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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at 9:00 AM

Throughout the week, you’ve probably heard a lot of handicappers and TV pundits talking about how all the NFL teams who started the season 0-2 are smart bets this weekend because nobody wants to start 0-3. That’s only going to magnify after the NY Giants beat Washington Thursday night for their first win of the season. In what was supposed to be a close game, the Giants led 25-6 until garbage time.

Will that be the trend all weekend? Well, I don’t want to tip my hand too much. Luckily there are SO MANY teams in that spot this weekend that I could hit the angle with a 100-unit play (or bigger) and you wouldn’t be able to guess who I liked. Just be aware that I might think the angle is a bunch of BS in some situations…and I could very easily be fading the angle because it’s getting too much attention.

The concept in general falls under the umbrella of THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. It’s not about PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS. It’s only about teams who will bring peak focus and intensity because they are in “must-win” situations in terms of getting their seasons on track. You can’t really make a serious run at the playoffs from an 0-3 start. Any decent 0-2 team knows that.

What about indecent 0-2 teams? What about teams that are so bad that THE MOTIVATION FACTOR isn’t going to help them that much? I can buy backing an 0-2 team that has some talent and a sense of urgency. But, a bad 0-2 team that doesn’t respect their head coach and knows that 4-12 or 5-11 is on the way may be a different story. You don’t want to flush money down the toilet just because an angle says you’re supposed to bet something.

Let’s list the 0-2 teams…and I’ll rate them in terms of legitimate full season hopes:

Seattle (two-time defending NFC champion, should be embarrassed)

Indianapolis (virtual co-favorites with New England this summer to win the AFC)

Philadelphia (popular Preseason darkhorse pick, should be embarrassed)

Baltimore (playoff regular, should be embarrassed)

Detroit (playoff hopeful dealing with a very tough early schedule)

Houston (playoff hopeful, but starting an erratic young quarterback)

New Orleans (fading franchise)

Chicago (fading franchise, the new NFC doormat)

You can see why this angle is getting so much attention this particular weekend. Teams who were up near the top of the Futures prices on the Super Bowl are off to 0-2 starts! This isn’t a case of trying to talk yourself into somebody like Tampa Bay or Cleveland. You can get Seattle or Indianapolis in a must-win spot!

The general public loves betting teams who were supposed to be elite when they also have a motivational boost. And, that can be justified in some circumstances because blowouts do happen in those scenarios. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if a few teams from that list score decisive covers this week. The trick is figuring out who that’s going to be.

I won’t tell you who I’ll be taking…but I will provide students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping with some general advice.

*Look for harmonic convergences where this week’s opponent could be flat after a great start. You want to back fired up teams vs. flat teams. Fired up by itself may not be enough, particularly if there are other issues in play.

*Look for situations where PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS can run amok. You need to see the personnel advantage that’s going to put you over the top. That may be a quarterback or a set of receivers, or even a running back (though that’s less common these days). Your smartest bets will involve teams who have the capability of expressing that increased motivation on the field.

*Avoid teams who are having troubles with their offensive lines. This isn’t something that fixes itself in two weeks…and isn’t something that goes away just because everyone’s motivated. You have to be able to pick up blitzes. You have to be able to open holes for ball carriers. I think any pending heartbreak this week in this area of discussion will involve teams who are struggling at the line.

*Avoid teams who are having injury issues with key players. Drew Brees has a bad shoulder. Maybe the Saints will cover anyway. You can’t really LOAD UP on a team who may be playing an injured quarterback. It’s a value bet at best if the stars are aligned. It’s conceivable that betting against the injured player is the smartest move if the market is giving too much credit to the 0-2 angle.

I have some very big releases planned for this weekend. KELSO STURGEON’S top plays 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. My 100-unit games have been on an incredible run. I hope you’ll join me this weekend for the best Las Vegas betting options.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping thanks you for your attendance. Our next class get-together will be early next week. I’ll do my very best to keep the coursework connected to real-world events so it stays fresh and meaningful. Smart handicappers always try to stay a few steps ahead of the game!


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

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