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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM

It’s RIVALRY WEEK in college football, and there are even some divisional rivalry games in the NFL this Sunday too. That means this is the perfect time to discuss some Advanced Handicapping theories for these particular matchups.

I’m aware that this has been a hot topic this week around cyberspace, and I don’t want to just repeat what everyone else is saying. I’ve seen some good advice out there…and I’ve seen some bad advice. What I want to give you is PROVEN guidance for how to pick more winners than losers in all the big rivalry games that are scheduled throughout Thanksgiving Weekend.

Of course, rivalry games will be a major part of my annual Thanksgiving Weekend extravaganza that will continue the money making steamroller that my NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER has become this year. Be sure you check my video updates and the “buy picks” page at this website for game day details each and every morning.

I won’t divulge all of my secrets in today’s study session. Here are some Advanced Handicapping tips that I believe you should be using this weekend.


Not all rivalries are created equal. The TV announcers like to tell you that anything can happen in a rivalry game because emotions are intense. Well, I won’t argue about the emotions being intense. But, programs who recruit gamebreakers will have an edge over those who can’t in these matchups, no matter what the emotions are. In some years, for every two rivalry upsets, there may be three or four rivalry blowouts. Everyone pays attention to those upsets and starts to think they are the norm. They’re part of the fabric, but they are far from the complete story.

I strongly suggest you review series histories in all the major rivalry games. Some coaches know exactly how to beat other coaches in terms of finding a weak point and attacking it. This enables them to beat Vegas expectations roughly two-thirds of the time. That’s a nice percentage to have in your favor when you attack a schedule. Remember to focus on CURRENT head coaches though. It doesn’t matter what happened five or six years ago if neither of these head coaches was involved at the time. (Note that series histories are a very underrated part of NFL handicapping in my view).


One of the key tenants in college football handicapping is knowing how to properly use “revenge.” All local media coverage for rivalry games will focus on what happened last year…and how last year’s loser wants to make changes that will reverse the result this year.

You may not care much about Mississippi-Mississippi State if you live in Washington…and you may not care much about Washington-Washington State if you live in Mississippi. But, wherever a rivalry game is being played, the local media cares A LOT and will make revenge a big theme.

I think revenge can be a profitable intangible in your corner when:

*The superior team was upset last year

*The home team was upset last year

*A dog has revenge against a favorite who plays in a conference championship game next week

*There was notable “bad blood” on the field in terms of cheap shots and dirty play

*A senior-heavy team has lost at least two straight games to their rival

I think revenge is often overrated when:

*The inferior team lost last year

*A team with clear weaknesses is talking about revenge rather than fixing their weaknesses

*The avenging team has a bunch of young starters who haven’t bought into the rivalry yet

Senior impact players have a much better shot at getting revenge than sophomores do, because they recognize the importance of the occasion in their life history and try to play the games of their lives.

(What about NFL revenge? We have a few possibilities in that regard Sunday. I’m not going to divulge any information right now though because I may have a major release in one of those divisional matchups.)


Advanced Handicapping must always focus on line value. If you believe that a Vegas line has strongly OVER-reacted to media hype about revenge in a marquee matchup, then you’ll be best served by betting the other way. There are usually a few games a year where the public falls hook, line, and sinker for a supposedly “revenge-minded” team that just isn’t good enough to play to the new expectations.

*A team that should be priced at -7 is suddenly -10 because the public is betting “revenge.” Is that team really trustworthy as a double digit favorite?

*A game that would normally be a toss-up is now priced at -3. You don’t think the new underdog is upset about getting disrespected? And, tired of hearing about how fired up the other guys are going to be?

Advanced Handicapping is knowing when to zig, knowing when to zag, and being CERTAIN you zig when the majority of bettors are zagging.

Our next written presentation won’t appear until next week. But, I will have videos posted at this website throughout the weekend that will guide you through the holiday schedule. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend…as we continue to make this A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER

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