on those that continue their streaks or, if you’re like me and don’t like eating all that chalk, parlaying the ones you like best.

The other part of streak betting is that once a team on a long losing streak of six or more games in any sport wins a game, you look to bet on it to win again. “Mike/tpking” called this the “swagger” theory in the VFV Forums, as we often see teams like this get their swagger after snapping a losing streak and winning another game. It works the other way too. We call these “anti-swagger” plays, as a team that has a long winning streak snapped will often have a letdown and drop a second game. This works especially well in college football.

So my advice is to check the MLB standings daily to see which teams are streaking and bet accordingly, but also to be on the lookout for those swagger and anti-swagger spots.

Happy streaking (but not onto any fields or courts).


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