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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 7:00 PM

The last time we were together, I talked about the State of the Union in college basketball. My presentation was more entertaining and insightful than the president’s! I’m back with you today in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping for further hoops discussion.

My theme today is THE MOTVATION FACTOR. This is one of the hallmarks of my approach as you regulars know. I believe it will be the single biggest influence in determining who covers pointspreads over the next few weeks. Last time I mentioned that the defensive nature of the current game is helping to neutralize the past impact of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. But, the keys behind MOTIVATION are still very much in play.

When considering any game on the board, you should focus very intently on which team is more motivated for that encounter. Sometimes it’s obvious. Sometimes it’s not. And, honestly, a lot of times this factor cancels out and you should pass the game. Beating college basketball is often about knowing which games to throw out! Here are questions you should be asking.

*Which team has revenge off the most recent meeting?

*Does a veteran team have “double revenge” from last season?

*Is the favorite coming off a good game, or a bad game?

*Is the underdog coming off a good game, or a bad game?

Let’s start with those four. REVENGE and REVERSALS. It’s true that revenge is often overrated in sports handicapping. But, I’d argue that the market underrates it when you have a QUALITY team in a revenge spot…or a hot up-and-comer looking to make a statement. Those teams channel their anger very well, and it shows up on the scoreboard. I honestly don’t care if a bad team has revenge over a good team. Bad teams lose to good teams all the time! Quality with a chip on its shoulder is a good thing.

In the middle of a season, college teams often yo-yo back and forth between good outings and bad outings. They have trouble maintaining motivation generally because the tournaments are so far away. But, they do regain their focus quickly after a loss. This isn’t a good time to bet streaks. Generally, you want to avoid favorites if they just played a game way over their heads, but back favorites who just played poorly. You want to avoid underdogs who just had a peak outing (they can’t do that twice in a row), while backing decent underdogs who just had a bad game (you’ll never see Kelso Sturgeon release a play on a BAD team regardless of what just happened to then).

Moving on…

*Did the team just play a big name opponent in a prominent TV game?

*Is the team about to play a big name opponent in a prominent TV game the next time out?

Letdowns and lookaheads. So many games are on TV now…that you really need to focus on PROMINENT matchups that are televised. Duke/Boston College may be on TV somewhere…but that’s not going to attract the attention of Duke’s players. (It will influence the focus of BC though).

Have the TV schedules handy…and try to take some time to map out the biggest TV games form this point forward. They’re available…and we’re only talking about six weeks of action. You could know that out in an hour or two. There’s just no reason to lay points with a big name team right before or right after a big TV game. Mapping out the schedule helps you avoid that trap.

*Is this a classic rivalry for geographical or historical reasons?

Generally, both teams show up for their most hated rivals. This creates value on the underdog. But, if the favorite has revenge…then it can be quite a boost because rivalries magnify emotions. Every team has at least one or two key rivals. Every conference has games that generate a lot of media coverage in their regions. Be sure you’re on top of these games when they hit the schedule.

We still have more than a week before the Super Bowl gets here…which means several days of bankroll building potential as we gear up for our most important Las Vegas bets of the season. If you’d like some help finding the best basketball plays on the board, you can purchase my top nightly plays 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.

I’ve decided that both class get-togethers next week will emphasize the Super Bowl. It’s such a big game this year matching the top seeds in each conference…and two teams that fans love to hate! There’s a lot of buzz here in Las Vegas already. We need to focus on that exclusively next week. I’ll resume basketball coverage in early February in the build-up to the Big Dance.

If any of you are on the fence about jumping into college basketball, I hope you’ll think very seriously about the profits you’ll be missing out on if you just pack it in until next football season. We have one more football game until August…and no regular season action until even later. Basketball can be exploited in the colleges through the end of March, and in the NBA all through the championships in June. The Dean of Sports Handicapping wants you to win year round! Give it some thought. See you next time.


Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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