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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, January 4, 2013 at 3:00 PM

I’ve always believed that the NFL’s Wildcard Weekend offered some of the best betting options of the entire postseason. There are unique factors in play here that you just don’t get later on in the playoffs. It’s a true “handicappers” market, because understanding the reality of how playoff football works will really pay off on the opening weekend.

In fairness to my paying clients, I’m not going to talk about specific matchups in this article. The goal of my College of Advanced Sports Betting is to teach YOU how to handicap. The responses I’ve been getting since starting the effort many months ago suggest that this goal is being accomplished on a regular basis. It’s always gratifying to hear that sports bettors are finding more winners, culling more losers, and making more money because they’ve listened to The Dean of Sports Handicapping.

Important Keys for Wildcard Weekend

*Focus on Form! Far too many handicappers and bettors in my view look at full season information when making their Wildcard picks. The stat guys look at 16-game numbers. The trend guys look at what happened in terms of dog/favorite, home/road, and other scenarios. I can assure you in no uncertain terms that anything that happened back in September will have no relevant bearing on this weekend’s results. Very little of what happened in October will either. You want to focus on how these teams are playing right now. If they took their season finale off to rest their starters, throw that game out and evaluate the prior few weeks.

*Focus on Health! You are trying to pick who’s going to win and cover based on the rosters and health of the players who are on the field Saturday and Sunday. If a player is hobbled now, it doesn’t matter what he’s capable of when healthy. If a player was hobbled through the season but is healthy now, then that team is going to play better than the market will give them credit for. Think of the NY Giants last year whose defense got healthy at just the right time. I’m always reminding you to focus on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS when handicapping. The health of those key players is of utmost importance this weekend.

*Focus on “Knowing how to Win!” Wildcard games are historically more competitive than what you see in the later rounds…particularly in seasons when the league has some true juggernauts. It remains to be seen if there are superpowers in the current brackets. This weekend, the last thing you want is to have your money riding on a quarterback who historically chokes under pressure. All key players will feel pressure this week. There are currently no double digit spreads where a powerhouse can just show up and win. You want to invest in athletes who have proven they can execute and make plays when it matters most. You want to bet against those who have a history of underperforming in the spotlight. I’ll admit that it’s trickier than usual this week with so three rookie QB’s on the field. Fine by me if you use what you learned about them in college football to make your choices.

 My official service plays for NFL Wildcard Weekend (along with bonus bowls and basketball) can be purchased here at this website with your major credit card.I’m always just a few clicks away if you need help in a big game.

I’m currently scheduling a special College of Advanced Sports Betting report for prior to Monday’s BCS Championship game matching Alabama and Notre Dame. Soon we’ll be transitioning to basketball guidance as we gear up for the road to March Madness. Beating Las Vegas sportsbooks is a year-round endeavor for professional wagerers. It’s gratifying to know so many of you are in it for the long haul. Let’s get the money this weekend…and then keep on winning all the way through lucky 2013!

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