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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, October 25, 2017 at 12:00 PM

I’ve talked about this in past seasons. But, it seems a refresher course is in order because media hype is having a big influence on pointspread performance this season in both college and pro football. And, we’re just now getting to the point of the season where it gets even MORE intense because of Final Four talk in the colleges and chatter about the playoff races in the pros.

Some bettors had hoped that the recent media “explosion” toward more channels, more outlets, more radio shows, more podcasts, more social media, more analytics, would lead toward better information being made available to the public. What’s happened instead is that we just have more places all saying the same old thing. If anything, media hype is LOUDER and more omnipresent than it’s ever been before. I can’t say it’s helping bettors.

Hey, I go back to the old days where the only media hype was on radio shows or the AP or UPI wire services. Decades later, and everyone still wants to talk about Notre Dame! It’s like Bear Bryant never left Alabama. They’re just now run by a younger “legendary” coach.

Think about USC. All you heard this past summer was about how they were a “true” Final Four team last season, and this year they’ll only be better. Quarterback Sam Darnold was not only a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, but also the sure-thing #1 pick in the next draft. NFL teams would be tanking to pick Sam Darnold!

Now…they’re already out of the National Championship race, already viewed as a pretender, and Darnold has no shot at the Heisman because he can’t stop turning the ball over. Some in the national media are now higher on Josh Rosen of UCLA, and they’re suggesting Darnold isn’t even #1 in his own city! This despite UCLA not having a great year either.

Oklahoma? They beat Ohio State in Columbus, and were supposedly a sure thing for the Final Four. Have they covered a game since? They lost as 31-point favorites to Iowa State, didn’t win by impressive margins as road favorites at Baylor and Kansas State. In the fourth quarter of the Texas game, Sooners’ players kept getting carted off the field because they were physically outmatched by the Longhorns (though OU held on to win).

I have some very simple homework this week for students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting. Pay close attention to the major media sources in this country (there’s no need to follow the minor ones because they just repeat the same things), and write down all the teams that are being gushed about. This won’t be hard, given the fact that so many college teams are playing high profile games. In the NFL, the Philadelphia Eagles are suddenly Vince Lombardi’s Packers…so they should go on your list too. The Pittsburgh Steelers played two good games in a row, so everyone forgot about the losses to the Bears and Jaguars. Make a list of all the teams you hear (or read) being hyped.

Then, map out their future schedules to find the most obvious “blind” spots that will catch the players by surprise. The Eagles may already have one this week as huge favorites over San Francisco. Maybe Georgia gets overconfident vs. Florida at the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville. For most other teams, the trouble spots will come later. With others, like USC and OU, they arguably started a month ago and will just keep right on embarrassing overhyped squads.

I think you can make a reasonable case that the most overhyped college teams have seen their lines inflated by 5-6 points per game this season. A few powers kept covering anyway because their opponents were so BAD that they fell apart and gave away free touchdowns. Alabama (and Georgia) will have trouble playing to inflated prices once they run into good opponents. Maybe Ohio State will have that same issue against Penn State this week. You need to anticipate this phenomenon rather than just nodding your head after the fact.

You’ve probably heard that “squares,” which is Las Vegas slang for the general public, are having one of their worst years ever. In my view, this is a direct result in the explosion of media options that is overwhelming easily persuaded bettors. They’re making bets they wouldn’t have made in the past because the media convinced them of team greatness that just wasn’t there. There may be 1-2 great teams. There aren’t 10-15 great teams.

I can assure you that there’s no hype about the long handicapping career of KELSO STURGEON. I’ve earned my stripes. I’m the industry standard others are measured by. That’s been true since before most of you even started betting.

If you’d like some help finding smart plays this weekend, KELSO STURGEON’S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. 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, or on weekends before the first games get started. Act today to get the rest of the World Series included in any package for a nominal charge, or to include early season basketball.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping thanks you very much for your attention this week. I trust you’ll devote the time between now and our next class to exploiting the dangers of the national sports media rather than succumbing to its illusions. See you next week at this same location.  

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