Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 3:00 PM
One of the most important things for you students in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping to remember is that “new dynamics” often lead to new levels of performance that can be tough for Las Vegas oddsmakers to fully understand. They can only guess at what’s going to happen. If you’re smart, you have a chance to out-think them and cash some tickets.
Here are three quick examples from the world of college basketball that I want to bring to your attention.
*Shaka Smart is the new head coach at the University of Texas. He’s had a lot of success at VCU. But, this is a step up in class…and a transition to a program that isn’t used to his “full court press” style of basketball. It could be a very smart move for the long haul. Temporarily, there were likely to be some transition issues.
And, there have been! That was clear in their first game of the year vs. Washington in Shanghai. Texas was the betting favorite, but never looked like they should have been. They would get revenge in a rematch with Washington in the Bahamas (a credit to Smart’s ability to make adjustments.) But, Texas heads into a huge Saturday game against North Carolina with a pointspread record of just 2-5. That’s 1-5 ATS when not facing a team for the second time.
Even without having watched a single minute of any Texas games, you can deduce that either the players are having some trouble adjusting at first to Smart’s approach. Or…that the market overestimated what is immediate impact was going to be out of the gate. New dynamic. Oddsmakers missed the mark.
*Chris Mullin is the new head coach at St. John’s. This felt like a desperation move when it was announced. Mullin wasn’t particularly quick-witted as a TV announcer. And, you may have seen that “behind the scenes” video the Sacramento Kings did when he was there as an “advisor” for their draft a couple of years ago. He wanted shooter Nik Stauskas…because former shooters always fall in love with other shooters! Dumb pick.
St. John’s is also 2-5 ATS so far this season…with a game coming up Wednesday night vs. Niagara before a big game Sunday vs. Syracuse. I’m very interested to see how Mullin handles that rivalry challenge.
Again, even if you haven’t watched any St. John’s action…you can tell there are either transition troubles or an issue with the market overestimating the impact Mullin would have. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a negative impact! Can he recruit or coach defense? Time will tell.
*My third example doesn’t concern a coaching change…but an attitude adjustment. Coach K at Duke was famous for personnel stability. He valued experience with his system…and didn’t like recruiting “one and done” superstars. He finally realized that you can’t win a National Championship that way! Now he’s bringing in talented players that don’t know his system yet.
*Coach K used to have great success early in seasons against the spread
*Coach K is 3-5 ATS so far this season!
You probably watched the loss to Kentucky. A man who always used to have significant tactical and preparation advantages early in a new season doesn’t have that any more. Duke was overpriced out of the gate as a result.
I wanted a few weeks to let these dynamics play out. I think the market is starting to realize the error of its ways. The value is either gone, or mostly gone…unless there are SERIOUS problems with Mullin or Smart in particular. My point today isn’t to tell you to fade these teams going forward. It’s to remind you about the big picture.
Oddsmakers HATE changes like this because they don’t any evidence to go on for making lines. Successful sports bettors LOVE changes like this if they study the game because they’re very likely to anticipate correctly. You want confusion from oddsmakers!
Something to think about as you study the complex playoff races in the NFL, the multi-dimensional bowl challenges coming up later in the month, and all the to-and-fro in both college and pro basketball. I should also mention this is one of the big advantages old-timers like me have over all those young quants. They needed sample sizes for their numbers! Experience, knowledge, and common sense always trumps spread sheets in this field.
Have I ever given you homework that involves a spread sheet? The Dean of Sports Handicapping wants you to know how to think!
Those of you who’d like some help with your personal portfolio should think about signing up for my service. KELSO STURGEON’S top plays in basketball and football 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.
I’ll see you again this weekend to talk about the resurgent Seattle Seahawks as they try to avoid a letdown on the road against the Baltimore Ravens. What I’ve seen from this team the past two weeks suggests that smart sports bettors should be paying very close attention to the two-time defending NFC champs. They’ve made some midseason adjustments that will give them a legitimate chance to overcome the hot starts of Carolina and Arizona. More on that when I see you next time.
Be sure to follow:
Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon
Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters