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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, February 2, 2015 at 4:00 PM

Okay, the Super Bowl is in the past…and it’s time to focus on the Road to March Madness. I’m going to outline some homework today that will allow you newcomers to get quickly up to speed…while providing an important review for those of you who have been betting college baskets but have started to coast.

This is not the time to either jump in cold and overbet the card…or to relax because only basketball is on the board. This is a time to do the work so you can reap the rewards!

 

COMPUTER RATINGS

There are a variety of respected systems on the internet that show you how everybody ranks at the moment. You probably know a lot about the TV teams if you’ve been checking in on ESPN every so often. But, I’d bet you’d do a horrible job of differentiating between teams rated 30-60, and those rated 70-100. A lot has changed since last season! Since there are more than 200 teams on the Vegas board…this means you’re really flying blind for most of the sport.

I’m not very picky about which computer gurus you use. I personally make my own numbers while keeping an eye on where my numbers different from the computers. Pick at least two places, preferably 3-4 places…and build a composite based on that data. You’ll have the ranges figured out immediately, and will have most teams pegged in no time. Honestly, you should begin this process as soon as you’ve finished reading this. Here’s a challenge…find Connecticut! The defending national champs have fallen quite a bit.

 

STANDINGS

It’s easy for handicappers to lose site of the conference standings because they’re so worried about day-to-day pointspreads. Just remember that the coaches and the kids know the standings! They’re worrying about how they stack up in the race. They’re eyeballing certain teams to score upsets against. Their priorities aren’t necessarily reflected in computer ratings. They’re reflected in the standings because that’s how they measure up against the teams who matter most. Be sure you have those handy, and update them every day in your conferences of interest. As we get closer to the conference tournaments, pay particular attention to seeding dynamics.

 

AGAINST THE SPREAD PERFORMANCES

I think far too many handicappers see ATS records (against the spread) from a team perspective. They should be thinking about the MARKET perspective. If a team is 5-10 ATS, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad. It means they’re overrated. The market is making mistakes with them. Study ATS records (and Over/Under records) with an eye towards finding those teams that the market is struggling to read properly. Then, try to find if corrections have been made…or if over-corrections have created value the other way. Sometimes a team will start out great against the spread, but struggle over their last 10 games because the line has moved too much just as they’re cooling off.

If you’re overwhelmed by the sheer number of teams on the Vegas board, take some smaller bites. Study the computer ratings, standings, and ATS records for teams in your local conference(s). If you prefer betting TV games, focus on the ACC and Big 10 (or whoever you like to watch). If you believe the market knows the power conferences well, but makes mistakes in the mid-majors…pick a few of those. What I’ve outlined for you today will help you make smart choices within any framework. So, do your homework and be informed!

If you’d like some help finding the best basketball plays on the board every night, you can purchase my game day BEST BETS 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.

The Super Bowl turned out to be a disappointment based on one of the most questionable coaching decisions I’ve ever seen in my life. Sometimes you do the right thing and a head coach or key player screws everything up for you! That’s part of gambling. Sometimes your poker opponent gets a lucky river card. Sometimes the blackjack dealer gets a 6 on his 15 to beat your two face cards. Over the long haul, doing the work and making the right choices will pay off for you. I’m living proof of that, having made my living in the sports betting field for many decades.

Today you’re a student in Kelso Sturgeon’s College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. Tomorrow, you may be a professional gambler exploiting edges that the market can’t help but give away.

I’ll be back with you again later this week to talk about more basketball. We’ll mostly be focused on the colleges from now through March Madness. I’ll try to sprinkle in some NBA here and there. I know some pro hoop handicappers who are doing very well this season because the market has been slow to react to several different storylines. Audience interest dictates college hoops in the month of February. Smart bettors are looking for edges wherever they can find them!

 

Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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