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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, July 12, 2012 at 2:13 PM

  Professional football handicappers know the search for a better way is a never-ending journey in a world where the obvious often is not. Every new edge, regardless of its weight in the handicapping process, can prove the difference between winning or losing a bet.

In the handicapping world, one is forever aware of all the supporting data that makes one bet on or against a particular team. Success is primarily a numbers game, with a little subjective judgment thrown in for good measure. Numbers, trends, talent, intuition, line movements and much more is always front and center. Now, we may want to consider the hidden element of animal instinct and the impact testosterone has on betting behavior.

In the June 4-10 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, in an article entitled, When Animal Spirits Attack, John Coates, who once ran a derivatives desk at Deutsche Bank and who is now a research fellow at the University of Cambridge, says animal instincts drive up the levels of men's testosterone and cause them to become daring and reckless and in the process set themselves up to overplay their hand-a recipe for disaster.

Coates in 2005 studied 250 traders (all but three men) at a London financial firm for a two week period and noted those with high levels of testosterone during the morning hours made more money than those who tested out lower the scale. That was a big plus, but it also set the stage for eventual failure.

The more profitable days a trader had, the more confident he was that he would do the same the next day. One trader in particular was on a major winning streak and had seen his testosterone level raise 80% over just a few days. Traders in this profile are pushed by their hormones to throw caution to the win, stop doing the things that got them there and become so reckless they usually lose it all.

No one is suggesting football bettors need to get their testosterone levels tested each day but the substance of his article was powerful and serves as a reminder that we all reach a point where hormones trump good handicapping and commonsense and set us up to lose it all. There is not space to go into the magazine article here but I suggest serious football bettors read it. I have concluded it is part of the winning puzzle.

NFL Insiders Vote For Rookie Griffin

In speaking to several National Football League scouts and insiders, I was a bit surprised to hear most of them say Washington Redskins rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III (Baylor) will do far more for his team this season than will the Indianapolis Colts rookie Andrew Luck (Stanford), the overall number one pick in the draft.

Almost to the man they say Griffin has a deeper understanding of the game than does Luck, that he reads defenses better and that he has stunned Redskins coaches with his ability and football sense. They note that in the end, Luck may be the better of the two but that Griffin will be in the cat-bird seat this season.

Speaking of quarterbacks, the impasse between the New Orleans Saints and superstar quarterback Drew Brees is far from settled, regardless of what you might hear or read from NFL pundits. Brees wants more guaranteed money in the proposed $100 million contract and says he will not report to training camp until he gets it and signs his contract.

As if the Saints did not have enough problems.

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