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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, December 17, 2018 at 11:00 AM

Last Friday, I tried to step lightly around the fact that I was very confident about a 100-unit play I was releasing to clients Saturday. I was already planning this Monday tutorial because I knew Utah State (-7) was going to crush North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl.

The final score was 52-13, and it wasn’t really that close. Utah State took its foot off the gas after jumping to a 38-7 halftime lead. Among the highlights…

*Utah State won total yardage 556-313 despite relaxing. The Aggies might have gained 700 yards if there was any incentive to do so. There was that big an advantage in PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS.

*Utah State won yards-per-play 6.7 to 4.2. Again, that was while sitting on a big lead the whole second half.

*Utah State quarterback Jordan Love passed for 359 yards. Two different receivers topped 100 yards individually. Love can be a bit erratic (don’t get me started!), but Jordan is a big play quarterback who had wide open receivers in good scoring conditions.

*Utah State had two running backs top 90 yards on the ground. There was an overflow of talent!

*Utah State converted 60% of its third down tries, so it wasn’t just a matter of occasionally hitting big plays. They drove the field easily AND ALSO occasionally hit some big plays.

I will grant you that we caught a break when the North Texas quarterback was injured early in the game. But, that just kept it from being a 52-35 type shootout…or maybe 62-40 because Utah State could have scored more if it had to.

Too many bettors backed off Utah State in the days leading up to the game because of the program’s head coaching situation. I wasn’t worried (too much) about that. Because everyone knew that Gary Anderson would be back in charge next year. He’s loved there, and was very successful. That’s not a program in turmoil. That’s a program in good hands.

So, based on themes we’ve discussed in the past…

*Playmakers and Gamebreakers: big edge Utah State

*Motivation Factor: no edge either way

*Weather: great conditions, perfect for talent to make plays

*Hidden edges: UNT played a very soft schedule

That last point was how I knew UNT would be overmatched. They had played the #139 ranked schedule according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today. No way they’d be ready for the kind of athletes Utah State was bringing to the matchup. It’s not just that the Mountain West is better than Conference USA (particularly at the top…where runner-up Fresno State beat Arizona State of the Pac 12 31-20, winning yardage 436-293), but Utah State had great athleticism IN the superior conference.

If you’ve been working hard here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping all season, you know I had a big play earlier this season on Utah State. Many of the same reasons apply. This team could give Central Florida run for its money in a “best of the mid-majors” tournament. Central Florida would be a much bigger favorite than -7 over a team like North Texas. Utah State should have been at least double that spread.

It’s great to have my first big college bowl play already in the bank. I expect to have more 100-unit plays. And, it’s extremely likely that I’ll have a 200-unit or 250-unit release somewhere along the line. The only reason I can’t absolutely guarantee that now is because of the possibility for suspensions just before a bowl. It would be tremendously risky to post a selection of that magnitude a week or two before kickoff, only to have key players get themselves into trouble and miss the game.

Of course, weather could be an issue too. Utah State was playing in great scoring conditions in Albuquerque. But, I can’t back PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS that aggressively in bad weather, or on poor turf (or on the combination of poor turf in sloppy weather!). In the bowls, you have to wait until everything’s locked in to attack with your best plays.

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. You always get the most bang for your buck on longer term packages.

I’m glad we could review my fundamentals with such a great real-world example. It’s one thing for you to hear generalities about what works. It’s another to see a game play out as scripted using what you’ve learned here in my coursework.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping will be back on Friday for our next class get-together. That might be another college football bowl related discussion. We have a few bowls midweek…but the schedule really picks up again Friday and Saturday. But, we also have a lot to talk about in the NFL after a weekend of shocking results and surprising developments.

*The supposed “Super Bowl” locks of six weeks ago both lost outright at home! Kansas City started Week 15 by falling to the Los Angeles Chargers. The LA Rams ended Sunday with a stunning failure against Philadelphia.

*One of the hottest teams in the league, Dallas, was shut out for the first time ever under its current head coach. Another very hot team, Seattle was upset by San Francisco.

*New England failed to cover in a situational spot that had gone 20-0 ATS in the Belichick Brady era (a mix of price range and bounce back).

As we discussed last Monday, the Super Bowl chase is wide open. I’m very excited that we can put it under the microscope here in our coursework. See you next time.

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