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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 3:03 PM

In the first three parts of this 10-part series on football handicapping, we have focused on three essentials of building a powerhouse team that can compete at any level and can be functioning at 100% efficiency through an entire season. The first three lessons in this series pointed out the importance of an abundance of blue-chip talent, a top-flight quarterback and an experienced and deep offensive line. The fourth piece of the winning puzzle deals with skill players - quarterbacks, running backs, wide-receivers and tight ends.

A team loaded with blue-chip players, a quarterback with outstanding skills and a knock'em-dead offensive line can be successful. A team with three elements, plus an additional skill player, or players, exponentially expands its chances for success at the highest level of play. Alabama had it last year, as did Oregon.

Since we have written considerably about the success of the Alabama, which has won the last two and three of the last four national championships, I will today focus on Oregon which finished 12-1 last season and but for a 17-14 home loss to Stanford would have met Alabama in the BCS championship game.

In review, here is how Oregon stacked up in the first three categories of success:

Blue-Chip Talent:  Oregon had 77 blue-chip players on its 85-man roster last season, including four 5-Star players, 37 4-star performers and 36 rated 3 stars. (See Part I of this series in the archives for an explanation of blue-chip talent.

Quarterback: Oregon had as its quarterback red-shirt freshman Marcus Mariota, a 4-star recruit out of St. Louis High School in Honolulu, and he was sensational from game one - a prime-time blue-chipper if ever there was one.

Offensive Line: Oregon had one of the top five offensive lines in the country in both experience and talent and it was reflected in everything the Ducks did. Behind this offensive line, Oregon averaged 537.38 yards and 49.6 points per game and scored touchdowns 81% (59-73) of the time in the red zone. It also is of note the line gave up just 19 sacks the entire 13-game season, an average of 1.346 per game.

Factor In Skill Players And Oregon Almost Unbeatable

To understand the importance skill players bring to the game, one must remember the football field may be 100-yards long but just 160 feet wide. The skill players have the ability to make the field play even wider and the more skill players a team has the more difficult it is for defenses.

It is safe to say, Oregon had at least three established game-breaking skill players and that presented multiple problems for defenses and forced opposing teams to cover players all over the field.

Mariota performed like a veteran last season and gave defenses a challenge and a headache every time the ball was snapped. When the season was over, he had 2,677 yards passing for 32 touchdowns and another 898 rushing, plus five more touchdowns. His talent and versatility kept every defense honest, but he was just the beginning.

Oregon had one of the best running backs in the country in senior Kenjon Barner who rushed for 1,767 yards and 21 touchdowns while accounting for 138 points. He averaged 135.9 yards rushing and 155.6 all-purpose yards per game.

So, we now have defenses faced with the problem of stopping both these guys, but that was not all.

One must factor into the equation sophomore running back/receiver De'Anthony Thomas who rushed for 735 yards and 11 touchdowns, caught 92 passes for 445 yards and five more touchdowns while also returning 13 punts for an average of 17.1 yards and 16 kickoffs for an average of 24.3 yards.

When one grasps the impact these three skill players brought to the Oregon offense, it is rather easy to understand what I said earlier the number of skill players a team has exponentially expands a team's ability to move the football and score points.

It also must be pointed out, the Oregon offensive depth chart was loaded with blue-chip backups at these skill players, all awaiting the opportunity to get their turns.

When analyzing any team - college or pro - one must understand the skill player factor and give it weighty consideration in the handicapping equation. The more top-flight skill players a team has, the better its chances to win and cover.

Part V in this 10-part series will address the element of defense and where it fits in the handicapping formula.

If you did not read the first three parts of this series, which is designed to get you ready to handicap the coming football season, they are archived on this website and available for ready.

Coaches who want to be successful must address all the factors we will discuss in the series and we as handicappers and bettors must do the same thing. It is the key to winning both games and bets.

Up 265 Units In NBA Playoffs Last 2 Weeks

I promised you I would again get the cash in the NBA playoffs and am doing just that. Over the past two weeks, I have gone 1-0 in 100-unit plays and an undefeated 4-0 in 50-unit games, and up 265 units since May 13. There still is plenty of money on the NBA playoff table and I intend to do the work so that all of us can get our share.

There is at least one more 100-unit play (going Thursday) - maybe even a 200-unit knockout release - left in the bank, plus at least two more 50-unit plays. You do not want to miss any of it.

My current NBA playoff record is listed below. Best bet games are available on this website and toll free at 1-800-755 each day. All major credit cards accepted.

