Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, July 22, 2013 at 7:00 PM
This summer we’ve already talked about scouting THE MOTIVATION FACTOR in college football by studying everyone’s full season schedules…and we’ve already talked about scouting PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on offense. Today, I’m going to talk to you about the keys to look for when evaluating defenses.
It’s important for you to remember that you want to know who the GOOD defenses are so you can back them in the right situations (particularly with value underdogs); and you want to know who the BAD defenses are so you can fade them very aggressively (many of my 100-unit and 200-unit plays last year were against bad defenses). This means you must study ALL the board teams…not just the national powers…not just your favorite teams. Your biggest bets of the entire season may come from what you learn in this effort about a bad defense in the Mountain West, or the Mid-American Conference, or the Sun Belt.
Some steps to follow…
*START WITH LAST YEAR’S DEFENSE
You need know the final rankings in total yardage and points allowed for all board defenses. These are easy to find online or in newsstand publications that you’ve probably already purchased. (If you use Athlon, check out my full page ad on page 176!).
*ADJUST FOR RETURNING STARTERS
Any strong defense that has most everyone back is going to be terrific on defense in 2013. Any medium or weak defense that has to rebuild is going to be in trouble. They won’t stop anybody early. And, if injuries hit, they’ll get even worse!
*FIND THE DEFENSIVE STARS AMIDST THE RETURNING STARTERS
There are PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on defense too you know. That’s particularly true in the SEC, and with a few elite teams in other locales. Handicapping with my PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS angle means knowing the high impact players on offense, special teams, AND defense.
*BE AWARE OF COACHING REPUTATIONS
Some coaches are so great at teaching defense, that losing players to graduation doesn’t really hurt them. It’s their scheme and reads that get the job done. The new starters will know what they’re doing if they’re playing for a defensive-minded head coach. Offensive-minded head coaches often have very bad defenses when they have to rebuild on that side of the ball. If an up-tempo team is trying to build a new defense, they’re likely to have big trouble out of the gate.
*FOCUS ON THE FRONT SEVEN
There are certainly some defensive backs who matter. But, generally speaking, when you’re talking about college football defense…you’re talking about the point of attack and the linebackers. If a team returns all four defensive backs, but only one of their front seven…then opponents are going to run right over them and the experience in the back won’t matter much. Be sure you give a grade to each front seven. You have time to do that this summer. It will be time well spent.
Sports bettors were already buzzing about college football this summer. Then, the SEC media days started. And, this past weekend the Las Vegas Hilton put up some of their “Game of the Year” pointspreads for early betting. You’re probably already in the right frame of mind to analyze college football because of all the media coverage. Put that energy to good use now so you’ll be ready to go when all the Week One lines go up at maximum limits.
You’re trying to be an Advanced Sports Bettor and Handicapper. I can assure you that longtime winners out here in Las Vegas know that the money you make from September through December is keyed by the work you do in July and August.
If you’re concerned that you’ll be overmatched by the market when the season begins, you can sign up for my personal service here at the website. I have great early-bird rates for those of you willing to make a commitment up front for the full season.
We’ll continue alternating between football and baseball through the summer. We’re not that far away from the start of the NFL Preseason. The Hall of Fame game is set for Sunday August 4 in Canton, Ohio matching the Miami Dolphins and the Dallas Cowboys. College football begins in the final weekend of August.
Hey…it’s already late July…which means August will be here in very short order. Keep up with your summer school coursework, and I’m extremely confident this will be your best season ever!