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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, August 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM

We’re coming up on an NFL Preseason schedule stretch with a lot of TV games that will feature prominent quarterbacks. Even though they’ll only be playing a couple of series, or a quarter this week…it seemed like the ideal time to direct our attention in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping to the quarterback position.

You regulars know that I emphasize PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS in all sports. Obviously quarterback is the single biggest position in football for determining outcomes in a game. You could argue it’s the most important in all of sports…given that quarterbacks play every game while the best baseball pitchers only start every fifth game.

What should YOU look for when evaluating the PLAYMAKING potential of quarterbacks? Here are some key areas you must study in my view:

*TOUCHDOWN PASSES: If you want to cover Las Vegas pointspreads, you need teams who find the end zone. Driving the field and settling for field goals typically won’t get you there. Quarterbacks who can’t find the end zone are those you want to fade, typically with big bets. You want big play potential. If a quarterback doesn’t have a strong arm, you at least want the ability to drive down the field and score while running clock. This sounds obvious. But, I’m still stunned by how many Las Vegas bettors throw their money away on quarterbacks who aren’t a sure thing to throw TD passes. If your favorite pro team or college alma mater can’t find the end zone, don’t bet on them!

*TURNOVERS: You want quarterbacks who don’t throw interceptions, and who don’t fumble the ball when the pass rush gets to them. Something simple like the TD/Interception ratio is actually a good guide here though it’s an old stat. I’m not a stat geek by any means, but some stats do have important value. Probably the single biggest mistake that square gamblers make in the NFL is that they back quarterbacks who have good “fantasy” stats but who make too many turnovers. How much money have you lost on Tony Romo in recent years? Bears fans are always whining about Jay Cutler. How about Oklahoma Sooners bettors in the colleges who continue to see big bets go down in flames because of turnovers? If you bet on turnover-prone quarterbacks, you’re asking for trouble.

*THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: Sometimes “making a play” isn’t about scoring a touchdown, it’s about icing a win in the final five minutes of action. You want to bet on quarterbacks who can get you a lead, and then protect that lead once you’re safely in the money. I strongly encourage you to pay attention to the team third down conversion rates for all pro and college offenses. They reflect very strongly on the talent and brains of the quarterback. Teams who drive the field for points convert third downs. Teams who protect leads convert third downs. Why are you even trying to bet if you don’t have that information handy?

*COMPOSURE IN THE POCKET: This is one where you have to use the “eye test.” One of the biggest keys separating the good from the bad in the NFL is patience under pressure. And, those differences are even more dramatic in college football where some quarterbacks are completely unprepared for the challenges that face them in their toughest games. I strongly encourage you to watch and videotape as many TV games as possible so you can get a clear read on how QB’s perform under fire. Some of my biggest plays every year come AGAINST quarterbacks who are likely to self-destruct when they have to play catch-up against a superior opponent.

During NFL action this week, and particularly next week in the dress rehearsals…pay attention to anyone who isn’t already a star. You know what Drew Brees is capable of doing, or Aaron Rodgers or the Manning Brothers. How is Ryan Tannehill coming along? Or Christian Ponder? What about the rookies who are expected to see action this year? Are there any backups who impress you? If a starter goes down in a few weeks…maybe somebody you’re studying is destined to be the next Russell Wilson or Colin Kaepernick. Your “eye test” will see their success before anybody else’s stats show it.

Advanced sports bettors are always preparing for future bets. Don’t watch games just to root for your bet. Watch games you didn’t bet on. Always be on the lookout for possible edges you can take advantage of down the road. Given the importance of the quarterback position in the area of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS, you should always be evaluating signal callers from a market perspective. Who can you bet on with confidence in Las Vegas? Who can you fade aggressively with big money?

If you’d like some help making the right choices this year, you can always purchase my top plays right here at this very website with your major credit card. My seasonal rates are very affordable.

Back again early next week to talk more football. We’re now two weeks away from the start of college action. Are you as prepared as you should be? All of our work here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping has been geared toward getting you ready. Check the archives for past coursework if you’ve fallen behind!

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