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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, September 4, 2015 at 4:00 PM

If you were watching college football on the opening Thursday night of the 2015 season, you were probably wondering what happened to all the scoring. Game after game saw relatively quiet scoreboards in what were supposed to be high scoring affairs. North Carolina/South Carolina set the tone for the evening staying Under by 32 points in the TV opener. If you stayed up super-late for Colorado/Hawaii, that was also a double digit Under.

In fact, eight of the 10 games on the main board stayed Under…and it usually wasn’t close. Six of the eight stayed Under by double digits! It would have been seven of eight but Utah scored a defensive TD on a pick-six against Michigan. The three games totaled at 60 or higher only made it to 30 (NC/SC), 48 (Colorado/Hawaii), and 26 (Western Kentucky/Vandy in the write-in game). Three certified “shootouts” averaged a measly 35 points between them.

Where did all the touchdowns go?!

The Dean of Sports Handicapping has a few thoughts that you should keep in mind in the opening weeks of the new season:

*Defenses are adjusting to the spread offense, and are doing a better job of keeping everything in front of them. That runs clock…makes teams settle for field goal attempts rather than scoring touchdowns…and leads to turnovers if the opposing offense isn’t executing just right. Given how shaky field goal kickers are in the colleges…and how shaky many quarterbacks are in the red zone…this can really inhibit high point totals.

*There aren’t enough truly good quarterbacks to go around. Running a spread offense with a great quarterback is virtually unstoppable except for the very best defenses. Running a spread offense with a mediocre quarterback, or one who’s prone to make poor decisions on the fly is much more dicey. We definitely saw a lot of poor decisions made Thursday. That will continue for mid-level teams who are trying to run a high octane offense with a mid-octane quarterback.

*Playing clean football right out of the gate is very tough to do given the limits on practice these days. There was so much RUST Thursday night! That’s going to continue in the opening weekend for as all the other teams take the field for the first time. And, we’ll also see lingering effects in Weeks Two and Three for teams that opened with cupcakes and are then trying to adjust to facing a quality defense. This could be an ugly month!

Now…I’m still very confident that we’ll win some big blowouts this year when a spread offense run by a quality quarterback has gotten up to speed and is facing a soft defense. That combination is going to create some great winning opportunities because PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS rule this sport. Students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping must remember to be patient and wait for those spots. For now, be careful asking too much from players who aren’t ready to give it to you.

Regarding the betting markets…

*Oddsmakers overshot the mark by so much Thursday that it was hard to believe. Did they forget that intricate offenses take awhile to get rolling?

*Quants overshot the mark as well. I continue to be amazed by the arrogance of these young kids who think they know everything because they sit at a computer all day. They were obviously using “full season” numbers from the past to make their projections, without making the necessary adjustments for Game One rustiness. Thursday’s totals made sense for Week Five when everyone has their timing down and hardly anyone is cramping. Way too high for a humid Thursday night where rusty skill position athletes who don’t have their timing down yet have to keep grabbing their calves and hobbling off the field.

*Sharp bettors will have a chance to really attack Over/Unders here early in the season if oddsmakers and betting quants continue to be blind to the realities of football. Be sure you’re watching as many games as possible live or on DVR so you can see what defenses are or aren’t doing to disrupt opposing quarterbacks.

A big September awaits all of us. If you’d like some help finding the best bets on the board, those can always 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. Be sure you ask about combination packages that include college football, pro football, and the baseball through the World Series.

Your hard work and diligence is greatly appreciated. I’ll see you again early next week as we gear up for the start of the NFL. Speaking of rustiness. There were several pro quarterbacks who barely took any meaningful snaps in all of August! Keep THAT in the back of your mind as you prepare for next week. Handicapping challenges will always keep you alert, fresh, and young at heart!

 

Be sure to follow:

Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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