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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, December 9, 2013 at 9:00 PM

There’s been a lot of talk today in Las Vegas about the early pointspreads going up on the board for this year’s college football bowl slate. Most of you won’t be betting these games until closer to kickoff because you’re not in Las Vegas at the moment. That gives you some time to really think through each matchup so you can make smart decisions.

I’m going to spend a few articles this month talking bowl handicapping strategies here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. Today we’ll focus on what I consider to be the single most important factor for finding BIG bowl winners on both favorites and underdogs. That, of course, is THE MOTIVATION FACTOR.

Every season there are bowl games that miss the Las Vegas spread by multiple touchdowns. I’m not talking just 14-17 points. There are games that miss by 28 points or more some years. And, that’s because many bowl teams JUST DON’T CARE about the game. They’re not excited about the opponent…the locale…their own head coach (who may have just engineered a disappointing season or is an administration-chosen interim for a coach who just got fired)…or about being away from home during the holidays.

This may be hard for some of you to believe. But, there are no SO MANY bowls that it’s inevitable that these types of situations will develop.

*Many mediocre and worse teams become bowl eligible

*Many “bowl destinations” are boring places

*Many bowls represent “disappointments” for teams that were hoping for more

I’m sure there are wonderful people in Albuquerque, Shreveport, Charlotte, El Paso, and so on. College kids know the difference between a major and a minor bowl.

 

For each game, you must try to figure out:

*Which of the teams is most excited to be there?

*Which of the teams considers that bowl as a disappointment?

*Which of the teams is best positioned to score a “signature” win?

*Which bowls match surging mid-majors vs. disappointments from a major conference?

*Which of the teams has a chip on their shoulder after a season finale loss?

*Which of the teams could be flat off a huge win in their season finale?

*Which of the teams is best suited to the likely weather?

*Which of the teams is best suited to the likely turf conditions?

Those last two may not sound like motivational factors. Let me tell you…once it’s game day…players from the South hate cool or cold conditions (which can even happen in warm weather cities in late December or early January). I’ve had more than a few major release winners over the years that “popped up” as the result of game day weather forecasts. Start anticipating those possibilities now so you’ll be ready when they arrive.

Let me also note that teams relying on speed hate playing on soft turf that gives way in baseball stadiums. A fast team is going to be fired up to put on a show indoors. That same team will lose their enthusiasm very quickly when they can’t get any footing. You should have watched enough bowl action over the years to know which stadiums have questionable December footing.

Now…you normally won’t pick bowl winners based ONLY on THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. You’ll still want to factor in PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS for each team, as well as the caliber of the head coaches, and the matchups of strengths and weaknesses. A “fired up” run-based team may not be able to express that enthusiasm against a defense that’s great against the run for example.

The schedule has been announced. The early lines are up. I strongly encourage you to write the schedule down as soon as possible and start making notations about THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. It’s important to do this when recent results are fresh in your mind. You just experienced Championship Weekend. And, that came on the heels of a Rivalry Weekend that created many potential letdown or bounce back scenarios for bowl bound teams.

If you’d like some help finding the best bets on the board through the college bowl season (and the NFL through the Super Bowl), you’re certainly invited to sign up for my personal service. You can do so 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.

There’s a lot going on right now in the world of sports. So, we’ll have multiple posts per week for the time being. The Dean of Sports Handicapping know you can handle the coursework! You’ve made that very clear over the years by your constant attendance for this unique internet feature.

I’ve already spotted several games that are going to be BOWL BLOCKBUSTERS for myself and my clients. There are some false favorites. There are some dangerous dogs. And, there are certainly some virtually certain blowouts where oddsmakers couldn’t possibly put the right number on the game. I’m very confident that most of you will be able to find those. Help is just a few weeks away if you can’t!

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