Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, December 30, 2013 at 3:00 PM
I told you I’d work very hard to provide some “read and react” updates through the college football bowl season. The big story right now as we head into the games of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day involves the incredible number of Unders we’ve been seeing so far. Where did all the scoring go?!
I have a few ideas about what’s been happening so far.
*BAD OFFENSES IN BOWLS
The high number of bowl games means that a lot of mediocre teams earn bids because they found a way to become “bowl eligible” against soft schedules. This year, a lot of those mediocre teams were winning with defense (and good luck in close games) rather than offense. In the past, many of mid-major or lower level major conference bowl entries featured a spread offense/bad defense prototype that led to shootouts. This year, teams like Tulane, Buffalo, Ohio, Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers…well, this is getting to be a long list! You can see what I mean. This isn’t a case of great offenses suddenly having bad games. A lot of the Unders so far involve below average offenses struggling to score against a quality opponent.
*RUST IS REAL
People have talked in the past about how the layoff between the regular season and bowls leads to rusty starts for many offenses. I thought that had been overplayed in the past in games involving all the spread offenses. The color announcer would talk about rust in the pre-game, then it would be 24-21 early in the second quarter. With BAD or below average offenses, rust becomes a bigger issue. Offenses that weren’t that great to begin with lose what little timing they did have. Maybe with the best spread offenses…it takes them a series or two to get back up to speed. With bad offenses, it just isn’t going to happen at all.
*DEFENSES MORE AGGRESSIVE
The trend in college football right now is for much more blitzing and aggression at the point of attack than we had been seeing in the past. You used to witness long bowl stretches where defenses just sat back in a “prevent” the whole day hoping for the best. Many programs are now mimicking the NFL with creative blitz packages. Others have done a better job recruiting and training pass rushers. Defensive coordinators substitute more liberally now. I’m not saying that the “prevent” has disappeared from the college game. Some head coaches are still too timid on defense. But, it’s harder than it used to be for an offense to give its quarterback time to throw.
Now, put ALL of those together…and you have creative blitz packages attacking rusty, mediocre offenses…which leads to lower scoring game that stay well below the market price.
Is this going to continue through the rest of the bowls? DON’T ASSUME THAT!
Many elite offenses will be taking the field from this point forward. Many will be doing so in good scoring conditions indoors or outdoors in great weather. And, the market is adjusting (surprisingly slowly) to the new realities of college football scoring. There will still be some games that go Under. I would be shocked if it was nothing but Unders the rest of the way…which is basically what we’ve seen for the past week.
As you can imagine, I have some really big plans for my clients on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, and beyond. One reason I’m talking about totals today is because I need to protect my information about all the major team side releases that are coming up in a matter of hours! You can purchase all of my best games right here at this very website with your major credit card. My College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping is designed to help do-it-yourselfers. If you need additional assistance, help is always just a few clicks away.
If you’d like more details about available packages (that also include the NFL playoffs and basketball), talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155.
I hope each and every one of you reading this gets to spend at least one New Year’s Eve here in Las Vegas. I know New York gets all the media coverage because of the ball drop…and because the media is based in New York! Let me tell you…you haven’t truly wrung in a New Year until you’ve done so here in Las Vegas. And THAT’S the best advice you’ll hear today from the Dean of Sports Handicapping!
I’ll be back again on these pages later this week to talk about the Wildcard games in the NFL that go Saturday and Sunday. Bring in the New Year responsibly so you have your head on straight for all the money-making opportunities just ahead. And, HAPPY NEW YEAR from KELSO STURGEON!