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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, August 7, 2012 at 12:38 PM

I’ve always emphasized the importance of reading and reacting within the realm of Advanced Handicapping. Though I’ve presented many concepts and approaches that have proven the test of time (and will continue to do so!), the world of sports is always ready to throw a new wrinkle at you. That’s certainly the case right now with NFL Preseason games being officiated by replacement refs.

What’s the best way to deal with this potential monkey wrench from the Advanced Handicapping perspective?

*First, give the newcomers a chance to prove themselves one way or the other. It’s dangerous to make assumptions in an unknown environment and then just assume those assumptions are going to pay off. Advanced Handicapping is about employing proven principals, not playing hunches!

*Second, be open to possibilities on both sides of the ball. I heard some gamblers saying they were sure Preseason games would go flying Over because offensive linemen would just hold all the time. That would give quarterbacks plenty of time to throw. But, I also heard some guys saying that it would be the defensive secondary who would clutch and grab more against receivers, leading to Unders.

Look, you just don’t know ahead of time. It’s very important that you develop theories that you can test once the games begin. Don’t fall in love with your theories before the games have begun! The Hall of Fame game did go Under by about 10 points. But, that’s only one game. We’ll know more a week from now about the replacement refs than we do at the moment. (By the way, a lot of the so-called “sharps” hit the Over hard and lost big at 35.5, 36, and 36.5…maybe they fell in love with a theory too soon!).

*Third, don’t let concerns about replacement refs dissuade you from any big gradings that you get with your usual process. I liked New Orleans for 25-Units back on Sunday Night. I stuck with that and got the money. I personally think there’s a good chance that the replacement refs aren’t going to have much of an impact in terms of determining who’s going to cover spreads. If they make mistakes (which they will), those will balance out over the course of the month. Maybe some bad calls hurt me in one game, but help me in another. It’s all going to come out okay in the wash as long as I’m using the principles that I outlined for you a couple of weeks ago.

Coaches who don’t care about results aren’t going to start getting results. Backup quarterbacks who know how to put up stats and points are still going to do that. Teams who really emphasize execution during their Game Three “dress rehearsals” are still going to cash their tickets.

I’m aware that the world is slightly different this year because of replacement refs. But, I don’t believe this wrinkle is going to trump the fundamentals. Maybe it will increase randomness to a disappointing degree. Maybe not. If I like a game for 50-Units or 100-Units this weekend, I’m still going with it! And, maybe I will find something about Overs or Unders that proves meaningful in a way my clients and I can take advantage of.

I’ll talk more about NFL Preseason handicapping when we get together again on Friday. Most of the focus this month, and for the rest of 2012 will be on football on these pages. Football is KING in Las Vegas. I provided a lot of guidance for baseball through the summer that you can continue to use on your own through August and September. A lot more of you are interested in football betting than baseball betting, so the coursework will adjust accordingly.

If you’d like some help picking winners in football this year because you’re still overwhelmed by the challenge presented by Vegas oddsmakers, you can sign up for service right here at this website. Try out the Preseason, or make a commitment at discounted rates for the full college and pro campaigns. Major credit cards are accepted.

If you’re new to this feature because you’re a “football only” Las Vegas wagerer who’s been hibernating all summer…be aware that Kelso Sturgeon’s College of Advanced Handicapping runs every Tuesday and Friday on these pages. You’ll be well served to print out each update so you can create a virtual textbook that can be used all season and for years to come. Even stragglers can go through the archives and print out prior coursework!

I look forward to serving you all through the football season. I’m continually humbled by the response these articles have generated. The Dean of Sports Handicapping loves to teach enthusiastic students!

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