Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM
In a sport where everyone can’t stop talking about “March Madness,” the month of February can get short shrift. Many top college basketball teams played that way Tuesday night. They can’t wait for tournament time to arrive.
*Michigan (-7) never showed up in a 75-69 loss at woeful Penn State. That was just Penn State’s second win of the season in conference action. Michigan is still on the short list of national title hopefuls. But, elite teams are very mortal when they come out flat. Penn State isn’t even NIT caliber this season.
*Kentucky (-9) was upset at home by LSU 73-71. If you watched, you could tell LSU had much more intensity down the stretch. Kentucky might have become too overconfident based on their recent hot stretch. Tough to cover spreads this high if you’re not at 100% focus. Kentucky played a 35-minute game when a full 40 minutes was needed.
*Duke (-7) had to rally from way down to survive Louisville 71-69. It was a testament to Duke’s talent that it was able to dominate the final 10 minutes to salvage a win. Those first 30 minutes showed you that even historically great teams can get pushed around in February if they’re thinking too soon about March. When Duke was digging its hole, that was the worst basketball the Blue Devils had played all season.
Also of note Tuesday, Buffalo (-8.5) had trouble shaking Akron in what should have been a easy win for the MAC power…Purdue lost the second half 40-18 at Maryland…and Texas was upset at home by Kansas State.
Bettors must be very careful asking elite teams or temporarily “hot” teams to play great from mid-February through the end of the month. College kids just can’t get sky high every night for games that won’t matter much in the big picture. The games that really matter are NEXT month in the tournaments. Losing at Penn State may not cost Michigan anything. Nobody will remember it if the Wolverines run the table. Maybe the loss could cost them one rung on the seeding ladder…in a loaded area of the brackets where seeding won’t matter much anyway. The top is so strong this season that there won’t be much difference between being a #1 or #2 seed…or a #2 seed compared to a #3 seed.
JIM HURLEY suggests you look at variations of what’s been called the “bounce” approach to handicapping, or the “yo-yo” dynamic. If a top team is coming off a big February performance, FADE them the next time out. If a top team is coming off a loss, ask them to bounce back and play well.
Some recent examples…
*Michigan beat Wisconsin in a huge TV game, but looked awful at Penn State (this after looking awful at Iowa after blowing out Ohio State).
*Duke beat Virginia in a huge TV game, but didn’t show up until late at Louisville.
*Virginia bounced back from that loss to Duke to win at North Carolina Monday night.
*Texas won by 22 on the road at West Virginia Saturday, only to come home and lose to Kansas State.
*Baylor ran roughshod over the Big 12 in January, but now hasn’t covered a game since February 2.
That bounce effect goes beyond the basics of alternating covers and non-covers. It’s not shocking to see EXTREMES where double-digit covers are followed by double-digit non-covers. Feast or famine in February.
The great thing about this for handicappers and bettors is that it’s not hard to keep track of. You’re watching many of these games on TV anyway. Once you see an extreme result, find each team’s next matchup in your schedule and circle it for game-day attention.
Or, make a chart of the top 25 teams in the current poll, and then monitor each team’s ebb and flow the rest of the month. That’s only two more weeks. Think of how many BIG, JUICY WINNERS you’ll find! A bonus…teams that show “bounce” tendencies in February often do the same thing in their conference tournaments if they’re already a lock for the Big Dance. Peak focus and intensity doesn’t come until the season would end with a loss.
A lot of great situations coming up the next few days. If you’re not confident of finding them yourself, you can purchase JIM HURLEY’S plays right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, please call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. NETWORK has value-priced packages that take you through the NCAA Tournament, or through the NBA Playoffs that finish in June.
JIM HURLEY’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach was built for this time of year. Our SCOUTS and SOURCES let us know the mindsets of major teams as they go through their highs and lows…while also clueing us into which losing teams have already thrown in the towel. Our TREND HISTORIANS help us find angles and situational spots that cash at an 80% cover rate or better. Our COMPUTER PROGRAMMERS run state-of-the-art simulation software that plays every game thousands of times to account for all the possibilities. And, our WISE GUY CONNECTIONS behind the line in Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and offshore let us know what the smart money is doing, and what the dumb money is doing.
The man in the eye of this information hurricane does all the work so YOU can GET ALL THE MONEY! Hook up with JIM HURLEY today!