Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, November 26, 2013 at 7:00 AM
There are several angles of football analysis that are unique to Thanksgiving Week. I’ve put together a special report that you can refer to every day as you handicap college and pro games from now through that great New Orleans/Seattle game next Monday Night.
The keys to success this week most often revolve around THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. You will see wild swings in on-field performance that are the result of this single element.
*On one hand, you’ll have relatively bad college teams show up with a passion for a season finale against a hated rival. They may have no-showed almost every other game in November. They’re going to bring all they have left for their rivalry game. I can assure you up front that a few ugly teams will play two or three touchdowns better than expectations and recent form this weekend.
*On the other hand, teams NOT facing rivals literally have no reason to show up for their season finale…and are actually annoyed at having to spend a holiday week preparing for a lame duck game. They’re ready for the season to be over. Frankly, their season was over a few weeks ago for all intents and purposes. There are going to be some monster blowouts this week where bad teams barely show up in non-rivalry games. We’ve seen many examples of that already in November. See if you can find some bad teams in non-rivalry games that you can fade against motivated favorites who have an edge in PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS.
*You also need to be aware of which teams are still playing for bowl eligibility. Five-win mediocrities will play their best game in weeks if they’re matched up with disinterested opponents who have either clinched a postseason berth…or have clinched NOT qualifying for a bowl. Be sure you know the straight up won-lost records for every team entering the week. That’s an important step for evaluating motivation.
*Be wary of letdown spots! Several college teams scored very important victories last week, and are likely to be flat the next time they take the field. It’s very tough to play two great games in a row around a holiday. Go back and review last week’s scoreboard results to isolate teams who will be in prime letdown situations Friday and Saturday. Even if you’re just turning teams you were going to take into passes, this effort will show up on your bottom line.
*Be wary of lookahead spots! There are seven conference championship games next week. Which teams are playing “meaningless” games this week right before taking the field with the title on the line in the first weekend of December? Will Ohio State and Michigan State get caught looking past Michigan and Minnesota respectively the week before their Big 10 Championship meeting? Know who’s playing next week!
What about the NFL? So far I’ve only talked about the colleges. In the NFL, I’ve noticed the following in recent seasons:
*Losing teams often just go through the motions on the Sunday after Thanksgiving. They want the game to get over with…which leads to low scores and Unders. You’d think that a lack of effort would mean no defense. What actually happens is that the teams involved have a defacto agreement to run clock and get out of Dodge. This is even more true in bad weather games. Last year, the Sunday after Thanksgiving went 4-8 to the Under…and one of the Overs was a 34 that snuck past a total of 33.
*Contending teams often get conservative because they’re more focused on closing out a win than they are on lighting up the scoreboard. There are still a lot of teams in contention for Wildcards right now. See if you can spot which coaches are most likely to bring conservative gameplans to the field. Fade them as big favorites. Back them as dogs. Look at Unders if the weather is helping.
The most important thing to remember in the NFL that any reason for a lack of intensity will be magnified over a holiday weekend. That will be true again in a month with the games played near Christmas Day.
I can assure you that KELSO STURGEON won’t be lacking any intensity this week! I’ll be working at a FEVER PITCH to make sure my clients get major release winners every day during my annual TURKEY SHOOT! You can sign up for that annual celebration right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions can be answered by my representative in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping hopes you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Weekend. It’s always one of the highlights of the year out here in Las Vegas. A true FEAST of great food and big winners. I personally would like to give thanks to all of you who have been working so hard here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. Words fail to capture how truly grateful I am for your weekly attendance. Enjoy the holiday!