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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, January 24, 2014 at 5:00 PM

One of the trickiest things about handicapping college basketball is determining the point value of key injuries. Some players look like they’re worth several points (Colorado has struggled vs. quality since losing Spencer Dinwiddie). Other players, no matter how talented, don’t actually have much of an impact on results when they’re out of the lineup because of quality depth. A player’s “worth” often isn’t actually based on his own value, but on the value of his replacement.

We’re currently seeing several teams dealing with at least minor injuries in college basketball. Here are some quick guidelines for those of you studying the coursework in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.

 

*Point guard injuries can be devastating!

This is like losing your quarterback in pro or college football. You have to have a firm hand guiding the offense. Losing a star point guard and having him replaced by an inexperienced backup can bring the offense to a screeching halt. You saw this with Oregon for several games last season. We’re probably about to see it with somebody else in the immediate future because the injury rate at the position is higher than zero. Do not ask a team to cover a spread for you if they have to start an inexperienced point guard after an injury to a starter1

 

*Injuries to post defenders can ruin your defense!

Some high impact college players don’t express themselves in the offensive stats. They make their presence felt on the defensive end by guarding the basket and denying easy buckets. Take that OUT of a lineup because of an injury, and opponents will race to the basket unstopped if the backup is short, slow, or foul prone. A lot of handicappers know who the best scorers are. But, few really know who the best inside defenders are, particularly once you get away from the major TV conferences. Be sure you’re aware of the health of defensive GAMEBREAKERS.

 

*Any injury to a team with a short rotation is bad news!

Some college basketball teams spread their minutes around liberally, which reduces the impact when any one player has to miss time with an injury. But, teams who focus their minutes on six or seven players (particularly in their most important games) can’t absorb injury impact very well. The replacement isn’t ready for the big time, and immediately becomes a weak link that smart opponents will try to exploit. I strongly encourage you to read every game boxscore so you can develop a sense of each team’s normal rotations in the conference you prefer to handicap. Remember, the “point value” of an injury impact is often based on the quality of the replacement. Deep teams can absorb the new minutes with nary an influence. Shallow teams cannot.

It would take several articles to run the gamut of injury handicapping. But, the factors I’ve outlined for you today do most of the heavy lifting. If you know depth, quarterback play, and defense at the rim, you’ll at least be able to avoid betting on teams in trouble. And, you’ll be positioned to FADE those teams with opponents who can take advantage.

I hope you’ll spend some time studying the injury lists this weekend. And researching what happens on the floor Saturday and Sunday so you can make smart betting decisions moving forward in college hoops.

If you find yourself in need of assistance with college basketball this weekend, you can always purchase my top plays here at this very website with your major credit card. If you have questions about this week or long term packages, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155. It’s very easy to include my full Super Bowl card with any basketball package that you sign up for.

Back with you early next week to talk about handicapping the Super Bowl. Las Vegas has been buzzing about this game since the night of the conference championships. Many stores have put up their Super Bowl props, which is only going to magnify interest and traffic at sportsbooks. I again encourage you to spend at least on Super Bowl weekend in your lifetime here in Las Vegas. It’s like New Year’s Eve at Times Square, only better!

Keep working hard as you improve your do-it-yourself performances. I hope you’re remembering to print out all of these articles so you can create a virtual textbook that can be used for years to come. The Dean of Sports Handicapping loves to hear success stories about serious handicappers who have taken the bull by the horns and turned their portfolios around. It’s happened many times over since the coursework began years ago. Maybe YOU will be the next success story!

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