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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, November 9, 2018 at 12:00 PM

You longtime students here in my College of Advances Sports Betting and Handicapping know how much weight I put on THE MOTIVATION FACTOR when handicapping. Las Vegas point spreads can be off by two or three touchdowns when oddsmakers don’t properly account for the highs and lows of various scenarios.

You read that right. I didn’t say two or three points. I said two or three touchdowns. Motivated teams can post huge victory margins. Perhaps more importantly, teams completely lacking in motivation can get run off the field. And, there’s nothing oddsmakers can do about that. If a game “should” be -10 based on statistical and Power Ratings indicators, they can’t post -21 or -24 just because the game might blow up. It’s your job as handicappers and bettors to find the games that are going to blow up.

Today I wanted to outline the top positive and negative factors for you. Please keep this in mind as you study this weekend’s college and pro schedule…and throughout the rest of the month.

 

BEST “TAKE” SITUATIONS

*Bet on college teams who need to run up the score to impress when facing opponents with poor defenses. These days, college coaches in particular know the point spreads…which means they know that they have to do to “beat” expectations each week.

*Bet on NFL teams who need to win in the playoff chase when facing opponents with poor defenses. These teams don’t necessarily run up the score. But, they do “lock in” scoreboard advantages by running out the clock. That’s usually enough to cover pro point spreads.

*Bet on superior teams that have REVENGE off a meeting last season (college) or earlier this season (NFL). These teams will run up the score in either college or pro football because a mere victory doesn’t “extract” revenge when it’s the superior team that was shocked last time.

*Bet on teams in strong form who are showing great teamwork and chemistry…and ride those teams until they have an off game. (PS: this works even better in basketball because the schedules feature so many more games)

 

BEST “GO AGAINST” SITUATIONS

*Bet against teams who have nothing to play for, except when matched up against a longtime rival. In fact, you should bet HARD against these teams in games immediately before or after any rivalry game. This can be losing teams with no shot at a bowl (college) or playoffs (NFL), or it can be mediocre college teams who have clinched a bowl bid already. (Further, look for teams in this situation who are also shorthanded on the offensive line, or on defense because of injuries.)

*Bet against teams who don’t have any real quarterback options because of injuries, or because the roster wasn’t put together very well by the current head coach. That’s a potent combo to fade…bad teams with little hope of putting many points on the board. How are THEY going to cover?

*Bet against highly regarded favorites who just scored a major win and spent the week reading press clippings. This is at the heart of what’s been called “BCS Chaos” over the years. College powers get overconfident, particularly right after a statement win. Suddenly they’re down in the fourth quarter as double-digit favorites.

*Bet against teams who are sniping to the media, or are shown sniping at each other on the sidelines during TV games.

All of these are big edges by themselves. Occasionally, you’ll get a harmonic convergence where a great “take” team is lined up against a great “bet against” team. That’s where 100-unit, 200-unit, and 250-unit scenarios come into play.

Your homework today and this weekend before kickoff is to scour the schedule to find those situations. Study the standings to refresh your memory about the college playoff picture, general bowl eligibility, and then the NFL playoff situation on Sunday. Review injury reports to see which bad or distracted teams are also short-handed. Quickly review last week’s results to see which teams might be in letdown spots. Make sure to look at NEXT week’s schedule to see who might be caught in look-aheads this week.

Finally, if you have time, write down the name of each starting quarterback in your schedule. That will be a helpful reminder of which offenses are positioned to blow and go this week, and which are broken beyond repair.

In September, everyone’s motivated because of the excitement of a new season. Here in November, we have extreme differences across the board. Very high highs, and very low lows. Understanding and exploiting this will help drive your success through the month.

I’m confident that will be driving MY success through the month. 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.

Don’t forget to ask about combination packages that include basketball. Both the pro and college hoop seasons are now underway. November bankrolls can grow exponentially because of all the winning opportunities that present themselves.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance. You’ve got some work to do! Our next class get-together will be Monday at the usual time. We will continue to focus on football through most of the remaining 2018 calendar. Basketball will move to the forefront next semester. I did talk college basketball this past Monday. Please check the archives if you missed that class. Best of luck to you this weekend!  

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