Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, November 28, 2014 at 7:00 AM
In recent days, you’ve been hearing a lot of people in the sports betting industry say that Vegas “experts” should pick the college football Final Four (just like they were saying this past March about seeding the college basketball brackets) because they know the teams better than anyone else. While I agree that myself and other handicappers have to be experts to make a living as sports bettors, what you’re seeing this season is a great reason NOT to have people in Vegas involved in the process.
It’s very hard for outsiders to tell who’s really an “expert.” And, a lot of the people who are calling themselves experts disagree about the teams!
We’re about to enter a huge two week stretch that will determine who qualifies for the Final Four and who doesn’t. Saturday #1 Alabama plays Auburn in the SEC, while #4 Mississippi State will likely be bested on the road against archrival Mississippi. Number three Florida State may or may not tested by Florida (many of you know I don’t think much of Florida this year…but they can certainly hang tough if teams like Miami, Boston College, Notre Dame, and Clemson did. Next week, #2 Oregon will have a tough game in the Pac 12 Championship (as will Alabama if they beat Auburn). Just out of the top four, Ohio State will face Wisconsin in the Big 10 Championship while Baylor will get Kansas State in the Big 12.
The local media here in Las Vegas has been asking various “experts” how they rank the teams. There’s little agreement right now beyond the fact that Alabama is #1 and Oregon should definitely be in the top four unless they get upset. Otherwise:
*Florida State is either an automatic, or a pretender who shouldn’t be in the top 10. (One prominent Vegas oddsmakers says he doesn’t have FSU in his top 20)
*Mississippi State is either a clear cut top four, or an overrated side that isn’t ready for the big time.
*Ohio State is either a deserving team or a joke.
*Baylor is either a superpower or a team that would get exposed against the best.
I could on…but you get the point. There isn’t any more agreement amongst “experts” in Vegas than there is amongst media pundits or pollsters. It reminds me of the time several years ago when everyone was insisting that “computers” should pick BCS finalists to take the human element out of it. Well, computers are programmed by humans. And, some of the computer ratings systems chosen for the process were horrible! One of the reason we have a committee now is because computers failed so badly.
Would Vegas fail just as badly? Depends on which “experts” were selected.
There are a handful of truly smart oddsmakers here in Las Vegas. A disappointing number are Public Relations guys who just copy lines from offshore then give generic quotes to the media. Frankly, I’m embarrassed by some of the things said publicly by oddsmakers. It makes the industry look bad when they’re boldly touting a team who gets embarrassed the next time they take the field (or basketball court). Now, who do you think would get picked to represent “Vegas?” The PR guys who have great relationships with the press? Or, the quiet guys who actually do all the work? We both know the wrong guys would get picked.
There are a lot of very strong professional bettors here in Vegas. Though, life gets harder for them year after year because sportsbooks don’t want their action…they find a way to get their money down one way or another. I’m talking about the true pro’s who bet the openers in a way that pushes the number to the right spot. The guys that are better than the best oddsmakers. Do you think they want to identify themselves publicly in the selection process? No way! They couldn’t afford the pay cut.
Similar situation here in terms of possibly hurting the bottom line. Any respected handicapper who has to publicize his ratings will find the market shading against him right out of the gate. And, you also have the issue of “self-promoters” trying to crash the party at the expense of guys who have passed the test of time as proven longterm winners.
Even though I think that the selection committee is likely to make at least one mistake. I’m not ready to turn the responsibility over to “Las Vegas.” Let me be clear. I think that KELSO STURGEON would do a better job. But, there’s no way they’re going to let one man have the responsibility by himself. I could hand pick a few trusted colleagues who would also do a great job. Oddsmakers? That’s who I’ve been beating for decades! I know many who aren’t up to the task. And, frankly, I like having them where they are.
This weekend, I’ll let the selection committee worry about the Final Four. I’ll worry about picking winners! I suggest that all of you students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping do the same. I gave you plenty of homework in our last get together earlier this week. I’m confident that’s positioned you well to thrive through the rest of Rivalry Weekend. Let the media worry about rankings. YOU find edges and exploit them.
If you’d like some help doing that, you can purchase my BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card all through the holiday weekend. Questions about extended service can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Now, get away from the table and start heading to the pay windows! The Dean of Sports Handicapping will be back with you again early next week.
Be sure to follow:
Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters