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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Last week I talked to you about the importance of THE MOTIVATION FACTOR when handicapping college football bowl games. This week, I’m going to emphasize the role that PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS play in these games.

You longtime students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping know that this is typically my first point of emphasis in all sports. I have to tweak it slightly in the bowls because motivation means so much in the college postseason. That doesn’t move today’s category off the map…it just got knocked down a little.

 

KNOW YOUR GAMEBREAKERS!

Before you handicap any bowl game, be sure you know the handful of key players who got those teams where they are.

 

*Quarterbacks: know the difference between a star and a game manager

*Receivers: know who can go the distance for touchdowns

*Running backs: know who can carry a team on their shoulders if needed

 

There are some bowl offenses that are loaded with threats. There are some that have only one or two threats but reached the postseason because of great defense or a soft schedule. If you’re going to invest money on a team, you need to understand in advance how it is they’re going to win for you.

 

KNOW YOUR DEFENSES!

Football games are like chess on grass. Each team is trying to counteract what the other is doing. Some bowl caliber defenses are good enough to take opposition GAMEBREAKERS and PLAYMAKERS out of their game entirely…or at least slow them down.

 

*Don’t bet on a great running back against a great run defense

*Don’t lay points on a pass-heavy attack against a defense that forces turnovers

 

*Bet aggressively on a great running back against a soft run defense (especially as a dog)

*Bet aggressively on a great QB with quality receivers against a poor pass defense

 

*Bet the Over if BOTH teams are positioned to unleash GAMEBREAKERS

*Bet the Under if NEITHER team has high impact players in position to thrive

 

Finding advantages in bowl matchups is really very easy once you know who the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS are. It’s stuns me every season how many squares in the general public bet based on a couple of games they watched on TV this year, or some trend they heard about somewhere.

I strongly encourage you RIGHT NOW to get busy so you have all of your ducks in a row before the games get started this weekend. It’s extremely difficult to stay caught up amidst the busy schedule once it’s rolling along. Every easy winner you miss costs you money! Study the individual player stats for all bowl entries. Those are very easy to find online in a variety of places. Do the same for defense, being sure to break things down both against the run and against the pass.

Then, COMBINE what you learn this week with what you learned last week with our coursework regarding THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. It’s not an exaggeration to say that winners will jump off the page at you.

BEST BETS: Teams with matchup advantages who care about the result facing soft defenses who lack motivation in this matchup

VALUE BETS: Teams with at least one thing they can exploit while enjoying an edge in motivation…or that type of team as underdogs if motivation is even.

YOU MUST AVOID: Teams who have reasons to be very low in motivation because they’re disappointed they weren’t in a better bowl…because their head coach has left…or because they just put everything on the field in a season-ender against a hated rival. Plus, you must avoid teams who don’t have a clear way to put points on the scoreboard against the particular defense they’re matched up against.

The biggest mistake I see people making every year in bowl handicapping is that they fall in love with disinterested favorites who have soft defenses. They lay -7, or -10, or -14 only to see their disinterested dog lose outright. The second biggest mistake I see is that people DON’T BET ENOUGH when they have fired up GAMEBREAKERS in TRUE blowout scenarios. The skills I’ve taught you this week and last will help you see the difference.

If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the bowl board over the next month, you can purchase my top side and total releases right here at this very website with your major credit card. Or, you can talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155 if you need more information.

We’ll talk about the NFL again the next time we’re together later this week. I plan on some “read and react” articles on the bowls once the games get underway. There’s a Grand Slam of kickoff openers this Saturday (New Mexico, Las Vegas, Famous Idaho Potato, and New Orleans Bowls), then we start going almost nightly Christmas Week.

Thanks again for all of your hard work. The Dean of Sports Handicapping is very appreciative of your continued attendance.

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