Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, January 27, 2012 at 1:21 PM
I want to thank all of you who signed up for my 50-unit Horizon League Game of the Year this past Thursday Night on Wisconsin-Milwaukee (-3.5) over Butler 53-42. I wanted to use today’s edition of my home study course to outline the reasons for that play. It will give you a real-world example of “Advanced Handicapping” techniques in action.
I mentioned this in a recent video, and it was a huge factor in this play. Wisconsin-Milwaukee was coming off two very poor efforts last week…with one of the low points of the season being Sunday’s loss at Cleveland State. Milwaukee was only an underdog of five points, but they lost 83-57. And, this came a couple of days after a road loss to Youngstown State. Milwaukee is a good team (currently tied for second in the Horizon League), and good teams generally bounce back strong off poor performances like that.
I should also note that those were two road games, and now Milwaukee would be playing at home. Milwaukee has been much better this year at home than on the road.
For Butler, they were due to bounce in the other direction. They had just won three games in a row. When that happened earlier this season in Horizon play, Butler then lost at Detroit 76-65 as just a two-point underdog. This isn’t a team that’s good enough or consistent enough to string together four conference wins in a row in my view.
Here we had BOTH teams involved in the bounce theory. Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s position by themselves was enough for a pretty strong play. They were a good team in a position to bring peak intensity. With Butler due for a bad outing, those factors fed off each other to help create a 50-unit possibility.
This angle can be over-used in college basketball. But, “Advanced” handicappers know how to use it! Revenge is best saved for situations where the superior team lost the first meeting. That was the case here, with Milwaukee losing earlier this season on the road 54-50 in a game that pushed the Vegas spread. Vegas seems to think these teams are pretty based on how they’ve been pricing the game. I disagree. I think Milwaukee is the better side. And, the knowledge that Vegas has been overpricing Butler ALL YEAR gave me even more confidence. Butler is one of the worst pointspread teams in all of college basketball this year with a 4-13-2 record against the spread. That includes a 2-7-1 ATS record on the road.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee was going to be fired up after that horrible loss to Cleveland State. The revenge factor magnified their intensity.
MILWAUKEE’S STRENGTH VS. BUTLER’S WEAKNESS
One of the keys in your own progression from a run-of-the-mill handicapper to an “Advanced” handicapper will be your ability to recognize strengths and weaknesses of college teams. It’s fine to use strategies like the bounce theory or revenge when making picks. But, those are “on paper” angles rather than nuts and bolts on-the-court basketball angles. In this game, we also had the added benefit of knowing that Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s strength (great defense) lined up with Butler’s weakness (horrible offense)
Both teams play slow-down basketball. But, even when you account for that, Milwaukee still has one of the 50 best defenses in the country (out of more than 300 teams being measured). They guard the basket with a passion within a slow-down style. Butler’s offense is in the bottom 100 nationally even after you adjust for pace. Graduation has hit this team hard, and they don’t have a lot of weaponry. They were going to have trouble scoring on Milwaukee.
Now…when you have a motivated team who can really TURN THE SCREWS with their strength against the other guy’s weakness…it’s a dream scenario in college basketball. Blowout city. You may not think that 53-42 is a blowout. In a low-tempo game, that’s a rout! And, think of it this way. Do you know how small a Vegas spread of -3.5 becomes when the losing team is only going to score 42 points?!
Thanks to the bounce theory, revenge, matchup advantages, and the added kicker that Vegas has been wrong about Butler all year anyway…this opportunity was one we had to attack with both fists. Thanks again to all of you cashed their tickets with me. You can be sure more games like this are on the way this weekend, and through the rest of the college season.
You can purchase my college and pro basketball selections here at the website every single day with your credit card. I have a very big NBA play planned for Friday Night. And, you can imagine that the very busy Saturday schedule is loaded with big play possibilities.
I’ll be back again for another installment from my College of Advanced Handicapping early next week to talk some more basketball. Then, I’ll have some Super Bowl tips posted for you a few days before the New York Giants take on the New England Patriots in Indianapolis. Thanks to everyone who’s been attending my “College of Advanced Handicapping.” Be sure to look for video updates on the home page of this website for additional news and notes