Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 4:00 PM
I wanted to devote today’s coursework to college football because both of last week’s discussions were about the NFL. I think what struck me most this past Saturday in the colleges in terms of a factor that we haven’t had a chance to discuss yet was the following:
MOST COLLEGE QUARTERBACKS ARE IN OVER THEIR HEADS
There are a few true standouts who are legitimate PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. I will continue to invest in them with confidence moving forward. And, there are many other “game managers” who can at least move the ball safely as favorites against outmanned opposition. But, even those young men are in trouble when they have to score points against good defenses.
To help you visualize the dynamic, let’s break quarterbacks down into four categories:
*High Yardage, Few Mistakes (the true elite)
*High Yardage, a lot of Mistakes (fast break football)
*Low Yardage, Few Mistakes (game managers)
*Low Yardage, a lot of Mistakes (desperation options)
I strongly advise you to spend some time this week labeling college quarterbacks by those standards. If you only follow your local conference, figure out how the starters in that league are categorized. If you handicap the whole college board in Las Vegas, spend the extra time to get the job done for all 125-plus starters (and, ideally, the first replacement off the bench). For many teams, this is easy and obvious. For returning starters, look at last year’s yardage and TD/INT ratios. For new starters, the skill sets are fairly apparent within a few series let alone two games.
Frankly, if you’re just doing one conference because you’re an average fan, you can do those dozen or so teams in a few seconds off the top of your head! If not, you shouldn’t be betting! If you’re more of a Power Ratings guy or market follower, you may need to do some digging through boxscores to get up to speed on the mid-major schools you only casually follow.
Handicapping from this perspective becomes very easy. You obviously want to back “Few Mistakes” vs. “a lot of Mistakes” guys within each yardage category. It can get tricky when the mistake-prone fast break teams face a smart game manager. My general rule of thumb is to take the game manager as an underdog, or pass the matchup entirely unless THE MOTIVATION FACTOR is strongly pointing to one of the two teams. A fired up “fast break” team can run away and hide from game managers if that game’s emotional boost allows them to avoid turnovers.
The headline of this article referenced how rare it is to find college quarterbacks who can pass accurately. You can see how that impacts our QB categories. Three of the four labels involve either low yardage or interception-tendencies. Modern defenses have really upped their aggressiveness, blitzing much more often than in the past…while trying to force turnovers instead of passively “keeping everything in front of them.” There just aren’t 125 quarterbacks who can deal with that (or 250 if you count #2 on the depth chart).
Being a college quarterback ain’t easy. Neither is being a handicapper who makes a living betting on sports! But, KELSO STURGEON tries to make it easier for those of you who are truly committed to doing the work it takes to succeed. The homework I’ve given you today is far from overwhelming. Yet, the power created by the knowledge you gain will help you overwhelm the markets. You saw again this past weekend how far pointspreads can be from the ultimate final scoreboard margins. Think back to games you watched on TV that may have surprised you. Can you find the heart of that surprise in the QB categories I listed above?
If you’d like some help finding the best college and pro games on the board later this week, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. (That’s true for daily pennant race baseball too!) 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.
Back again later this week to talk more football. I plan to pick up with some baseball again once the playoffs start in October. For now, coursework will emphasize how to beat the number in college and pro football, with “read and react” themes that will keep content connected to your current experience. I’m not teaching from a textbook published in the 1960’s. I’m helping you read the textbook that’s being written by each day’s football headlines.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping is thrilled that so many of you have stuck with the program through the years, and equally thrilled by the number of new readers we get each week. See you next time.