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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Friday, December 23, 2011 at 12:09 AM

If last week was any guide, pro football bettors are in for two more weeks of very volatile football results. Did you realize that only three of last week’s 16 games finished within six points of the Las Vegas pointspread? Even though oddsmakers and bettors have had well over three months to evaluate all 32 teams…divining final scoreboard margins can be very tricky indeed.

FAVORITES WHO WON BIG (in rotation order)

Atlanta (-12) beat Jacksonville 41-14 (15-point cover)

Dallas (-7) beat Tampa Bay 31-15 (8-point cover)

New Orleans (-7) beat Minnesota 42-20 (15-point cover)

New England (-7) beat Denver 41-23 (11-point cover)

Philadelphia (-3) beat the NY Jets 45-19 (23-point cover)

San Francisco (-3) beat Pittsburgh 20-3 (14-point cover)

Yes…if you’re the type of bettor who loves laying points and rooting for blowouts…then you really loved the results in those games. On the other hand…

UNDERDOGS WHO SCORED UPSETS

Washington (+7) beat the NY Giants 23-10 (20-point cover)

Kansas City (+12) beat Green Bay 19-14 (17-point cover)

Seattle (+3) beat Chicago 38-14 (27-point cover)

Carolina (+4) beat Houston 28-13 (19-point cover)

Indianapolis (+6) beat Tennessee 27-13 (20-point cover)

San Diego (+2) beat Baltimore 34-14 (22-point cover)

Wow…not just six upsets…but six upsets where the dog covered by double digits…and five upsets where the underdog WON OUTRIGHT BY DOUBLE DIGITS!

Talk about volatility!

The laws of math suggest things will be less crazy this Saturday, Sunday, and Monday just because insanity like that doesn’t happen two weeks in a row. But, I do expect the general theme of volatility to continue, even if there are fewer games that miss the mark by two touchdowns or more.

How do you dodge the bullets that volatility is firing your way? That’s where my College of Advanced Handicapping comes in. Here are some guidelines for this weekend’s NFL slate:

*Pay close attention to INJURIES. Many of last week’s odd results were triggered by injuries to key players. Green Bay was using a makeshift offensive line, and had recently lost a great receiver. They were nowhere near full strength at Kansas City. Tennessee’s Matt Hasselbeck wasn’t moving well for Tennessee because of a calf injury. Ben Roethlisberger was badly hobbled for Pittsburgh by a bad ankle. Vegas oddsmakers will make 1-2 point adjustments for injuries, occasionally more. You can see for yourself that the impact of injuries is often much greater than that.

*Don’t be stubborn about SLUMPS. If a team is playing badly in the second half of the season, assume that’s going to continue until shown otherwise. Vegas just refused to accept that the Chicago Bears were horrible with Caleb Hanie at quarterback. The line never fully adjusted to Jay Cutler’s absence from the lineup. Buffalo’s been playing very poorly for almost two months…yet they were pick-em against a Miami team that’s been playing MUCH better over that span. And, don’t even get me started on Tampa Bay. I’m not sure what oddsmakers have been smoking when they post lines in Bucs games during their long losing streak. Much of what was seen as “market volatility” last week was just recent form continuing. Vegas hadn’t properly adjusted for recent form.

*Know who can handle PRESSURE. There are many teams fighting for playoff spots at the moment. Not all of them have quarterbacks who can handle that kind of pressure when trying to carry a team on their shoulders. Mark Sanchez is being asked to take on a bigger role for the New York Jets this year. He had a horrible game in Philadelphia. Eli Manning disappointed me last weekend for the Giants, with a three interception game at a very bad time. Joe Flacco just about disappeared last Sunday Night in San Diego, which is fairly normal for him if you’ve watched him vs. top competition in recent years.

Let’s stop right there and turn those into commands for your handicapping this weekend:

*Study the injury reports CLOSELY!

*Study straight up and ATS records from the last 4-8 weeks to get in synch with recent form!

*Evaluate the quarterbacks on contenders to anticipate how they’ll handle this week’s pressure!

You’ve got your homework. Get busy so you can make some smart choices before the games start. Or, purchase my NFL plays this Christmas Weekend right here at the website with your credit card. I have great rates by the way for the rest of NFL action and all remaining college football bowl games. Be sure you check on basketball too. The NBA starts Sunday…which means the basketball schedule is about to get very busy.

Let me report that I swept the board with 50-units of football profits Thursday Night, cashing 30-units on BYU (-) over Arizona State in a slaughter, and 20-units in an outright upset win for Indianapolis over Houston.

My next written lecture from my College of Advanced Handicapping is scheduled for early next week. Be sure to check the home page video updates throughout the holiday weekend. Merry Christmas to all…and to all a big weekend of winners! See you next time

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