Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Monday, February 11, 2019 at 1:00 PM
In our last class get-together, I mentioned that was taking a “wait and see” approach to the Alliance of American Football. You probably watched some of the action this past weekend. Weather was lousy across the nation, so most sports fans (and bettors) at least checked out parts of a telecast while staying inside on their couches.
To me, the league earned a mixed grade. Play on the field couldn’t possibly live up to network hype. You’d have thought General Patton was one of the head coaches, and every team was full of young, hungry athletes fighting for their chance in the big leagues. Nobody hypes itself like the NFL, even if it’s just a “developmental” league.
That said, performances of the best teams were superior to what many of the skeptics feared. I think any football fan would love to see the Orlando Apollos take on the Arizona Hotshots head to head based on how those sharply those teams executed this past weekend. The best teams in the AAF will play entertaining football. That means many games will be fun for recreational players to bet on.
The worst teams? It could get ugly. If the line doesn’t “catch down” to the current struggles of teams like Atlanta (imploding on the sidelines before the season even began) and Memphis (trying to win with Mike Singletary as a head coach and Christian Hackenberg as a starting quarterback), smart bettors will fade those teams while leaving the TV off.
I’m not going to fully endorse betting on this league just yet. You can’t judge by just one game per team. For students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping who ARE going to bet the league, I suggest focusing on these factors.
*Focus on star RECEIVERS for an angle on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. It’s going to be difficult for a quarterback to break out as a star in this league because we’re talking about third and fourth-teamers from the NFL. Those guys are all about even. The “best” quarterbacks will be the ones making the fewest mistakes, not the ones doing impressions of Hall of Fame stars. Difference-makers will be receivers who can hold onto the ball, and turn short passes into big plays. Look for THOSE on each team. Probably half the league won’t have any. Maybe a running back will announce himself as a big threat soon. I’m skeptical…because offensive lines aren’t very good…and because defenses aren’t structured to allow breakaway runs.
*Pay attention to “home crowd” intensity when trying to get a read on THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. You surely noticed that home favorites went 4-0 straight up and ATS in the openers. The crowd was most noticeable in football-starved San Antonio. It remains to be seen if last week’s losers will be greeted as warmly in their home openers. Then, as the season progresses, see if you can spot any demoralized teams who believe they were sold a bill of goods because their head coach was way out of touch with the modern game. I believe this will happen with at least two teams…possibly as many as four or five of the eight.
*Evaluate offenses based on their abilities to move the chains to drive the field…and then their ability to finish off drives with touchdowns instead of field goal attempts. Evaluate defenses based on their ability to make high impact plays like takeaways and sacks. San Antonio sacked San Diego six times, allowing them to keep the Fleet out of the end zone.
*Finally, watch as many games as you can. This league was created partially with TV (or streaming) in mind. Start times are scattered to maximize coverage and social media interactions. This won’t be like college football or the NFL when several games are running simultaneously. You should be able to research both of my traditional fundamentals (PLAYMAKERS and MOTIVATION) with the eye test in these opening weeks. (Note that stats may be hard to find at first. The league hasn’t made it easy yet to find team statistics.)
I’m still deciding how much (if at all) the AAF will be a part of my customer service. If there’s demand, I’ll see what I can do. Or, if I find opportunities that are too good to pass up, I’ll pass those along to clients when they pop up.
If February basketball hasn’t been going your way so far, 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. I have great packages that take you through the rest of March Madness or the NBA Playoffs.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your time and attendance. I’ll be back again Friday with our next class get-together. That will very likely be college basketball related because the NBA will be on its all-star break. I might do a “preparing for the stretch run” pro basketball article a week from today. You regulars know that I try to connect the coursework to real-world developments as they happen.
Personally, I spotted some big keys this past weekend in many of the high profile college basketball matchups pairing ranked teams. We got an early glimpse of what “tournament” basketball is going to look like in several conferences. I can’t remember a season where I was THIS excited around Valentine’s about what was coming up the rest of the way. I hope you’re excited too. See you Friday.