FALCON POINTS

5 basic betting tips now that more sports have returned

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Now that the NBA and NHL have returned to join MLB, golf and NASCAR, among others, there is no shortage of sports to wager on. If you are going to dive in, we provide a few tips on how to approach these sports, which are all essentially being played under unique rules. That will impact games and wagers. As a general rule, I rarely bet baseball and the NBA, but if you spot some trends, there is money to be made:

1) Don't overdo it

The temptation is there to play everything, especially since we have not had much to bet on. But keep in mind there are lots of options every day now. Pick your spots and be patient. Don't bet just to have action.

2) Don't be afraid to bet on your teams

Sometimes, having an emotional involvement in a team can be a negative. But if you can look at it objectively, it makes sense to bet on the team you follow. It's simple reasoning; you will know more about that team than any other. Sometimes that knowledge will lead you to bet against them. Again, be objective and it can pay off.

3) Throw out the old trends

Treat each sport like it is a new season and you have to develop new trends and data. For instance, early in the real regular season, hockey overs were easy money. But in the re-start, defenses and goalies have been well ahead, and that trend has reversed. Keep in mind some hockey and basketball teams have players who were out when the season was paused and have returned now, so you are starting from scratch in many ways. In baseball, watch for struggling high profile pitchers and bet against them until it turns around. In hockey, keep an eye out for hot goalies. And in the NBA, some teams are more prepared. These are all things to look for.

4) Keep an eye on the bankroll

With so much action available, be smart with your money. One rule I always use is never bet more than 10 percent of your bankroll on a given game. So if you are playing with $100 in your account, your maximum bet should be $10 per game. It will help mitigate your losses and keep you from chasing lost money.

5) Where you bet is critical

Having more than one web site is always a good idea, so you can shop for value and bet where you have the best lines or totals. If you like an over in a baseball game, for instance, and it is 8 runs on Website A and 9 on Website B, clearly you will take the extra run. Also make sure you use sites that will actually pay you when you win. I use two sites - mybookie.ag and BUSR. Both have lots of deposit options, are very user friendly and actually pay you when you win.

Whatever sport you are into, try some of these basic tips and good luck with your wagers.

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Jeremy Pena could have some big shoes to fill. Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images.

MLB and the MLBPA are embroiled in yet another labor dispute. The owners and players have both dug in their heels and refuse to budge. No end is in site for the lockout as Spring Training is drawing more and more near each passing day. So what does that mean for our 2022 Astros' season?

One sigh of relief came when Justin Verlander signed his new deal. Two years for $50 million dollars isn't bad at all. Factor in he's closer to my age than my son (coming off Tommy John surgery), and some may worry. Not me. He's the closest thing to Tom Brady MLB has seen since Nolan Ryan. Jim Crane and James Click did a great job bringing him back. His spot as the ace with the rest of the staff they have should help shore up the bullpen if one or two starters can make that transition. I know I said I didn't want him back a few months ago, but time has passed, and wounds have been healed.

When it comes to Carlos Correa, I'm growing more and more comfortable with the thought that he may not be back. I talked about his potential replacement months ago. Maybe the reason being is that the club loves Jeremy Peña at that same position, and Pedro Leon could also factor in. Plus, Peña is tearing the cover off the ball in the winter leagues.

At 24 years old, turning 25 in September, he'll be under team control for the foreseeable future. That truly depends on the new labor agreement. So does Correa's new contract. His contract will be largely based on the parameters set in the new labor agreement, since he didn't sign before the lockout took place. And now we know that contact will be negotiated by Correa's new agent, Scott Boras.

I'm all for the doom and gloom when it comes to an MLB labor issue because they've historically screwed over fans. The most notable and egregious was the '94 World Series being canceled. However, there's way too much money at stake right now. More money than ever to be exact. That said, it's precisely why there's a dispute. That, and the fact that the owners have always gotten over on fans and players, and the players are poised to get their just due.

When the season starts, the Astros should be contenders yet again. Don't look for them to come out the gate firing on all cylinders as this team may look a bit different. Guys may not be fully ready after a lockout and there will be some roster turnover. The bulk of the core will be here, ready, and healthy. Whether Correa is a part of that group remains to be seen. Am I concerned? Hell no! This team has enough to fill that void at least partially and will have either guy under team control for a while. Think about this upcoming season as the time you fixed up your older car. New tires, headlights restored, rims polished, inside made over, and a fresh coat of paint after the transmission rebuild. It still has over 150,000 miles on it, but you wouldn't trade it in for anything because it still runs well and has sentimental value. You know one day it'll give out and need to be put out to pasture, but you're holding on and riding until the wheels fall off. Enjoy Astro fans, because the ride will be over one day. Hopefully much later than sooner.

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