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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 2:00 PM

You often hear TV pundits talk about how “freshman become sophomores” when the tournaments arrive, as a full season experience really kicks in and young stars start to perform at an even higher level. I think it was Al Maguire who first talked about this many years ago when NBC had the tournament. Well, I’ve noticed in recent seasons that this is actually happening much EARLIER than it used to. In fact, it’s starting to happen NOW in the 2013-2014 season.

Why is this happening? College freshmen these days are so much more experienced than they used to be that it’s hard to fully express. They’ve been playing AAU ball since they were very young. Many have been playing year-round basketball since middle school. It doesn’t take a full regular season of college hoops to turn a freshman into a sophomore any more. Not the caliber of athlete who’s capable of getting minutes at the college level. The modern world moves faster. Sports bettors have to move with it!

I should also mention that many of the best programs schedule tougher in November and December than they used to, which also speeds up the education process. Freshmen need to learn from their mistakes. You’re going to make those mistakes quicker, and learn from them sooner if you’re playing big TV games around the holidays rather than facing a bunch of cupcakes. Coaches know they’ll have some superstar freshmen for only one season before they the NBA takes them away. Coaches have figured out how to spur that maturation process along.

I strongly encourage you students of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping to review all the teams who have been counting on freshmen so far this season. Many have been disappointments. But, that’s not a surprise. This was the most hyped class of freshmen ever! No way they could all live up to expectations right out of the gate. Just remember that this was the most hyped class for a reason. The talent is still there. And, now the talent is ready to blossom through the rest of league play and into the tournaments.

Look for the NBA-bound stars to take a step forward in imminent fashion. Look for freshmen point guards to cut way down on their turnovers from this point forward. Look for freshmen shooters to show more confidence from long range and when they attack the basket. And, perhaps most importantly, look for teams trying to incorporate multiple freshmen in their rotations to start playing better team defense. Too many handicappers overlook the defensive side of the ball in this sport. Part of young teams getting better on the fly involves their better understanding of defensive principles at this level.

I want to emphasize how great an opportunity this is to beat the market. Oddsmakers are now locked into their Power Ratings that are based on what’s happened so far this season. They are loathe to make changes because they believe they have a good read on every major college team. Well, they DO have a good read on what WAS happening. Picking winners is based on anticipating what’s about to happen. Freshmen stars all over the map are about to lift their games. Oddsmakers won’t see it coming while YOU will!

Get to work! You will be rewarded often over the next several weeks. If you need some help finding the best bets on the board each night, you can sign up for service right here at this very website with your major credit card. My College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping was created to help do-it-yourselfers make better decisions. If you don’t believe you’re ready to go it alone, helps is always just a few clicks way.

If you’d like information about signing up for the rest of basketball through March Madness or the NBA Playoffs, talk to one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters home office at 1-888-777-4155.

Back with you again early next week to talk about the nuances of handicapping the NBA after the All-Star Break. I’ll generally be focusing on college hoops from now until March Madness. But, the period right after the ASB is ripe with opportunity for smart handicappers. I’ll tell you why the next time we get together. See you next week!

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