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Baltimore Orioles Betting Tips – American League Preview: Baltimore Orioles

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 2/14/2013 6:16:09 PM

Football betting experts know that the Baltimore Ravens scored a very improbable win over the Denver Broncos in the 2013 AFC Divisional Playoff Game, en route to a Super Bowl title. The Baltimore Orioles' 2012 baseball season was an extended version of the Ravens' unlikely win over Denver. Baltimore's baseball team simply won a ridiculous percentage of one-run and extra-inning games last season, which means that the percentages will militate against a playoff season for the Orioles in 2013.

Let's appreciate what happened last year over the course of six months: The 2012 O's, with closer Jim Johnson coming out of nowhere to register 51 saves, won their first 74 games when leading after seven innings. The Orioles became a remarkably good eighth- and ninth-inning team, and they were sensational in extra frames. Baltimore went 31-10 in one-run games, including the American League Division Series against the New York Yankees (the Orioles went 2-1 in one-run games against the Yanks).  The Orioles also won 16 straight extra-inning games in 2012, making a mockery of the laws of averages. Extra-inning games are crapshoots, and while good teams will certainly produce the pitching that gets them through a reasonable percentage of close contests, no team should win 16 in a row in bonus cantos. That's an extraordinary run of good fortune, a magic carpet ride that is not likely to be reproduced anytime soon.

It's not unheard of for analysts at online sports books to change their tune on a given team from one season to another, and when baseball betting gurus tackle the 2013 Orioles, they're going to look at 2012's aberrational statistics and realize that it's going to be very hard for Baltimore to catch lightning in a bottle yet again. The Orioles will certainly enter the coming season with a full tank of confidence, but the ball might not bounce their way as regularly. The main concern is the bullpen, which has to come close to its 2012 level of proficiency in order for the O's to get back to the postseason. Johnson lost twice against the New York Yankees in the 2012 ALDS, which is when (and why) the Orioles' 74-0 record when leading after seven innings turned into a 74-2 mark for the season. Johnson has to shrug off that event; if he doesn't, the year could quickly spiral out of control for manager Buck Showalter.

In terms of hitting prowess, the Orioles got so many clutch hits from a number of unlikely sources last year: catcher Taylor Teagarden, shortstop J.J. Hardy, platoon outfielder Lew Ford, and first baseman Chris Davis. The Orioles had a few particularly dependable hitters in their lineup, chiefly centerfielder Adam Jones and rightfielder Nick Markakis, but for the most part, this was a "score runs by committee" approach, with the 26-man roster making a full set of contributions. That model will have to remain in place for the Orioles in 2013. They're not going to overwhelm opponents with only two or three hitters carrying the entirety of the workload.

When poker is played, the dealer acquires a great deal of centrality and importance. Baltimore's starting pitchers are young, but they were certainly dealing throughout 2012, and they must be able to stand on the mound and deliver once again if this team is going to fulfill its potential.

Wei-Yin Chen, Miguel Gonzalez, Jason Hammel, Tommy Hunter, and Brian Matusz all came into their own in 2012. They have to remain in command of their newfound powers in 2013 if Baltimore is going to play more mid-October baseball.

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