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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, July 27, 2018 at 3:00 PM

Hopefully you’re aware that the NFL Preseason is now less than a week away. The annual Hall of Fame game is on Thursday nights instead of Sunday nights. NBC will televise the Chicago Bears vs. the Baltimore Ravens this coming Thursday.

Though the rest of the league doesn’t play until the following week, you should be getting your ducks in a row in terms of handicapping the exhibition games. It might take you two weekends to get everything in place. Here’s a longer-than-usual homework assignment for students of my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping that you can complete as your personal schedule permits.

*Find internet links to local newspapers covering all 32 NFL teams. This is where you’ll find out about quarterback rotations, intent to win (or just run vanilla plays), injuries, and so on. The internet was a boon to industrious handicappers many years ago. Imagine trying to handicap the Preseason without knowing quarterback rotations! Make a home page with all links. If you’re smart, you’ll have more than 32 links because bigger cities have more than one newspaper. Plus, every team has its own website now. Work hard NOW so all you have to do is click the links when the schedule gets busy.

*Make a list of all important coaching changes from last season. That means head coaches, offensive coordinators, and defensive coordinators. You’ll want to know which teams are installing new offenses, and which are so comfortably established that they won’t worry about exhibition performance. You’ll particularly want to know which defenses are going to be more aggressive about blitzing this season…because they will make plays that matter through the month of August. One of the great strategies for picking Preseason winners is knowing how to pick up cheap points from defensive returns or short fields after takeaways.

*Use stat websites or publications to track down ATS records for all head coaches. Some care about results…particularly in home games or in the Week Three dress rehearsals. Others couldn’t care less about the scoreboard in August. I’ve made a lot of money through decades betting against coaches who couldn’t care less!

*Make a list of the quarterback rosters on each team. You’ll need to do more work later to pin down the planned rotations in each game. But, in advance, you should know where all the new starting quarterbacks are (did you forget that Alex Smith went from Kansas City to Washington?). And, you should refresh your memories about veteran backups. A few exhibition games are won and covered each season by veteran QB’s driving the field easily in the third quarter against outmatched backup defenders.

*Review last year’s stats so you’re up to speed on which weaknesses teams will be addressing entering 2018. Bad offenses will be trying to get better. That could position those teams to cover August action, or play games that go Over small totals. Bad defenses will be looking to play more aggressively. Those of you who have access to “first half” betting might be able to make some money from that perspective. I suggest you focus on reviewing yards-per-play offensively and defensively in 2017. That’s the single stat that tells you the most in terms of real performance over a full season.

Before any individual Preseason game kicks off, I expect YOU to be able to recite the offensive strengths and weaknesses of both teams involved, their current coaching dynamics, and their planned quarterback rotation based on media reports. You have a little less than a week to get there for Bears/Ravens. About two weeks to get there for everybody else. I’ve outlined what you should do. It’s your job to do it.

Personally, I love handicapping the NFL Preseason. I don’t necessarily enjoy watching it. I’ll root my winners home. But, I won’t waste time on games where both teams are just going through the motions. Those aren’t even true “exhibitions” because it’s not real football. It’s an exhibition of running out the clock. I devote a lot of energy to research and preparation because what I learn will help me pick winners once the regular season starts too.

*Many preseason backup QB’s will get regular season starts

*Improvement shown in the Preseason often continues through the regular season

*Those internet links to media are helpful year round, not just in August

*Good habits are what separates winners from losers!

KELSO STURGEON has been a winner living in Las Vegas since before many of you were born. Some of you are living in states where sports betting has just become legalized. I’ve been betting sports legally much of my life, my whole life if you count horse racing. The Dean of Sports Handicapping wants you to be a winner too.

If you’d like help making smart picks in baseball and football daily and in the coming weeks, 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 you ask about early bird football rates. Smart money management means getting the most value for your dollar. If you wait until September to get started, you’re essentially throwing money away.

Thanks again for your attendance and hard work. You have a lot more hard work in front of you these next two weeks. But, your efforts will be rewarded time and time again. I’ll see you again midday Monday for our next class get-together.  

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