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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, November 27, 2015 at 10:00 AM

That’s an important metaphor for sports bettors to remember. Because, it’s a phenomenon that trumps many handicapping strategies. It doesn’t matter what a camel’s full season stats are if a final straw just broke his back. It doesn’t matter what trends and angles favor that camel in their current game situation. It doesn’t matter what the camel’s Power Ratings or Computer Ratings are either. Once a team breaks down, you need to be betting against them until they show signs that they’re standing up and ready to compete again.

We just saw great examples of that on Thanksgiving Day. I swept my NFL plays in my annual Turkey Shoot largely by fading teams who established that they’re not as good now as they were earlier this season.

*I talked about the Philadelphia Eagles a few days ago. Wasn’t that a prophetic headline? Talk about turning into a turkey! The Eagles looked horrible in Detroit…which was an immediate follow-up of looking horrible vs. Tampa Bay…and which came on the heels of a lost coin flip game vs. a Miami team that’s also been playing poorly lately.

We may not know for sure until sometime down the road what caused the Eagles DEFENSE to stop playing. They had been great for much of the season, before disappearing the last two outings. SOMETHING was a straw that broke that back. That unit just couldn’t carry the team by itself all season. Or, maybe they gave up on the head coach and it was a mental break rather than a physical break. Either way…betting on the Eagles sure gave people a case of early indigestion. And, nothing in full season stats, Power Ratings, or situational angles foresaw a 45-14 loss to the Lions.

*Green Bay has also been in a horrible slide…one that was only temporarily halted at Minnesota last week. I faded the Packers when it was clear that Chicago was getting healthy just in time to bring peak motivation to the rivalry spot. The Packers are now 7-4 in the standings after starting the season 6-0 (and being the Las Vegas betting favorites to win the NFC). That means they’ve lost four of their last five games!

The trouble here has been with the passing offense. Looks to my eyes that a combination of injuries has “broken” what Aaron Rodgers is trying to do on offense. Denver completely shut them down to start the slide. But, Rodgers’ numbers since have also been very sloppy. His accuracy rate is way down…and the offense just doesn’t scare people any more. Chicago and Detroit just won low-scoring games in Lambeau. Unthinkable unless the Green Bay offense was broken.

*We may have witnessed a camel’s back breaking when Tony Romo went down in the second half against Carolina with another collarbone injury. You could basically sense that the whole city of Dallas had slumped to the ground. THAT was the final straw for the 2015 season. The Cowboys couldn’t win without him, and are now 3-8 heading into what will likely be a bunch of lame duck games.

I wasn’t fading Dallas in this spot because I thought they had given up. It’s just that Carolina is clearly a championship caliber team…and somebody that good shouldn’t be near-pick vs. the Cowboys even with Romo. Now…I’m fairly confident that Dallas will throw in the towel on the season. Only a matter of time. The coaching staff and some in management may not be able to climb out of the rubble of what’s turned out to be a disastrous year.

I want you to think very seriously about this phenomenon through the holiday weekend and the rest of the season. Even in the colleges, there are some teams headed to bowls who won’t show up mentally because they’re disappointed about how 2015 played out. Their backs were broken in November, and they’re just going through the  motions. In the NFL…we will see more teams start to break in the coming weeks. One of the basic fundamentals for December NFL handicapping is backing healthy teams who care against broken teams with no motivation. You just saw how important this was on Thanksgiving Day.

If you’d like some help finding the best plays on the board, KELSO STURGEON’s best bets 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 to check on “rest of the season” rates that take you through the college Final Four and the NFL Playoffs.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping hopes you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, just like my clients! Thanks very much for your hard work and attendance through the busy holiday week. See you again early next week with another sports betting discussion.  

 

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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

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