Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 12:36 PM
Sometimes the key to Advanced Handicapping is simply seeing something that Las Vegas oddsmakers are missing. That was one of the fundamentals for my big play success this past week (when I won both of my 100-unit releases, both of my 75-unit releases, and went 9-1 over 10 releases).
It just boggles my mind that oddsmakers haven’t noticed that Jim Harbaugh can coach! Everyone else noticed it very quickly…particularly when his Stanford Cardinal upset powerful USC as a 40-plus poing underdog a few years ago. This was back when USC was a semi-pro team…and Stanford was in the early stages of rebuilding under Harbaugh.
He was so successful at Stanford that he was gobbled up very quickly by the NFL. He’s created an IMMEDIATE turnaround with the San Francisco 49ers who were supposedly years away from being relevant because they didn’t have quarterback and prior coach Mike Singletary had done so much damage.
Harbaugh’s excellence this year is being seen with two different teams simultaneously. He left his Stanford program in fantastic shape with assistant David Shaw taking over on the sidelines and probable #1 draft pick Andrew Luck running the show in the huddle. His 49ers are already runaway winners in the NFC West with a 7-1 record. There are two second-place teams tied with a 2-6 record. He already has a five-game lead with only eight to go!
With that set-up, here were my two 100-star plays this past weekend:
College: Stanford (-21) beat Oregon State 38-14
NFL: San Francisco (-4.5) beat Washington 19-11
San Francisco was up 19-3 very late in the game before allowing a garbage time TD that didn’t mean anything. They were in command the whole way. Stanford didn’t quite bring the fire I was hoping, but this is a team that will keep piling up the points because weak opponents can’t stop their running attack. If Stanford tries to run out the clock on the ground they still pile on the points!
Now, check out THESE records against Las Vegas expectations:
Stanford: 9-0 ATS this season
Stanford: 14-0-1 ATS their last 15 games
San Francisco: 7-0-1 ATS this season
Harbaugh: 12-0-2 ATS his last 14 games!
Talk about a blind spot! The market is gradually moving in the direction of the excellence Harbaugh has created in two different locales. But, the numbers aren’t there yet. He’s STILL better than everyone realizes. His 49ers were cheaply priced considering they have a great defense and were facing an opponent that has no playmakers on offense. (Remember, I had a 200-unit Game of the Year against Washington the prior week when Buffalo shut them out). I’ll admit that Stanford was lucky to cover at Southern Cal two weeks ago. They really should be 8-1 ATS this season and 13-1-1 ATS the last 15 games. Those are still obviously great records.
If you were watching my videos last week, you heard me talk about how tight the lines were getting. I warned that you’d have to be picky finding the best options because value had been taken away from so many talented favorites with high lines. I knew at the time this was a blind spot I would be taking advantage of. Oddsmakers have improved through the season in terms of their full-board coverage. They haven’t covered ALL of the bases though.
There also appears to be a blind spot about the city of Houston! Both of my 75-unit plays last week were on Houston…the Cougars in the colleges in their blowout win over UAB…and the Texans in the NFL where they crushed Cleveland. I knew Case Keenum wouldn’t let up because he’s trying to set records…and the team is trying to stay undefeated and crash the BCS party. I knew Colt McCoy was going to be overmatched by a vastly improved Texans defense. Both games were easier than the final scores made it sound…and we won by comfortable margins to begin with.
I will definitely be monitoring the lines this week to see if Vegas is going to catch up to reality. Stanford has a very tough game with Oregon…and that’s a matchup they DIDN’T cover last year even when Harbaugh was there. Houston is an expensive favorite again this Thursday Night at Tulane. San Francisco is getting some line respect this week as a home favorite against the NY Giants (who are in a tough letdown spot after beating New England). The Houston Texans visit a Tampa Bay team that hasn’t impressed me much this season.
Who knows, maybe I’ll be talking about these same exact teams a week from now. Just be aware that these aren’t the only blind spots I’m aware of in the market. One reason I feel safe to talk about these dynamics now is that I’ve circled a few other teams for big play attention this weekend. I’ll have more information about that in my videos later this week.
Thanks for reading this entry in my continuing College of Advanced Handicapping course. Be sure to add “find oddsmaker blind spots” into your arsenal! I’ll be back again later this week for the next edition. I’m currently planning a primer on early season college basketball from the Advanced Handicapping perspective that will run before the big North Carolina-Michigan State game set for this Friday. Congrats to all of you who won with me this past weekend, and on this hot streak that goes back a lot longer than just a few days. Only Kelso Sturgeon wins for you, AND teaches you how to win!