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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 12:14 PM

I decided to do an additional NFL topic this week and save my notes on the colleges until Tuesday, right before the college regular season begins. It’s become very clear to me since we were last together that the Las Vegas betting market has expressed some very important opinions this week in their dress rehearsal pointspreads. Advanced Handicapping has great respect for the smartest factors in the market, while emphasizing the importance of outperforming the weakest factors in the market.

Smartest Factors: Professional wagerers and a handful of oddsmakers

Weakest Factors: The general public, and most oddsmakers

Look, I have great respect for many oddsmakers, particularly those who have proven their excellence over a long period of time. The more old-school they are, the more I probably like them. Las Vegas currently has been overrun by a corporate style that tends to copy what’s out there and play it safe rather than make a true evaluation on teams. That mindset has made the market softer in my view. That’s why you see so many big line moves on the openers when the professional wagerers first bring their money to the counter. There wouldn’t be big line moves on the openers if the openers were good!

This week there have been some very clear moves against certain types of teams that must be brought to your attention if you’re going to be applying the fundamentals of Advanced Handicapping. In fact, the following list of teams is going to be very much in line with what you were probably already thinking based on your preliminary assessments of GAMEBREAKERS and PLAYMAKERS across the league.

Based on my discussions with those in the know, and my own read of the markets, I’m confident that I can tell you…


The Market is Skeptical About:



Tampa Bay

Kansas City


NY Jets

I’ve listed them in the order they appear this week on your schedule. If I had to rank them from most skeptical to least skeptical…I think Miami, Tampa Bay, and the Jets would be the teams the market is most skeptical about at the moment.

You may notice some very clear issues that those teams have in common.

*We have brand new head coaches in Miami, Tampa Bay, and Oakland…along with a head coach starting his first full season with the team in Kansas City (that’s Romeo Crennel, who’s not respected as a head coach in Vegas to begin with).

*We have shaky quarterback situations certainly with Tennessee, Miami, and the NY Jets, and QB’s who aren’t highly thought of in Vegas with Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Oakland.

I can tell you right now that I can’t see myself posting any regular season major releases on that group of six teams any time soon, and I’ll likely be going against a few of them with 50-Unit or 100-Unit plays in the relatively near future. The market is in agreement with me about the general outlooks for those teams. I’ll be looking for specific spots where those teams are most likely to get squashed by significantly superior opposition.

There is one team heading the other direction I wanted to alert you to…


The Market is Enthusiastic About:


There’s been a surprising amount of buzz for this team in terms of getting off to a fast start. You may have seen the big line move in their favor for Friday Night’s game against Kanas City. I can tell you of at least three professional wagerers who have increased their initial positions on Seattle in their regular season opener at Arizona too. Even though betting limits aren’t as high now as they will be in two weeks, these mean are confident that Seattle will be pick-em or a small favorite by kick-off of that game, and they decided they might as well take the short dog line now. Whether the eventual starting quarterback is Russell Wilson or Matt Flynn, many analysts believe EITHER man is a big step up from Tarvaris Jackson.


The Market Respects:

All of last year’s playoff teams

That’s quicker than listing them all one by one. I’m not getting the sense that any of last year’s 12 playoff teams are seen as potential disasters this year by the most respected professional wagerers (barring injuries to GAMEBREAKERS or PLAYMAKERS). And, you can throw Philadelphia in there to make it a lucky 13 as well. The Eagles rank very highly in most everybody’s Power Ratings as long as Michael Vick is on the field and healthy.

The trick now will be finding line value once the regular season starts. Should the respected teams be laying -7 to outmatched opponents? Should they be laying -10? Will there be some mismatches so big that the line won’t matter? By that, I mean situations where a top team should win by at least 21 points when there’s no way oddsmakers will post a line that high?

I will in no way suggest that anyone should just blindly bet all the “good” teams against all the teams the market and myself are unenthusiastic about. Pointspreads do matter. And, “the motivation factor” can change from week to week. Your best plays will come from tangible and intangible edges. Today’s discussion has given you significant clues regarding who the market things are in trouble with their tangibles…and a set of teams to pay close attention to as you consider true line value.

Be sure you spend a lot of time thinking about those things as you watch all the dress rehearsal games Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I have something special planned for each of those three days myself right here at the website. If you’re having trouble finding plays you can bet with confidence in Las Vegas on your own, feel free to purchase those games (or a seasonal package) with your major credit card.

I’ll be back with you on Tuesday for our next class here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I can say with almost 100% certainty that both Tuesday and Friday’s coursework will be focusing on the first weekend of college football. We’re now less than a week away from regular season college games. I know you’re all very excited about that! Handicapping the NFL exhibitions has been a lot of fun. Going forward, we now have MONTHS of real live game action to sink our teeth into!

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