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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, July 6, 2018 at 1:00 AM

Now that July 4 is behind us, it’s time to start getting ready for the upcoming football season. Newsstand publications are on the shelves. Time to make your purchases and dig in and start your research.

College Football 2018 is going to provide some interesting opportunities for sports bettors. The mainstream media is already hyper-focused on Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, and Georgia. I’m sick of hearing about them and it’s only July! Those are the likely Final Four teams based on returning talent and head coaches. That intense media spotlight means other talented teams can stay off the radar a bit longer. You’ll make good money recognizing fast starters before the media catches on.

Here are keys to look for as you begin your research.

*PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS. This is always my starting point for handicapping any sport. College football is probably the single most important sport for this approach. Sure, college basketball lineups only have five players. But, each basket only counts two points in a game to 80. In college football, a PLAYMAKER can score 3-4 touchdowns in a race to the 30’s or 40’s. Look at the skill position potential for every team on the board, emphasizing.

Quarterback quality

Quarterback experience

Running back speed

Wide Receiver speed

Special Teams speed

Don’t forget that a lot of GAMEBREAKERS in college football return kicks! You probably already know the names of studs from Alabama, Clemson, and the like. What about Iowa State, Wake Forest, and New Mexico? I’m not saying you have to know every impact player from more than 100 teams by Tuesday. You need to know them by the start of the season, which is a little less than two months away.

Schedule yourself to do a conference a day on weekends and weekdays through the MLB All-Star break, then this work will be done in short order. Put it off now, and you’ll fall “behind the chains” and struggle to catch up. It won’t do you any good to hurry through preparation in late August. Work smart and productively NOW.

*OFFENSIVE LINES

You don’t need to know the names, but you do to know how experienced every offensive line is. Study returning starters charts for each team, and be aware of extremes in either direction. Experienced blockers will win bets for you, like they’re literally protecting you in the pocket. Inexperienced lines will cause teams to struggle in the first month. They will be turnover prone. They’ll be unable to convert third downs. They’ll be unable to find the end zone if the offense gets into the red zone.

I’ve seen handicappers give a report card grade to each line. I’ve seen handicappers count up career starts (which can be misleading if you have two seniors and three brand new starters. Whatever approach you prefer, be sure you’re researching offensive lines.

*OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE COORDINATORS

This has become one of the strongest indicators for dramatic changes from one season to the next. A great coordinator gets hired away to be a head coach somewhere else, and that side of the ball falls apart without him. Or, a program replaces a bad coordinator with a good one, and takes a huge leap forward.

It would serve you well to write down the offensive and defensive coordinators for every team, and study their experience. This could be too much for some of you. At the very least, do this for your favorite conference, or the main conferences you’re going to focus on. I’m not exaggerating when I say this could be worth four or five winners for you this season PER TEAM where an important change has been made.

*HEAD COACHES

I think it’s important to know the straight up and point spread histories of all the major head coaches. Again, make your research fit your plans. If you’re not going to handicap the Sun Belt or the Mid-American Conference, don’t worry about those teams. But, be aware of market strengths and weaknesses in terms of how it rates head coaches. Some big name coaches are actually poor bets because point spreads are stacked so high against them. Some guys with shaky reputations have subsets where they do well (maybe as big dogs, or maybe when given a chance to bully a non-conference opponent.

Players change from year to year in this sport, but a head coach’s characteristics usually stay with him his whole life…as do market misperceptions about his strengths and weaknesses.

We’ll go more in depth for this sport here in our coursework as we get closer to the season. And, of course, we’ll talk pro football too. July and August will be a mix of baseball and football in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping.

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 by calling office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about early-bird football packages, or combination packages that include both football and baseball.

The next couple of weeks will provide a GREAT opportunity to prepare for football because the All-Star Break is coming up. You can really hunker down with your favorite publications and get to work. Thanks very much for your attendance today. It is greatly appreciated. See you again on Monday.

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