Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at 1:00 PM
I’ve been handicapping and betting the NCAA Tournament since long before it became a national sensation. I have to admit that I’ve never seen this event run so EASY for analysts who know what they’re doing. It’s one thing to be a “hot” handicapper. But, this doesn’t feel like a hot streak. This feels like taking candy from a baby.
A week ago at this time, we talked about my 5-1 performance in the Round of 32. The only loser was when Kansas allowed a three-pointer at the buzzer to Seton Hall. After that, it got BETTER!
Check it out…
KELSO STURGEON’S RECENT RUN
Round of 32: 5-1 (unlucky loser on buzzer trey vs. Seton Hall)
Sweet 16: 3-1 (unlucky loser, again with Kansas)
Elite 8: 4-0
I followed up a 5-1 weekend with a 7-1 run through the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. That’s 12-2 against the spread in the biggest sports betting event of the calendar year. Here’s a list of the selections if you’d like to give them more in-depth study.
100 units on Loyola (+) over Nevada (outright winner)
50 units on Texas Tech (+) over Purdue (outright winner)
25 units on Kansas State (+) over Kentucky (outright winner)
25 units on Kansas (-) over Clemson (just missed after blowing a big lead!)
My prior biggest top release had been 50 units on Loyola over Tennessee in the second round. I stayed on the Ramblers, and bumped that up to 100 units over Nevada because I knew the Wolfpack team so well. I was a bit disappointed to see Loyola blow its big second half lead. But, they were obviously the right side in terms of talent. Texas Tech was also a team I had won with the prior week over Florida. I couldn’t believe Kansas hosed me again! The Jayhawks led by more than 20 points in the second half, but couldn’t cover a relatively short price.
25 units on Loyola (+) over Kansas State (outright winner)
25 units on Florida State (+) over Michigan (winner)
25 units on Villanova (-) over Texas Tech (winner)
25 units on Kansas (+) over Duke (outright winner)
Back on Loyola again. I was kicking myself through the second half for not making that a bigger release. I’ll admit FSU was a bit lucky when its head coach decided not to foul with nine seconds to go. Maybe that makes up for one of the bad-luck Kansas losses. Villanova and Kansas were clearly mis-rated by the betting markets given game flow and final victory margins.
Last week, I talked about the importance of a “balanced” portfolio. This past week, I think the lesson is that you keep riding the teams that are being incorrectly priced. We’ve talked about that in the recent past two. So, I won’t belabor the point. But..
*If Loyola-Chicago is CLEARLY at least a bucket better than what the market thinks, you should keep riding that team until the line adjusts. Maybe that’s finally true in the Final Four where the Ramblers are +5 against Michigan. You’ll have to be a paying customer to find out who I like this weekend! Thus far…it’s been free money. Loyola is the team everyone thought Wichita State was back when the Shockers were in the Missouri Valley Conference. Disrespected and dangerous.
*Texas Tech is another team that was underrated, until the Red Raiders ran into an even more underrated Villanova team. You might be thinking it odd that I’d call Villanova “under” rated when they’re so high up in the polls and computer ratings as a #1 seed. Well, look at the final scores as compared to the point spreads. The point spreads are the best measure of “how you’re rated,” and Villanova keeps outperforming those expectations. Texas Tech’s defensive style wasn’t getting enough respect against Florida and Purdue. Purdue, in particular, was going to be in big trouble because of a major injury to a key player.
*Yes, I kept riding Kansas even though it had burned me twice. Why? Against Duke, the Jayhawks were a dog rather than a favorite. It’s one thing when your bench blows a lead. It’s another when your starters are insulted to be an underdog! If you watched the game, you know that was a bad line. Pure toss-up. Should have been pick-em. Getting 3.5 points was a steal.
What am I going to do this weekend when Villanova and Kansas have to play each other, and Loyola runs into what might be a Michigan buzzsaw due to bounce back from a poor shooting game? It wouldn’t be fair to paying customers to get too specific. Just be aware that it’s not uncommon for successful handicappers to run into this problem in a playoff format. If you’re in synch with the right teams, eventually those teams will run into each other. True in the NFL, the NBA, and even the Major League playoffs.
The key as always is to focus on the fundamentals I’ve been teaching you for years. Let’s recap those briefly.
*Identify the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on offense and defense
*Remember that three-point shooters are the new GAMEBREAKERS in this sport
*Evaluate how those key players will perform vs. the opposing defense
*Accept that THE MOTIVATION FACTOR will cancel out, leaving the FATIGUE FACTOR (emotional or physical) as an important intangible
Mental fatigue might be an issue for Loyola. These players have never been in the spotlight this long. For Villanova, physical fatigue could become a problem because a relatively short rotation plays with such energy. You could say thing about Kansas, who is in the most danger of falling flat emotionally because it just went overtime with Duke. Michigan? Which version of the Wolverines are you going to get? The one that dominated the Big 10 tournament and crushed Texas A&M? Or, the one that should have lost to Houston and almost lost to FSU?
If you’re having trouble making your final choices, my daily 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 by calling office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about extended packages that include the NBA or Major League Baseball. I’ll be talking more about baseball soon with the start of the season now upon us. I’ll probably save NBA coursework until the playoffs arrive.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work. See you again next week at this very same time.