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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 at 3:00 PM

You saw the full force of my emphasis on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS during my undefeated opening weekend of the NFL Playoffs. And, it just missed being a true motherlode weekend when Alabama’s multiple playmakers had us in position to cover college football’s National Championship game before we suffered bad luck in the final seconds.

Let’s review, starting with the NFL…


100-units: Kansas City (-3) over Houston 30-0

As you watched the game, you certainly saw that Houston literally had ZERO offensive players who could get anything done against a quality defense. Maybe Brian Hoyer technically qualifies as a PLAYMAKER within a horrible division or when he’s facing bad defenses generally. But, by PLAYOFF standards, the only team with PLAYMAKERS was just a 3-point favorite in a game they were destined to win by 10 TIMES that! I know that different handicappers have different ways of going about their business. To me, this was a GIFT because a short dog had such limited scoring options.


30-units: Minnesota (+4.5) over Seattle…covered in a 10-9 loss

15-units: Seattle/Minnesota Under 39.5

I talked last week about how the weather conditions could be Seattle’s biggest obstacle on the way to a Super Bowl return. That certainly played out. The wind chill was so harsh here that there weren’t any PLAYMAKERS for either team for all intents and purposes. Now, don’t get me wrong…Russell Wilson and Adrian Peterson are terrific. But, nobody can do anything when the wind-chill is 20-below! That’s why the dog (and the Under) made so much sense. Seattle’s best play was a fluke after a bad snap went over Wilson’s head (they should have tried that more often!). Minnesota could only drive for field goal attempts. Their kicker could only deliver 75% of the time.


15-units: Green Bay (+1) over Washington…won outright 35-18

I think everyone agreed entering the game that Aaron Rodgers is a better quarterback than Kirk Cousins. What was glaringly overlooked by the betting market was that Washington’s soft defense was going to turn Green Bay’s running backs into PLAYMAKERS who could rule the afternoon. Green Bay is still likely to struggle offensively vs. good defenses. That’s been clear down the stretch. They weren’t facing one Sunday, and shouldn’t have been priced in a coin flip.


10-units: Cincinnati (+3) over Pittsburgh…covered in an 18-16 loss

This was my lightest NFL opinion…and a game where I was probably a bit lucky because Ben Roethlisberger got hurt. My side wasn’t looking good before that, though should have won the game outright after that! I was thinking that the rain and wind would serve as a bit of an equalizer that would favor the dog. Game conditions did reduce what Pittsburgh was able to do…but Cincinnati’s offense was pretty helpless themselves. Only 4.1 yards-per-play and 4 turnovers. Ten units is a value-sized bet on my scale. Everything came out in the wash just fine.

Unfortunately, Alabama blew a late cover for me Monday night…or we would have been talking about one of the greatest betting weekends in Vegas history! But, you could still see my thinking process if you watched the game. Alabama had MORE guys in the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS category when you factored in special teams. It turned out that ONE guy for Clemson was able to trump all that because Alabama just couldn’t contain the quarterback. Sometimes one unstoppable star can cover a spread by himself.

You longtime readers here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping have been reading about my approach for a few years now. Its importance is just as high now as it was when these classes started. I’m not some old-school guy trying to peddle a system that doesn’t work any more. I’m The Dean of Sports Handicapping showing you what still works great!

*Take the team with more PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS

*Fade teams who don’t have ANY!

*Take the dogs when the numbers cancel out, or when weather cancels everyone out

*Look for big-unit blowouts in category mismatches

From Bear Bryant to Nick Saban…from Bud Grant (walking around in shirtsleeves Sunday) to modern-day NFL coaches…these fundamentals have always been the same.  You’ll win more than you lose in Las Vegas by following them.

KELSO STURGEON’S best bets in football and basketball can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card on game day. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters’ office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. It’s time for you to start focusing more intently on college basketball. You’ll have a bigger bankroll to start March Madness if you start building it NOW! 

See you again at the end of the week to talk about the Divisional Round matchups Saturday and Sunday in the NFL. Definitely some interesting angles to ponder there from a PLAYMAKER AND GAMEBREAKER perspective…as this week’s winners take on the bye teams. Your homework is to start thinking about that now so you’re ready for Friday’s class!


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Kelso Sturgeon on twitter @vsm_sturgeon

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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