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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 9:15 PM

We’ve reached the point in the college schedule where most of the action on the card involves conference games. There will still be several non-conference games scattered around every Saturday through the season. But, the bulk of your college handicapping from this point forward will involve conference games.

There are a few very important keys that Advanced Handicappers have to keep in mind during this transition period. Let’s run through those right now.

*First, you have to remember that the schedule is about to get a lot tougher for many teams than it has been. Far too many schools gave themselves easy schedules in the early weeks. That has created some illusions in every conference involving teams who aren’t really as good as they’ve looked. Don’t fall into traps! I know a few computer guys who get hit hard every year at this time because they’re numbers are way too optimistic about certain teams. You need to see reality.

*The best way to do that from the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS perspective is to evaluate your current listing based on quality of opposition. If you have a team that seems loaded with playmakers, be sure that’s not simply the result of bullying undersized opponents. Guys who broke games open with long runs from scrimmage or touchdown catches against QUALITY opposition will still do the job in conference wars. Guys who did that vs. Northern Arizona, Richmond, or Central Arkansas might not. You want to bet on proven quantities this week. I can’t emphasize that enough.

*What I commonly call “the motivation factor” becomes very important once conference action begins. Everyone is motivated in the first few weeks of a new season. And, nobody is tired yet. In conference action, some rivalry matchups really get the juices flowing while others are just kind of there. A quick example would be in the Big 12. The Texas and Oklahoma teams generally get more fired up for each other than they do for the games against the teams from Kansas and Iowa. This is the point in the schedule where you REALLY need to pay attention to what’s next on everyone’s slate. The last thing you want to do is invest in a team that’s more worried about what they do next week than what they do this week. Your biggest Las Vegas bets should come on teams who have clear talent edges and clear motivational edges.

*One of the hidden benefits of recent conference expansion in the sport of college football is that teams within the same league are now spread out geographically all over the place. I’ve found that this can provide a tremendous boost to a selection if I’m going against a team in a conference game that’s being played in what they would consider to be uncomfortable conditions.

Look to fade:

Road teams playing out of their home time zone

Road teams playing on slow grass who are used to fast turf at home

Road teams playing on fast road turf who are used to slow grass at home

Road teams playing at altitude who are based at or near sea level

Road teams playing in heat who are used to moderate temperatures

Road teams playing in the cold who are used to the heat

Road teams playing in wind or rain who are used to great weather

Factors like these can turn a lean into a 10 or 25-Unit play…or can turn a 50-Unit blockbuster into a 100-Unit or 200-Unit monster.

I’m not going to get any more specific than I already have on this topic because I do have a very big selection planned for Saturday that sits right in the wheelhouse of the keys we’ve discussed today. You probably know that a lot of big conference games are on the TV schedule. I will say that you need to make sure you’re giving due justice to the non-TV games because that’s often where the biggest mismatch edges truly lie. There’s no shortage this week of conference underdogs who will be out of their comfort zone for one reason or another.

You can always purchase my top college and pro plays right here at this very website with your credit card. Be sure to check on baseball too. There’s no room now to talk about baseball principals in the coursework. What we worked on all summer will help you from now through the postseason (that’s why I kept telling you to print every article out!). I do have very affordable rates for the season and for two-sport combination packages.

I’ll be back with you on Tuesday for our next class here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I hope what you’ve been learning has helped your enjoyment of football and increased the profits with your personal Las Vegas betting. I’m continually humbled by the large number of you who return for each and every class. It truly is an honor to be considered “The Dean of Sports Handicapping.” See you again next time.

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