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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, February 2, 2014 at 7:00 PM

We’re going to do some college basketball tutorials in the month of February to help get all newcomers to this site up to speed with handicapping priorities heading into March Madness. We love that so many of you have been with us since the beginning, when JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK first went online many years ago. But, every season brings in new Las Vegas bettors who love to GET THE MONEY!

You regulars know that NETWORK is based on an exclusive “team handicapping” approach that tries to cover all the bases from every possible angle. JIM HURLEY has on-site sources, computer programmers, trend historians, Wise Guy connections offshore and in Las Vegas, and a team of stat-based handicappers who crunch all the numbers. We were doing analytics before it became a big deal! These tutorials will largely be based on the work of the stat department…what they study, and what they send forward to the computer guys for their simulations.

Here are what we consider to be the most important stats in the boxscores you should be reading after every major game has been played:



It’s always defense first for serious handicappers, because the public focuses too much on offense! Look at shooting percentage allowed first. Then, make a quick assessment of “two-point” shooting percentage allowed by subtracting three-point performance from overall performance. If the mainstream media was smart, they would have separated two-point shooting and three-point shooting many years ago! They haven’t, which is an advantage for those of us who want an edge on the market.



We’ve always strongly endorsed rebounding as a very important handicapping stat in this sport. We’ll type “defense and rebounding wins championships” a couple of hundred times between now and the Dance finale. Just like very year! Rebounding is huge because…on defense it’s a virtual “steal” that ends the opposing teams possession…on offense it’s a chance to extend a possession that can now result in points instead of a failure. Your first two points of priority in boxscores are defense and rebounding.

You longtimers may remember a stat we invented many years ago called “Phantom Score.” That’s the combination of two-point scoring plus rebounding in any given game. We noticed a long time ago that the sum of those categories often comes close to matching the actual final score. When it doesn’t, it’s usually because of outlier performances in three-point shooting (very hot or very cold in a way that isn’t sustainable) or free throw shooting (the refs favored one side in a way that won’t repeat). You’ll be surprised how much your handicapping improves if you calculate a Phantom Score for every board game from that night’s boxscores.



Our next most important category is turnovers. You should be looking at the raw totals and the differential. It’s become common knowledge that great guard play is one of the secrets to success come tournament time. Great guard play is expressed in the turnover category! You want to know which offenses can play clean. You want to know which defenses can disrupt opponents with takeaways. And, you want to develop team profiles all the important midseason, late season, and postseason matchups. Looking at this area of play by itself will help you uncover countless value bets and big plays. Many of you don’t even think about turnovers when making picks. How can you expect to win without knowing what causes wins and losses?!

We generally don’t run many boxscores these days in the NOTEBOOK because readership has expressed an interest in looking forward rather than looking backward. YOU should spend a lot of time reading boxscores if you’re serious about picking winners in this sport (frankly, all sports!). Nothing is more fundamental to the basics of understanding handicapping. The fundamentals still work!

If you’re the type who prefers letting others do the work while you WIN, sign up for JIM HURLEY’S basketball right now at this website. We have big plays going nightly, many of which come in the marquee TV games you’ll be watching anyway. You can purchase those with your credit card. We also have some longterm packages available online that will take you through the NCAA tournament. If you have any questions, call us during in the office during normal business hours at at 1-888-777-4155.

These tutorials will continue through the month of February as we gear up for MARCH MADNESS. Back with you again soon!

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