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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, October 26, 2012 at 2:00 PM

With all the news this weekend about a “perfect storm” brewing off the East Coast…as a hurricane races toward an artic front…this seemed like an ideal time to review the adjustments that Advanced Handicappers must make in their sports betting strategies.

First, let’s all hope for the best with these storms. It’s certainly helpful that the impacted areas have had plenty of advance warning. The first Advanced Handicappers in the mainstream media were meteorologists! There may be few football games impacted by the pending superstorm because it’s not supposed to hit until early next week. I’m not going to talk specifically about individual games. I’m going to review how to adjust your analysis for various conditions. It was about time to do that on the calendar anyway as November is just a few days away.

RAIN

Any changes in weather are likely to reduce the advantage that PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS have in determining the outcome of a game. You regulars know that recognizing these high impact stars is a hallmark of the Advanced Handicapping approach. Wet conditions make it harder to grip the ball, harder to complete passes, and harder for sprinters to race past defenders.

You will often hear TV announcers say that rain helps an offense. This is ABSURD, and has been proven to be demonstrably false for decades. Yes, sometimes defenders fall down and an offense scores an easy touchdown. If you chart ALL the games with rain…you’ll see that scoring goes down rather than up. Professional wagerers in Las Vegas race to the window to bet Unders when rain is confirmed. The public often climbs on board afterward, then the pro’s buy back some of their initial bet so they can shoot a middle. They don’t buy it all back…they’re still rooting for an Under.

So…with rain…you want to look at the Under…and you want to look at underdogs because the wet conditions are an equalizer that reduce the advantages of the favorite. If nothing else, back off of favorite bets that you previously made. If you loved a big favorite (as I often do), then you simply pass the game instead of laying the points. If you had no opinion, you need to start thinking about the underdog as a value play. If you already liked the underdog because of a strong defense, then make the dog a stronger play within your standard bankroll units.

SNOW

Snow is rain on steroids in terms of sports betting…which means that you typically want to bet Unders and underdogs because PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS are once again hindered. Now, I’m not talking about light flurries when there’s no wind. Players barely notice this, and the ball barely gets wet. I’m talking about heavy snow that obstructs visibility and influences footing. Heavy snow has a bigger reducing effect than rain…and that’s particularly true on grass fields that get muddy…or in games involving top notch defenses. Imagine trying to score on the elite defenses of the past in Pittsburgh and Chicago in a snowstorm! I remember the Purple People Eaters of Minnesota several decades ago when the Vikings used to play outdoors. Brutal.

Bottom line…if there are light flurries in Buffalo with no wind, you might as well assume it’s sunny and clear for sports betting purposes. Heavy snow in the other ice belt cities in the Northeast and Midwest is a different story.

WIND, AND THE COMBINATION OF WIND WITH PRECIPITATION

Wind, by itself, has become a secret weapon for handicappers. I know of many local pro’s who have had great success betting Unders (particularly in college games) when forecast winds are at 15 mph or higher. Quarterbacks find it very hard to throw accurate passes in these conditions. College kickers can struggle badly because of inexperience.

Generally speaking, you also want underdogs and Unders here because it’s harder for talented players to exploit their edges. But, you can find blowout situations when a team that’s used to playing in the wind is facing one who isn’t. Texas Tech absolutely obliterated West Virginia a few weeks ago when Geno Smith kept missing his receivers by a mile with the flags stiff in Lubbock. Tech was an underdog that day…but they should have been a favorite in those conditions…and they would have been a favorite that covered by a mile because the wind was helping them. Wind can lead to blowouts with a team that’s experienced in the wind facing one who isn’t. The playmakers on the wind-proven team will post huge numbers.

The techniques of Advanced Handicapping that we’ve been focusing on for months on these pages generally isolate favorites in position to play at peak proficiency. Weather is an influence that can force us to back off of those possibilities. I can tell you from experience that you must RESPECT THE WEATHER. You don’t want to get stubborn about forcing plays in wind, rain, or snow. You certainly don’t want to believe the TV announcers who assure you that wide receivers will have a field day in the rain. If you're saddened that last second weather developments take away a great favorite at one site, rest assured that they will be giving you a great dog at another.

I’ll be back with you again Tuesday for our day of coursework here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I’m currently planning on talking about the NBA that begins that night with Boston/Miami and Dallas/LA Lakers in big TV games. We’ll mostly focus on football from now through the bowls and playoffs. But, I do plan to outline the key themes for the NBA soon, and then college basketball in mid-November. I have proven techniques in all sports, and it pays to play from opening day!

PS:

I do have some very big plays on tap for this weekend. You can purchase Friday Night’s 50-Unit Big East Game of the Year for just $50, and Saturday’s 200-Unit College Blowout (going for my fifth straight!) for just $100. You can use these to supplement the games you’re finding on your own through your homework process. See you Tuesday for NBA notes.

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