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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 10:00 PM

Every year, round two of the NFL playoffs throws an interesting wrinkle at sports bettors and sports handicappers. How much value should be credited for a “bye” week for the top two seeds in each conference? You know the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on all eight remaining teams. That work was done long ago. You know THE MOTIVATION FACTOR won’t come into play because everyone’s at peak motivation in the playoffs. Can you find an edge against the Vegas numbers by properly evaluating the value of having a week off before starting the postseason?

My answer is an emphatic YES!

The most important thing for Advanced Sports Bettors to remember is that not all byes are created equal…

*Byes help veteran teams more than young teams. Even if you’re not as old as the Dean of Sports Handicapping, you’ve probably come to understand the value of rest and recuperation as you get older. Veteran teams benefit greatly from having some time to recover from the physical damage done during the regular season. Younger teams tend to have enough energy and exuberance to play at peak intensity through the playoffs.

*Byes help well-coached teams more than poorly-coached teams. Give a smart coach extra time to prepare, and he’s going to come up with meaningful adjustments that will help his team win. Give a bad coach extra time to prepare…and he either won’t do anything or he’ll make bad choices. We’ve seen often over the years that the value of coaching looms very large over who wins and covers playoff games. Many of the best coaches in the modern era have made great use of their bye weeks.

*Byes help fresh teams really exploit the fatigue of worn down opponents. Many second round blowouts over the years weren’t necessarily caused by the greatness of the fresh host. They were caused by a tired visitor completely running out of gas because they hadn’t had a break in a couple of months. Bye teams can lose on their home fields, but it’s never because they ran out of gas! Remember that the hidden value of the bye involves the negatives that hit the team who DIDN’T have one.

As you handicap the four NFL playoff games this weekend, I want you to think very carefully about the three keys I just mentioned. Who out of Denver, San Francisco, Atlanta, and New England are best suited to exploit their rest advantages? Who out of Baltimore, Green Bay, Seattle, and Houston is least likely to suffer from the inherent disadvantages?

You regulars know I can’t talk specifics about my weekend NFL card. That wouldn’t be fair to my paying clients. I can tell you though that I just gave you some very big hints about who I’m going to be releasing and personally betting this weekend. If you’d like some help pinning down what the best football options are for this weekend, you can purchase my game day selections right here at this website.  

We’ll continue mixing football and basketball coursework here in my College of Advanced Handicapping until a Super Bowl winner is crowned. Then, it will be basketball only through March Madness, followed by a mix of MLB and NBA from April through the pro hoop playoffs. I’m greatly appreciative that so many of you are regular readers here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I need to remind everyone again to print out these classes if you get a chance, so you can create a virtual textbook that can be referred to throughout your career as a sports bettor.

See you again next week!

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