Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, October 29, 2018 at 1:00 PM
Tuesday night, the powers that be in college football will announce their first championship playoff rankings to a national audience. That will allow fans and gamblers to chart the progress of the selection process for selecting the eventual Final Four. Smart bettors like you must be ready to make proper adjustments to your normal process.
It’s going to be tricky. You see, there because a dramatic increase in THE MOTIVATION FACTOR in games involving teams on the list. Maybe Alabama feels safe because they’ve been so dominant that they could still lose a game and qualify. For everyone else, they know what they have to do.
The problem is, these conflicting factors are ALL in play...
*Teams with a chance to make the Final Four believe they have to run up the score whenever they can. Winning BIG over the final month of the season could be the difference-maker amidst all the different influences in the formula. Style points matter in the polls in particular. And, when the committee is in its final meetings, that could be the conversation point that separates a #4 from a #5.
*That said, teams with a chance to make the Final Four also have a HUGE target on their backs. Opponents get sky high for the games. Rivals in particular can make their season by scoring an upset over a team in the championship mix. Opponents of contenders are going to play their best games of the season. At least a few, anyway.
*History has made it clear that a few college contenders each season are going to choke from the pressure. They take the field very nervous. Their head coach gets ultra-conservative in his play-calling. They turn the ball over more than they should. Some teams are called “contenders” at the beginning of November just because they haven’t been exposed as “pretenders” yet.
You can see what kind of volatility all of this can create. We will see 14-point favorites win by more than 30 points. We will see 14-point favorites lose outright. We’ll see a team look great one week then fall apart the next. The dynamics of THE MOTIVATION FACTOR must be managed properly in games involving the contenders. If you’re not confident that you can do that…then consider just passing those games and focusing elsewhere on the schedule.
No homework for you today here in my College of Advances Sports Betting and Handicapping. Just a list of keys I want you to study and think about as you handicap through November.
*Look at coaching histories to see which men are known to get overly conservative when under pressure. The great thing about coaching longevity in this sport is that strengths and weaknesses are known. If a head coach is relatively new to his locale or this situation, assume the worst until you see otherwise. Even though it wasn’t even November yet, Tom Herman of Texas had a bit of a meltdown last week at Oklahoma State. He was nervous…his players were uptight…and then he (and a few players) lost their cool when Okie State was running out the clock. Texas was in the playoff discussion at the time. Something like that (nerves getting the best of a coach and his players) will happen again soon with another program.
*Consider the defensive quality of the top contenders. This is often the issue that creates late-season upsets. Teams who were mediocre defensively in the first half of the season play even worse down the stretch. And, they can’t hold the fort once things start to go south. A nervous offense makes turnovers. A soft defense then allows easy touchdowns from field position.
*Double your efforts to evaluate the OPPONENTS of the top contenders. Which have the PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS it takes to spring an upset? Which have bonus motivational boosts from revenge, or facing a hated rivalry opponent? Which DON’T?! I’m not going to list any specific programs because I don’t want to tip my hand about possible picks. Imagine that a top contender is going to face a couple of B-minus programs in bask-to-back weeks. A longtime rival that’s a B-Minus may bring it’s A-game. But, one that’s just kind of going through the motions and doesn’t have that same history might be blowout fodder. Obviously, you’d want to take the points with the dog in the first example, but probably lay the points with the favorite (who needs to run up the score) in the latter.
I can’t say that I’m looking forward to these Tuesday “made-for-TV” announcement shows. I’m focused on point spreads, not beauty pageants. But, I will incorporate the rankings into my handicapping process once they’ve been announced. I suggest you do as well.
If you’d like some help isolating the best football and basketball bets every day, 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 my office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Remember to check on long-term combination packages that run through the winter and into spring. College basketball is about to start. The NBA is already drawing big crowds for marquee matchups at Las Vegas sports books.
Our coursework resumes Friday. The Dean of Sports Handicapping appreciates your attendance and hard work. See you again at that time for what will likely be more football discussion. I’m currently scheduling a college basketball theme for a week from today. That will get you ready for the huge TV doubleheader Tuesday November 6 featuring Michigan State vs. Kansas and Duke vs. Kentucky from Indianapolis on ESPN. If you’re new to this website, we meet Mondays and Fridays to help turn bettors into WINNERS!