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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, September 24, 2018 at 11:00 AM

New rules changes that have helped NFL offenses are about to create some mismatches on the field of play. We started to see the early signs of that this past weekend. It’s about to become more dramatic. Be sure you’re ready!

What am I talking about? You surely know it’s easier to move the ball through the air this season in pro football. Anything resembling a late hit is getting called. If a pass rusher looks at the quarterback funny, he gets a 15-yard penalty. Scoring has trended up (though the market has adjusted a bit). Luckily for sports bettors, this not-so-brave new world DOES NOT influence all teams equally.

Here’s what I mean…

*Veteran star quarterbacks…meaning the future Hall-of-Famers who know how to move the ball all the way to the end zone while avoiding turnovers will post even BIGGER numbers this season. Drew Brees and Matt Ryan put up 74 points in regulation and totaled 750 net passing yards in Sunday’s Saints/Falcons game.

*Younger star quarterbacks who have already established mastery of the fundamentals will also have huge games vs. most defenses. Jared Goff reached 350 passing yards in an easy win. Even Patrick Mahomes…who wasn’t supposed to be THIS good THIS fast is clearly going to dominate in this environment.

*Mediocre quarterbacks won’t improve to the same degree. They’ll be less useless. But, they’ll get left in the dust by stars. Think back to the “juiced balls” in baseball a couple of years ago. Fly ball hitters were helped dramatically, ground ball hitters not so much. There are several mid-level pro football quarterbacks who are the equivalent of ground ball hitters.

*Inexperienced, struggling quarterbacks won’t get much help at all. We’ve already seen defenses pressure these guys into sacks and turnovers. Maybe they’ll eventually climb the learning curve faster than in the past. But, RIGHT NOW, they are not smart bets…as a general rule…heads up against veterans. (Though, Buffalo did upset Minnesota with a rookie against a veteran…few sure things in sports betting!).

*So called “emergency” quarterbacks who have to replace injured starters, or “hobbled” starters who aren’t able to play at full strength will also be left in the dust. Marcos Mariota of Tennessee couldn’t do much Sunday in Jacksonville. But, his defense bailed him out. Remember how bad backup QB DeShone Kizer was when he had to step in for Aaron Rodgers back in Week One?

I’m fully confident this is going to set up a dynamic similar to what we saw this past season in Major League Baseball. Several teams CRUSHED the sport all season because they could consistently score runs and get people out. Others were virtual minor-league teams who could do neither. Baltimore was historically inept. The AL Central was a laughingstock except for the Cleveland Indians. Football’s Arizona Cardinals could easily be the NFL version of the Baltimore Orioles this season. The Cleveland Browns, particularly if Baker Mayfield keeps starting and stays healthy, could be an NFL version of the Oakland A’s…coming from off the radar to surprise all the pundits.

Here’s a quick assignment to help you begin the process of isolating the right teams to bet on. Review the passing stats from this past Sunday’s action. Take each team’s “net passing” total, then subtract 60 yards for each interception. Turnovers are generally worth FOUR points in the NFL, and the standard yards-per-point ratio is 15/1. So, each interception costs you about 60 yards on average.

Do that for all 32 teams…and take note of the big differences from top to bottom. Brees and Ryan finish at 391 and 359 because neither threw an interception. Arizona gets a negative 12 because Sam Bradford and Jose Rosen only totaled 168 passing yards with 3 interceptions (168, minus 180 for the three picks).

I had three 50-unit selections this past Sunday. Let’s quickly look at those:

*Baltimore 265 vs. Denver 113

*Kansas City 307 vs. San Francisco 228

*Chicago 134 vs. Arizona negative 12

The first two cashed for me, with no picks from either Joe Flacco or Patrick Mahomes. Chicago let me down. I thought they’d play it safer with Mitchell Trubisky in terms of ball protection. Bears’ miscues hurt their ability to take advantage of Arizona’s miscues.

Hey, I’ll take 2-1 on big plays any day of the week.

Do the math for this past Sunday’s action. Add in Monday Night once that game is in the books. If you’re a serious student here in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping, you’ll go back and do the first two weeks too. What you learn from this exercise will help shape your thinking all season long.

If you’d like additional help, KELSO STURGEON’S top plays can always be purchased at this website by 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 check on combination packages that include Major League Baseball through the postseason when you call. The playoffs are now just a week away.

I hope you paid special attention to last Friday’s article about finding big edges in smaller conferences. That set up my 100-unit blowout winner on North Texas (-12.5) over Liberty 44-7. It was a mismatch at the point of attack, with UNT totaling almost 350 rushing yards on its way to more than 500 total yards.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance. I’ll see you again Friday for more coursework. I promised you baseball fans that I’d go back to that sport when the playoffs arrived. I’m currently scheduled to discuss how to handicap the MLB postseason in next Monday’s class.

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