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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, February 10, 2014 at 2:00 PM

As I was watching one of the TV doubleheaders the other night, it occurred to me that this might be the WORST year ever for media coverage in college basketball. Many of the “superpowers” who were supposed to run roughshod over the sport have been relative disappointments. Quite a few teams have surged up to make very strong cases as at least Elite Eight contenders in the Big Dance. The word “sleeper” may not have any meaning this season because there are so many good teams that anybody can get hot from this point forward.

If you were giving respect to what the media was telling you back in November and December, then you probably lost a fortune in January and the first part of February. Therefore…if you’re giving respect to what the media is telling you NOW, then it’s going to cost you down the stretch and in the tournaments. Don’t listen to the media!

Why do all the pundits, many of whom are former head coaches, do such a bad job of reporting reality in college basketball? That seems like a great idea for a topic of discussion here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. The following reasons are all in play:

*The TV networks are trying to hype their future telecasts, so they focus on the positive rather than the negative. Winning sports betting often comes from recognizing a team’s weakness and exploiting it. Getting good TV ratings comes from hyping the “greatness” of teams (even those who aren’t anything close to great) so that viewers will tune into future telecasts.

*Former coaches are part of a fraternity that generally doesn’t criticize each other. They didn’t like hearing criticism when they were coaches. They don’t want to put any pressure on their buddies who are still in the field. Well, let me tell you as the Dean of Sports Handicapping, a lot of money is won by betting against bad coaches! The media isn’t going to tell you who those are. You need to figure it out for yourself.

*And, I have to say that the money involved is so big right now…that the TV networks see themselves as business partners with all the conferences. They’re not “covering” games the way a journalist would. They’re selling you soap the way Proctor and Gamble would. It’s all product to them. Any former head coach who’s currently a color announcer wouldn’t keep his job if he told you the whole truth. The media is not an “information provider” that handicappers and sports bettors can trust. It’s a “sales driver” trying to get you excited about future telecasts and the coming postseason.

The poor starts relative to expectations from the November superpowers is a reminder that winning handicappers do their own work. Let the oddsmakers listen to the TV guys (you wouldn’t believe how many of them do just that rather than studying stats and team tendencies). You should continue to apply the fundamentals of winning handicapping that I’ve been pounding into your head for years here at this website.

*Look for mismatches in the areas of PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS, because those are the players who will cover pointspreads for you. Sometimes the media darlings are short on GAMEBREAKERS in a given year, while “off the radar” teams have several players who can shoot.

*Know who the good coaches are, and who the bad coaches are. You’ll add several winners a week by betting against bad coaches stuck in bad scheduling spots.

*Adjust for THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. Know who has revenge (as we discussed in depth last week). Know who’s in a potential look-ahead to a big TV game, or who’s in a letdown after an important rivalry win. There’s an ebb and flow to every season. The media wants you to think it’s one long wave of awesomeness. The media would go broke if they had to make a living betting!

KELSO STURGEON has been making a living in the field of sports handicapping for decades. I started long before many of you were born. I may have started before some of your fathers were born! My years of experience continues to pay off because the fundamentals of success haven’t changed. And, the increased media coverage of college basketball has helped made picking games EASIER because the amount of bad information on television has magnified.

If you’re having trouble picking games on your own at the moment, you can take advantage of my experience right here at this very website with your major credit card. Game day releases are up every afternoon, well in advance of the first tip-off. I have value-priced seasonal rates that you can take advantage of as well. If you have any questions, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155.

I’ll see you again next week for more coursework. I’m currently planning to discuss post-All-Star Break handicapping in the NBA…which will be trickier than ever because so many teams seem to be disinterested in winning. Oddsmakers are going to hate the stretch run of the NBA, which means smart handicappers should love it! Thanks again for your hard work. I look forward to seeing you again next week.

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