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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, December 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

You’ve now had a few days to study this year’s college football bowl matchups. Today I’m going to outline some starting strategies for getting sports bettors ready for the full campaign. I’ll have periodic additions to this theme leading up to next Saturday’s opening salvo. And, we’ll be reading and reacting to early bowl results as they come in on these very pages.

*First, and you regulars have probably anticipated me here, you need to make a list of the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS for each and every bowl team. Some of the best squads will have a few. Some of the teams set for early action may only have one…or may be a defensive minded team that beat a soft schedule with fundamentals. I’m assuming you’ve already written the matchups into your Vegas schedule, or you’ve already compiled a bowl listing within your own paperwork. Use that format to put what amounts to a hockey score in each game. Maybe it’s 3-2 for some teams. Maybe it’s a 1-all tie. The important thing is, you need a shorthand reference to the available weaponry in each game. And, you need to begin isolating the talent mismatches that are always apparent in the college postseason.

*Second, you need to monitor the newswires for notes on injuries or suspensions. I know that many professional wagerers attack the opening numbers in college bowls. I prefer to wait because I’ve seen too many games were a GAMEBREAKER was suspended because of bad grades or off-the-field misbehavior. It’s my view that you’re much better off knowing who’s playing and betting at high limits then taking risks against the openers at lines where you might end up taking the worst of it later. We live in disappointing times in terms of the behavior of many star athletes. Don’t let that turn your bowl experience into a disappointing one.

*Third, stay on top of the coaching carousel. It’s easy to lose track of who’s leaving and who’s staying during the betting interlude that lasts from the conference championships to the bowls. You probably know that Wisconsin’s coach is moving to Arkansas. You probably know that Arkansas State’s coach is moving to Auburn (you’d better!). Don’t wait until game day to figure out who’s coaching!

As you stay on top of developments, do your best to evaluate the mindset of the teams who are dealing with turmoil. Are they furious the coach is leaving? Are they excited that a popular assistant will be the interim coach? Is there a 6-6 or 7-5 team whose coach may be on the way out…or SHOULD be on the way out…signaling a potential no-show? Behind PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS, the MOTIVATION FACTOR is the most important influence for bowl results. And, coaching changes can be a big trigger for positive or negative motivation.

I don’t care to tell you how many decades that I’ve been handicapping bowl games. I can assure you in no uncertain terms that you will not make money this postseason unless you have a firm grasp on the high impact players who will be in uniform at kickoff, and a good sense of each team’s motivation entering its bowl. Your preparation MUST focus on those two angles. Then,

*We’ll build from there with additional strategies in the days leading up to the first bowl

*We’ll use what we learn about conference strengths in early bowl action as a guide for later bowls

There is one college football game this weekend…the annual Army-Navy classic. You can purchase my selection in that game right here at this website. I have a big weekend planned in the NFL and basketball as we continue our “December to Remember” extravaganza.

I anticipate that the bowls will be very profitable for smart bettors again this year. I look forward to guiding you through the challenge right here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting.

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