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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, December 8, 2014 at 3:00 PM

College football will take a hiatus from the sports betting schedule (except for this Saturday’s Army/Navy game) until the bowls begin on December 20. So, that opens up an opportunity to devote some class work to early season college basketball. We’ll do that today, then go back to the NFL for our second get-together later this week.

Many sports bettors are struggling through the early part of the 2014-15 college hoops season. I hear a lot of complaining when I’m spending time in local sportsbooks. And, some of the most prominent “quants” are off to bad starts because reality isn’t cooperating with their math! KELSO STURGEON has been beating college hoops for decades because I know what works and what doesn’t regardless of what computer programmers think. I have a few things to say about what’s been happening on the floor so far.

*First of all, game pace has slowed way down. The quants will confirm this for you. This has created a slew of very ugly games where “over-coached” offenses passed the ball around for 30 seconds before forcing up a bad shot. It’s gotten to the point where many “powers” are winning because of offensive rebounding. It’s assumed nobody’s going to make the first shot. Winners make the putbacks! Few teams are running. Few teams are attacking the basket with their best ballhandlers. Everyone’s in love with the three-point shot because there just aren’t enough superstar athletes to go around.

*Secondly, shot selection is bad on the teams who aren’t overcoached! Kids today are growing up with a ball-hog mentality where they all want to be the guy who takes the shot. This works for about 1 of every 50 kids. The other 49 force up ill-advised shots in traffic then scowl at the ref if a foul isn’t called. Rock and a hard place for offense. Undercoached teams can’t score, Overcoached teams run out the clock on themselves too often.

*Third, there is a legitimate passion for defense that now exists in the game. It’s great to see young athletes defending with energy and celebrating steals or blocked shots. There used to be a criticism of young basketball players that nobody knew how to play defense. While I don’t like what I’m seeing from selfish offensive players, I truly have great respect for everyone hustling on defense.

For handicappers, this creates some fairly obvious scenarios.

*Focus on UNDERS because the market has been slow to react

*Focus on DEFENSIVE teams because they’ll squeeze out value

*Focus on REBOUNDING teams because there are so many missed shots

*If you find a team that can SCORE CONSISTENTLY, ride them!

*If you find an offense that does ATTACK THE BASKET, ride them!

*If you find an offense with great OFFENSIVE REBOUNDING, take them at cheap prices or as dogs

Common sense really. But, handicapping has always been about common sense. Watch the games. Keep stats in their proper context as evidence but not the be-all end-all. Make smart decisions based on what you learn.

With that in mind, here’s some homework for those of you ready to include college basketball handicapping in your personal arsenal.

Study current statistical performance in:

*Team Rebounding

*Team Defense using points allowed per possession

*Team Defense against opponent’s two-point shooting

*Team Offense using points scored per possession

*Offensive free throw attempts earned

Use your TV and DVR to catch as many games as possible

*Make yourself watch at least one game per night

*Record at least two others and scroll through those at a faster speed

*Watch (or record) the nightly highlight shows

Monitor team performance against the spread

*Look at ATS marks so far and Over/Under records too for board teams

*Study the nightly results to see who the market is still missing on

*Look for either team consistency or team inconsistency that can be exploited in the future

Now, this may sound like a lot of work. IT IS! My best suggestion if you’re a relative newcomer…or if you just want to add a taste of college basketball into what you’re already doing with football…is to pick your favorite one or two conferences and focus on those. Watch the TV games in those leagues. Study the stats and ATS marks there. Maybe it’s the ACC for some of you, the Big 10 or Big 12 for others. If you live out West, make it the Pac 12 or Mountain West. Give yourself a reasonable workload, but then work really hard with that load!

If you’d like some help in college basketball, my daily BEST BETS can be purchased right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions about extended service can be answered personally by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office at 1-888-777-4155.

Again, there’s no college football until December 20. And, even then, most of the early games involve low profile teams who many of you may have been ignoring anyway. RIGHT NOW is a great time for you to jump into college basketball. You’ll get caught up within a couple of days…and ready to attack opportunities you see on the board through the rest of the month and into conference play early in 2015.

See you again later this week for more NFL coursework. The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.


Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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