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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, July 27, 2015 at 7:00 PM

NFL training camps will be opening up across the league this week. We’re closing in quickly on the start of the 2015 exhibition slate. That makes this the ideal time to talk about how handicappers should monitor media coverage so they can make informed bets.

First…I want to talk about the big picture. Almost all media coverage initially is going to be about the outlook for the coming season. Nobody’s focused yet on who’s going to win or lose a Preseason game on the second Friday of August. The New England Patriots are going to be talking about whether or not they can repeat. Other playoff teams will talk about trying to go the distance. Non-playoff teams will talk about trying to reach the playoffs. The handful of really horrible teams will talk about how the draft or coaching changes will help them get back in the mix.

Note that everyone’s talking about GETTING BETTER! It’s obviously impossible for all 32 teams to get better. So, there’s not really much point in students of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping listening to the hype. It’s just coaches and players running commercials for themselves. Change the channel during commercials.

Here’s what YOU should pay attention to…

*Any talk of turmoil or controversy

*Any talk of aging veterans losing a step

*Any talk of the front office and the head coach being on different pages

If those kinds of stories can break through all the rose-colored glasses to get some traction…then you’re probably looking at a team that’s going to underachieve this season. Coaches and players are trained to feed favorable storylines to reporters. Front offices are trying to sell tickets and merchandise by telling you how great everything is going to be. NEGATIVE stories carry weight, and should be monitored very closely by sports bettors.

Of course…some teams WILL actually get better. How do you spot those teams when the media is making it sound like almost everyone is going to get better?

*Review last season to find areas that need improvement for each team

*Monitor new developments in those specific areas (trades, drafts, coaching changes)

*Review the career performances of the players/coaches who are supposed to fix the problem

If a team had a poor defense last year…but hired a new defensive coordinator with a proven track record…and HE’S making changes that are getting the local media excited. Then, you’re probably talking about a real effect that you need to be aware of. On the other hand, if they hired a new coordinator who hasn’t impressed in his prior jobs (which happens too often because there are so many retreads), it won’t matter.

You can do the same things with players. Let’s say a team with spotty passing attack acquired a PLAYMAKER or GAMEBREAKER at the wide receiver position. If he’s drawing raves…and his teammates are excited about what they see…then legitimate team improvement is probably on the way. But, if it’s the same receivers as last year, and the coaches are telling the media they all magically got better in the’re know you’re being bluffed.

Bottom line…combine media coverage with your own knowledge of coaching and player personnel.

Now…that’s the big picture. In terms of handicapping game-by-game through the Preseason, please pay very close attention to how coaches are describing their planned talent rotations. Combine that with what you’ve learned from these coaches in past Preseasons, and many game will literally pick themselves.

You’ll have head coaches with a proven track record of not caring about results telling the press that the starters will barely play at all. You’ll have head coaches with proven track records of Preseason success telling the press that starters will play well into the second quarter (or beyond) because he doesn’t have time to slowly build to the regular season. You’ll have head coaches admitting they don’t care much about Game Two…but they care A LOT about the dress rehearsal in Game Three. You’ll have head coaches confirming that they care more about what the defense does than what the offense does…which might trigger an Under bet for you.

So…use early media coverage from training camp to visualize how the season is likely to play out for each team. Then, use week-to-week coverage through August to try to find the best Preseason betting opportunities.

If you’d like some help, my personal service selections can be purchased right here at this very website with your major credit card. We’re building our bankrolls with baseball now, and will be attacking football in very short order. 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 Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your hard work and attendance. I’ll be back with you again later this week with more coursework. We’ll generally be trending toward more football than baseball because it’s the more important betting sport here in Las Vegas. I’ll let the late-week headlines determine our next theme…then August will be a football heavy month.  If you’re like me, you’re very excited about the coming start of the 2015 football season!


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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