NBA Playoffs Up 265 Units Over Past 2 Weeks

100-Unit Plays.....1-0
50-Unit Plays.....4-0

5/27...25 Units...Grizzlies (-3) 86, Spurs 93 (Lose)
5/26...100 Units...Heat (-2) 114, Pacers 96 (Win)
5/25...50 Units...Spurs (+5.5) 104, Grizzlies 93 (OT) (Win)
5/24...25 Units...Heat (-7) 93, Pacers 97 (Lose)
5/23...No Games Scheduled
5/22...25 Units...Pacers (+8) 102, Heat 103 (Win)
5/21...25 Units...Grizzlies (+5.5) 89, Spurs 93 (Win)
5/19...20 Units...Grizzlies (+4) 83, Spurs 105 (Lose)
5/19...20 Units...Grizzlies- Spurs Under 182.5 (Lose)
5/18...50-Units...Pacers (-5.5) 106, Knicks 99 (Win)
5/16...50 Units...Spurs (-1.5) 94, Warriors 82 (Win)
5/15...25 Units...Grizzlies (+4.5) 88, Thunder 84 (Win)
5/15...10 Units...Heat (-14.5) 94, Bulls 91 (Lose)
5/14...50 Units...Pacers (-5) 93, Knicks 82 (Win)
5/14...10 Units...Warriors (+7) 91, Spurs 109 (Lose)
5/13...25 Units...Grizzlies (-4.5) 103, Thunder 97 (OT) (Win) 

Baseball High Rollers Are Making A Fortune

My Personal Best Baseball Investment Club got off to a slow start but is now rockin' and rollin' and stands 5-0 and up 300 units with its last five plays. The power vs. weakness methodology of handicapping is working in a powerful fashion and you can take it to the bank my highrollers club will continue to win the big money.

Personal Best Baseball Investment Club 5-0
Plus 300 Units Past 5 Plays
100-Unit Plays.....1-0
50 Units Plays.....4-0

5/27...50 Units...Reds (-135) 4, Indians 2 (Win)
5/26...50 Units...Pirates (+115) 5, Brewers 4 (Win)
5/25...100 Units...Reds (-165) 5, Cubs 2 (Win)
5/24...50 Units...Athletics (-160) 6, Astros 5 (Win)
5/23...No team qualified for play
5/22...50 Units...Phillies (-165) 3, Marlins 0 (Win)

Personal Best plays are available on this website and toll free at 1-800-755-2255. You can play by the day or save a ton of money for getting on board for a season subscription that runs right through the World Series in October. All major credit cards accepted.


Best Bets Baseball Investment Club
Has Won 11 Of Last 13 Days

My Best Bets Baseball Investment Club continues to be a giant money-maker for bettors. The Club has won 11 of the last 13 days and there is every reason to believe the winning will continue. Best Bets Club plays are available each day on this website and toll free at 1-800-755-2255. Play by the day for $15, or get the entire season and get daily best bets right through the World Series in October for just $199. All major credit cards accepted.

Monday-Making Record Last 13 Days

5/27...15 Units...Angels (-115) 7, Dodgers 8 (Lose)
5/27...5 Units...Orioles (+125) 6, Nationals 2 (Win)
5/26...10 Units...Angels (-120) 5, Royals 2 (Win)
5/26...10 Units...Braves (-130) 2, Mets 4 (Lose)
5/25...15 Units...Braves (-155) 6, Mets 0 (Win)
5/25...10 Units...Athletics (-170) 11, Astros 5 (Win)
5/25...10 Units...Cardinals (-105) 3, Dodgers 5 (Lose)
5/24...15 Units...Rangers (-120) 9, Mariners 5 (Win)
5/24...5 Units...Pirates (+100) 1, Brewers 2 (Lose)
5/23...15 Units...Indians (+135) 12, Red Sox 3 (Win)
5/22...15 Units...Pirates (-130) 1, Cubs 0 (Win)
5/21...15 Units...Pirates (-140) 5, Cubs 4 (Win)
5/20...25 Units...Reds (-155) 4, Mets 3 (Win)
5/20...10 Units...Red Sox (-145) 4, White Sox 6 (Lose)
5/19...10 Units...Cubs (-150) 3, Mets 4 (Lose)
5/19...10 Units...Athletics (-155) 4, Royals 3 (Win)
5/18...15 Units...Cubs (-140) 8, Mets 2 (Win)
5/18...5 Units...Nationals (-135) 1, Padres 2 (Lose)
5/17...10 Units...Diamondbacks (-155) 9, Marlins 2 (Win)
5/17...10 Units...Cardinals (-165) 7, Brewers 6 (Win)
5/16...15 Units...Pirates (-140) 7, Brewers 1 (Win)
5/16...5 Units...Tigers (+110) 4, Rangers 10 (Lose)
5/15...15 Units...Rangers (-120) 6, Athletics 2 (Win)
5/15...5 Units...Rays (-120) 2, Red Sox 9 (Lose)

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