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Mike Lineback/baseball

Written by Brian Gabrielle
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Sometimes flying under the radar is just dandy as far as Profesional Handicappers League All-Around standings leader -- by a large margin -- Mike Lineback is concerned
It's nice to have your name and picture front and center, but disguises can come in handy when a 'capper wants to experiment without being detected.

One year Lineback, who takes pride in his professional
accomplishments and the myriad competitions he has won, entered a baseball contest under an alias, picking only underdogs the whole way.

Playing the right pooches is vital to his long-range winning strategy for beating the baseball bookmaker, which he believes can be done, despite protestations to the contrary.

"Learn to play underdogs or underdog situations with confidence," he said.

"This is the key to long term successful baseball betting and very difficult for the novice gambler (to understand).

"I'm constantly looking for the right combinations of dog situations.

"This may be playing two pricey dogs against each other ... win half and you turn a profit."

Lineback advises diamond gamblers against laying more than minus $1.30, unless they have very valid reasons.

"I can count on two hands how many times I laid more last season and I'm pretty sure I didn't make much of a profit," he said.

Lineback stresses the importance of money management.

"More than any other sport, money management is the key to a successful baseball season," he said

"MLB, by nature, is more prone to losing and winning streaks.

"I recommend betting only 2 to 2.5 percent of bankroll on each wager and never more than 25 percent on any given day."

Lineback also suggests players avoid limiting their repertoires.

"A large part of my arsenal includes high payoff runline plays and two-game parlays," he continued.

"Many handicappers avoid these type bets, but if you pick your spots with the right probabilities and ROI, you can be very successful.

"My No. 1 priority every day when handicapping baseball is finding the best winning board strategy.

"I won't go into details -- it's too much information to pass along --. but sports aren't about picking the best plays.

"Rather, they're about making sure your daily card is well balanced.

"This is more important in baseball than any other sport."

Lineback thinks baseball fans are in for a real treat in the American League East again this year, spotlighted by another much-anticipated duel between Boston and the New York Yankees, with Toronto increasingly intruding as a genuine long shot.

The campaign swings into action with a limited schedule on Sunday, April Fool's Day.

"Toronto has an abundence of talent, but always finds a way to come up short," Lineback noted.

"I really like Boston now that it has decided to keep (Jonathon) Papelbon as closer.

"The additon of (Daisuke) Matsuzaka looks like the real deal and talented (Josh) Beckett should bounce back after a season to adjust to Boston pressures.

"I think (Curt) Schilling has enough talent and competive spirit left to have another successful season and I love Tim Wakefield as a No. 4 or 5 starter who still eats off innings and wins.

"If newcomer (J.D.) Drew can play up to his potential and Willy Mo Pena matures, the Bosox will have one of the best overall lineups in MLB behind powerhouse mainstays (Manny) Ramirez and (David) Ortiz.

"The Yankees have baseball's best lineup, but they're getting older and will miss (Gary) Sheffield's clutch bat, daily intensity and clubhouse leadership.

"Pitching will continue to be their nemesis."

Lineback's Fall Classic pick, though, is the Detroit Tigers, who shocked observers last year by defeating the Yankees in five to win the AL flag before losing to St. Louis in the World Series.

"I like Detroit, Boston and the Yankees to battle for the
title," Lineback said.

"(But) I believe Detroit, with the addition of Sheffield, is the most complete team.

"He could be the missing link that gets the Tigers a title.

"If (Kenny)) Rogers returns to form and young arms continue to mature, they definitely are my favorite to win the World Series."

Lineback targets Rogers and Schilling as the main moundsmen to watch in '07.

"If they continue to pitch at a high level and stay healthy, despite aging, both rotations could fall into place as a result," Lineback said.

The Kansas 'capper views the National League West and Central as baseball's weakest divisions, while adding the backyard Royals are almost certain to win the AL's "Battle of Futility."

"They just can't compete until they turn their entire management system over and bring in a winning philosophy," Lineback said.

"Until then, the Royals are a major play-against team again."

About the author:
Brian Gabrielle is a documented member of the Professional
Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at

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