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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, August 14, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Just this past weekend, there was news that the University of Florida had suspended SEVEN players for the season opener against Michigan. In days prior, news of various season-ending injuries across the college football landscape had made temporary headlines. It’s very important if you’re serious about beating the pointspread this season that you stay abreast of all developments that involve starters and key bench players…particularly those with potential to be PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS.

I know far too many folks here in Las Vegas who kinda/sorta “half-hear” the news headlines, then forget about them. They figure they’ll worry about it when the season is ready to begin. The problem with that is that they forget too many of those bulletins. A few days before the season starts…they go back to find those summer newsstand preview publications they bought in June…and they start looking at “returning starters” and the like. Some of those returning starters will either be suspended for a game, out for awhile with an injury, or out for the season with a serious injury. They’re not returning starters any more!

Your homework today in my “College of Advanced Sports Betting” is to scan through all the football headlines of the past few weeks. It’s easy to do this at ESPN’s website, or with your internet browser. Don’t just focus on the major conferences. Were there any key injuries in the American Athletic Conference? The Mountain West? The Mid-American Conference? Those can mean more because a lack of depth makes it harder to replace a top athlete in those leagues.

Then, once you know who’s either been hurt or suspended, grab those summer preview publications to see how those absences will hurt each team. Athlon has a two-deep depth chart. And, it’s easy for you to subtract from returning starter counts any starter who you know will be out.

Prepared bettors make smart choices. I insist that my students be well prepared. It’s already the middle of August! Some games begin before the end of August. The first full weekend will be Labor Day weekend…just as September begins. Get busy!

Are some of you concerned about how to adjust team assessments? Let’s talk about that for a moment. There are often debates amongst sports fans about “how many points” a player is worth in college or pro football. Let me tell you…that’s the wrong way to think about it. The impact on any individual team isn’t how much the player is “worth” on a point scale but rather the difference between him and his backup. If a star quarterback is replaced by a pretty good quarterback, it might only mean a difference of one or two points in the Power Ratings. If a star quarterback is replaced by an inexperienced signal caller with a soft throwing arm, it might be a touchdown (sometimes more).

The differences aren’t as stark at other positions. Sometimes the backup is just as good as the starter so there’s no issue. Maybe a great running back replaced by an “okay” running back is only worth a field goal. Most teams have a few “okay” running backs. YOU need to think through the impact of each absence based on the talent at hand. Believe it or not, you’ll sometimes come across situations where the “new” starter actually has more GAMEBREAKING ability than the original starter. I’m constantly amazed by how many college coaches prefer “save” over “explosive” when naming starters. Some teams get BETTER when certain starters are hurt or suspended.

Today, or early this week, is a good time for you to do this exercise. There’s no NFL until Thursday. You’ll have several days to get your college notes up to speed without it interfering with football handicapping or betting.

I can assure you that The Dean of Sports Handicapping is up to speed. If you’d prefer to take the easy way out, KELSO STURGEON’S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages (football AND baseball) can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155, or on weekends before the first games get started. August is an ideal “priming the pump” month because the money you win in football and baseball will multiply over several times by the end of the calendar year.

I greatly appreciate your attendance since this web feature started way back when, and again here in 2017. I’ll see you again at the end of the week to talk more football. That will probably be an NFL Preseason lesson. I hope you paid close attention to what happened during the first full week of exhibition action. Barring significant line moves, I’m likely to have some very big pro football releases this coming weekend. That’s a hint that there are some golden nuggets out there for you to find!

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