Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, February 3, 2012 at 10:29 PM
There’s a short list of football fans who have attended every single Super Bowl in person. As we close in on 50 YEARS of the big game, there’s also a short list of gamblers who have bet every single Super Bowl. I’m on that list. And, I can assure you I’ve cashed my tickets much more often than not.
Today I’d like to discuss a few of the keys I use when handicapping the Super Bowl. I can’t post my official side/total/parlay selection here in our coursework. That wouldn’t be fair to paying customers. You can become a paying customer and get my top plays right here at the website with your credit card on game day.
Here are some factors you MUST consider when handicapping the Giants/Patriots showdown this Sunday.
*HEALTH OF THE PLAYMAKERS
When you get to the NFL championship, BOTH teams are loaded with playmakers and gamebreakers. You need to know who’s healthy, and who’s hobbled. We’ve seen a few quarterbacks in recent years who weren’t quite at 100%...and their teams couldn’t play up to expectations. The running game isn’t as important as it used to be. But, it isn’t meaningless either. Receivers? A team can afford a slowdown at one position if they have multiple options. If a significant percentage of past contributions are going to be at less than 100% healthy, you must make allowances for that in your handicapping.
In other words…don’t give me a lot of stats if certain players aren’t likely to play to those stats. Don’t bother me with trends if one of the starting quarterbacks is at anything below peak readiness. And, make sure the impact players on defense are healthy too. A pass rush disappears if a sackmaster is hobbled.
*MISTAKES LOSE CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES
It’s tempting to handicap a game based on which team is likely to make the most big plays. It’s better, when championships are on the line in any sport, to plan on fading the team that’s likely to make the most mistakes.
High-risk, high reward teams often implode under pressure. Smart teams who play the percentages are more likely to get the job done. This is true in the Super Bowl, the BCS Championship, March Madness, the NBA Playoffs, and even the World Series.
You also want to study each defense to see which is likely to FORCE the most mistakes from the other side. Interceptions in particular have loomed large in many Super Bowl showdowns.
Coaches talk about how important the turnover category is in big games. THEY’RE RIGHT! Handicap the turnover category. Evaluate the quarterbacks based on how they’ve played in pressure situations this year and through their careers. Evaluate the head coaches based on how their teams have performed in terms of risk/reward in recent playoffs.
The Super Bowl has a history of missing Vegas expectations by big margins because the money can be disconnected from reality in a big way. Some years, there are public bandwagon games where squares line up on the wrong side (sportsbooks love it when this happens!). Some years, the favorite is so much better than the dog in terms of offensive firepower that the line doesn’t matter (sportsbooks hate it when this happens!).
Do your best to evaluate what the smart money is going in the Super Bowl…and what the dumb money is doing. If the dumb money is on the favorite…does that favorite have a chance to run away and hide? This year’s spread is so low, that the favorite could cash the ticket just with a good fourth quarter rather than a good 60 minutes. Have the sportsbooks taken a position on the game because oddsmakers are confident in their number?
The most simple handicapping approaches don’t really worry about the market. But, ADVANCED handicapping requires an understanding of market nuances that everyone reading this needs to develop.
You probably already know that I have very big plans for Sunday’s Super Bowl. Be sure to check out the home page at this website for a video update over Super Bowl weekend as well. I’ll be building my clients’ bankrolls with basketball in the days leading up to the big game. Then, Super Sunday is going to be Super indeed because I’m very confident of this year’s selections.
I’ll be back again for another installment from my College of Advanced Handicapping early next week. I expect to provide a Super Bowl review at that time. But, there are some brewing stories in basketball that may take a higher priority when class resumes. Thanks to everyone who’s been attending my “College of Advanced Handicapping.” I greatly appreciate that so many of you seek out these articles every week as you work on improving your Las Vegas wagering performance.