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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, September 4, 2014 at 2:00 PM

Earlier this week, I outlined a few quick tips for handicapping season openers in the NFL. I wanted to continue with that theme here in the late-week coursework because we could only scratch the surface the last time out.

First, a quick review of fundamentals for you first time readers. Regular readers here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping will tell you that I ALWAYS EMPHASISIZE the concepts below:

*Look for PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS on both sides of the ball who are most likely to win your bet for you. My strongest plays for decades have come when there is a mismatch in this key area. Too many handicappers overthink things and lose sight of the basic fact that TALENT wins and covers ballgames. Evaluate all 32 pro teams in this light.

*Be aware of THE MOTIVATION FACTOR that can lead to either peak performances where teams play way over their heads because of a special motivating factor, or valley performances where teams play one of their worst games of the year because they lack motivation or are otherwise distracted. Generally, this is a much bigger factor later in the season than it is in Week One. But, there are a few situations on this weekend’s card worth trying to discover.

Then, the three keys from last time (please go read that article in the archives if you were out of pocket when it first went up):

*Bet against teams who are struggling to adjust to a new head coach or coordinator

*Don’t fall in love with teams who excelled in the Preseason because of backups

*Don’t overplay the card by making way too many bets because you’re excited!

I’ll now add these for your consideration and study…

*Don’t assume that offseason rules changes regarding coverage in the defensive secondary will lead to a universal scoring increase. Many here in Las Vegas were shocked when scoring DIDN’T go up right out of the gate in August exhibition action. And, I mean many oddsmakers (who had made line adjustments on Over/Unders) and well-known big money bettors (who had bet Overs anyway because they thought the adjustments weren’t enough). IMPORTANT people in the field were shocked!

I do believe that certain teams will benefit. And, there will be certain officiating crews who overdo it and have a huge influence on the particular game they happen to be calling. Just keep in mind that anything that makes it easier for offenses to move the chains with automatic first downs almost makes it easier for them to RUN CLOCK! Lesser teams trying to “shorten the game” with ball control offenses will find that easier to do. Superior teams with a big halftime lead can kill most of the second half with a couple of long, time-consuming drives that actually limit scoring potential.

*Look for particular “units” on a team that don’t have experience playing together. This can be the offensive line. This can be a quarterback with his receiving corps. This can be a defensive secondary. This can be a linebacking crew. Inexperience as a UNIT is a weakness in the NFL. And, weaknesses get attacked in Week One once the games really matter. Do you know which offensive lines may be in serious trouble out of the gate in 2014 in terms of opening holes for running backs or protecting the quarterback? You should.

*Try not to bet “teasers” in Week One. You action-minded bettors know all about teasers, where you move a line 6-points with two different teams, 10-points with three different teams, and now all sorts of variations from sportsbooks looking to take money from squares. Teasers CAN be beat. But, that’s very dicey in Week One because lines are as soft as they’ll ever be. Moving A GOOD, TIGHT, ACCURATE line six or 10 points can offer tremendous value. Opening week lines are so soft (relative guesses from oddsmakers) compared to what will eventually be known about all 32 NFL teams that you don’t really get much value. This also plays into my concern about you embracing too much action. Look for reasons NOT to bet unless you really love something in the opening week. Don’t fritter money away because you missed the NFL so much.

I can’t talk about specific teams or games here in the coursework because I need to protect that information for my clients. What I’ve discussed for you in this week’s two “preparation” reports will play a big role in determining my final card of major releases. And, I can tell you with 100% assurance that many casual bettors who aren’t aware of these themes are going to suffer betting disasters this weekend. Congrats on being an informed bettor who’s working so hard to get better!

If you’d like some help finding the best pro and college games on the board this weekend, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions about full season packages can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.

I’ll see you again early next week with what is likely to be a “read and react” report based on something that happens between now and then in the colleges or the pros. I try to keep coursework timely and relevant so students can profit immediately as developments unfold.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping appreciates your attendance. See you again next week.

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