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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, February 8, 2013 at 12:22 PM

As we transition now to a heavy emphasis on college basketball coverage here in my Advanced College of Sports Betting, I want to begin our discussion of nuts-and-bolts handicapping where every offensive play begins in this sport…with the point guard.

Some would argue that point guard is the single most important position in this sport. I certainly agree that it’s vital. Having a strong post presence is too, of course. And, many current GAMEBREAKERS are shooters and scorers who don’t run the point. Having a great point guard by itself won’t win you a championship. I’ll say it this way…

*Your FIRST task in handicapping any college basketball matchup is to isolate high impact talent on each team.

*Your SECOND task in handicapping any college basketball matchup is to evaluate the point guard position. You MUST fade teams with shaky point guard play. Feel free to invest aggressively in teams who have stars running the position.

We’ll talk more about the full scope of the Advanced approach for talent matchups as we move through the season. Today, I want to emphasize point guard play because of its importance, and because we have a great ongoing example of the magnitude of that importance as we speak.

Oregon point guard Dominic Artis injured his foot four games ago against Washington State and hasn’t been able to return to the lineup since. This is an Oregon team that was nationally ranked thanks to an impressive home victory over Arizona, and a very strong road win at UCLA. This team could play.

Until Artis got hurt!


Oregon (-8) beat Washington 81-76 (non-cover)

Oregon (+3) lost at Stanford 76-52 (non-cover in a blowout loss)

Oregon (+1) lost at California 58-54 (non-cover)

Oregon (-6) lost to Colorado 48-47 (non-cover in a home stunner)

Compounding matters, the backup point guard got hurt this past weekend, and played injured vs. Colorado (shooting horribly). You can see how the lack of leadership and direction just killed the offense. This is OREGON we’re talking about. A high energy team that puts points on the board! Yet, they could only score 52 and 54 on their trip to Northern California last weekend, then posted a measly 47 points Thursday Night vs. Colorado.

I don’t want to suggest that Artis is some kind of superhero. But, this Oregon team is one that needs a good quarterback on the court running the offense. There are MANY teams like this across the national landscape. This injury helped expose the effect. Many teams at lesser programs never had a star point guard to begin with, and have been floundering on the scoreboard all season long as a result.

If you’re serious about winning money through February, and particularly in March, I encourage Advanced handicappers to do the following.

*Evaluate the point guard position on every team in the conferences you follow, with an emphasis on the assist-to-turnover ratio and the overall efficiency of the offense on a per-possession basis.

*Create a list of the teams who are most vulnerable at this position, then look to FADE them on the road or in neutral site tournament games vs. good defenses.

*Create a list of the teams who are enjoying the best point guard play, then look to BACK them vs. bad defenses, or in any other value scenario you come across. Top point guards cover a lot of spreads, particularly in neutral site tournament games.

*Study the injury lists daily to find out which teams have been struck with bad luck at the position.

Vegas oddsmakers were caught unprepared when Artis went down for Oregon. He may be back soon (reports are varied), so this could just be a short term window that’s about to close. In Advanced college basketball handicapping, new windows open every day!

We’ll talk about the handicapping impact of other positions in the coming days. If you need some help finding the best plays on the board right now, you can purchase my top daily releases right here at the website with your major credit card. Best of luck to you this weekend. Keep up the hard work! What you learn every time we get together will pay off in Las Vegas for years to come.

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