Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, October 17, 2011 at 8:20 PM
I’m coming off a huge weekend in college and pro football. The big highlight was my 200-Unit Blowout of the Year on Washington (-) over Colorado this past Saturday. Several elements from my advanced handicapping strategies were a part of this selection. I believe reviewing those reasons will help all of you pick more winners through the rest of this season and beyond.
The most important thing I’m looking for when I release a “blowout” play is a talent mismatch. Many of you might think this means taking an SEC power against a cupcake from the bottom of their league or another conference. Sometimes that IS the case…and we win 52-7 with a team destined for the BCS. But, there are talent mismatches all over the card on a given Saturday. Sometimes those occur with teams that nobody’s paying attention to.
That’s what we had with Washington on Saturday:
*Washington’s new quarterback Keith Price had been on fire this year. Coming into Saturday he had thrown 17 TD passes with just 4 interceptions (the ratio is now 21-4!). His accuracy had made everyone forget Jake Locker. I don’t have the space today to run through all the different weapons Price has been using this year…but the numbers make it very clear that a Price-led offense will consistently put points on the board.
*Washington’s defense may not be top notch yet, but it is improving.
*Colorado’s quarterback was Tyler Hansen, a senior who’s never been very good. He’s had the position by default because of poor recruiting and decision-making from his prior coaches. His teammates don’t believe in him. Even if they did, he doesn’t have many GOOD teammates!
*Colorado’s defense has been atrocious this year. Here’s a quick review
Colorado allowed 34 points to a Hawaii offense that’s been a disappointment this year
Colorado allowed 30 points in regulation to sluggish California
Colorado allowed 37 points to an Ohio State team that’s really struggled offensively
Colorado allowed 31 points to mediocre Washington State
Colorado allowed 48 points to powerful Stanford
The extreme lack of talent on Colorado’s defense was likely to be very overmatched by this new look Washington offense.
I may not place as much weight “intangibles” as some other handicappers. It depends on the game. In this spot it was pretty clear to me that fresh Washington was going to come in fired up, ready to put on a show….while exhausted Colorado would be down in the dumps knowing they were doomed to experience another lousy season.
*Washington was 4-1 straight up, and already 2-0 in conference play with victories over California and Utah. Having a bye week just before the Colorado game helped them put the hot start in context, and prepare for the second half of the season.
*Colorado was 1-5 straight up, and was coming off that 48-7 shellacking at the hands of Stanford. And, not only were they demoralized, but they were exhausted. This was Colorado’s seventh game in seven weeks without a bye. It was their second straight road game…it was their third road game in four weeks…and this fourth road game of the season meant they had piled up the air miles to Honolulu, Columbus Ohio, Palo Alto, and now Spokane.
Washington would have made a lot of sense if both teams were fresh. Fresh Washington vs. tired Colorado easily made this one of the strongest plays of this year…and probably of the last decade. They would jump to a 21-7 first quarter lead…a 38-10 halftime lead…before coasting to a 52-24 victory. Washington gained over 550 yards, and allowed less than 275.
I talked about the value of home field advantage the last time we were together. I can’t say that was a huge factor in this pick…but it was certainly a bonus kicker. Colorado is new to the Pac 10 this year…and it will take them awhile to adjust to all the new conference stadiums they’ll be playing in (and it will take time for opponents to adjust the altitude in Boulder…which would be more of a factor if Colorado was any good!).
These are the kinds of things you need to be studying if you intend to graduate from my college of advanced handicapping. Study the talent, particularly at quarterback. Know which teams are fresh and which teams are tired. Know which teams are excited about their position in conference races, and which are already down in the dumps because the season is going poorly. Look for spots where home field advantage may be greater than the market recognizes.
Thanks for attending today’s presentation from the College of Advanced Handicapping. I’ll be back Friday to discuss another element of college and pro football handicapping that’s very important. I look forward to seeing you again at that time. Be sure to check for fresh videos this weekend on the home page of this website for the very latest developments from my personal service.