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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 12:41 PM

You longtime readers know that I always emphasize PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS when making my selections in all sports. It's important that sports bettors know which athletes are most likely to determine which teams will win straight up and cover point spreads.

When trying to find edges in the NFL Preseason slate, this is more difficult, but arguably more important! I can't tell you how many times over my long career in this industry where I've made big money because I recognized one key BACKUP quarterback or running back who was likely to carry his team to a cover. That's easier for one player to do in an environment where so many players are more worried about staying healthy than scoring touchdowns.

*Sometimes, that PLAYMAKER is a backup quarterback who's trying to win a starting job. Maybe it's with this team…maybe he's trying to impress other teams who need to make a move. But, if you can find a player who's TRYING to reach the end zone rather than just execute basic plays, you'll be way ahead of the game. I should also point out that sometimes the PLAYMAKER is a rookie QB who can run. Russell Wilson made an impact for Seattle immediately in August action. Will Deshaun Watson of Clemson do the same for Houston this month? The inexperience of rookies hurts them in regular season action against complicated defenses that disguise their blitzing. In August, they're facing vanilla defenses that are often too slow to react to a scrambler.

*Sometimes (but less often), the PLAYMAKER is a running back who's going to carry the load for a conservative head coach. Even if the coach doesn't care about getting a result, a youngster trying to earn a career will just keep blasting through holes and running to daylight. In a typical season, we're probably talking about 2-3 different players capable of doing this (usually in the second half of yawners). That can be worth 3-4 easy winners if you can identify these studs.

*Sometimes, the PLAYMAKER is a kick returner who has electrifying moves and hasn't yet been slowed down by knee or ankle injuries. Special teams' points loom VERY large in exhibition action because any kick return TD represents 7 points out of about 33-38 total on the scoreboard. Some games are decided straight up and ATS by return TD's. Have your eye on any rookies who were great return men in college football. Those are great sleepers to have in your arsenal.

Look, I've been doing this a long time. I'm not going to tell you that there are PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS that will be running rampant all over the exhibition schedule. The frontline guys most capable of doing that aren't being allowed to play much! But, there are definitely a handful of backups who are going to be DIFFERENCE-MAKERS because they will be making plays to break games wide-open. That's a starting point for handicapping August football. And, it creates good habits for how you should be handicapping September football (and beyond) once it gets here.

What else should you be looking at when handicapping NFLX? We'll talk more about that in the coming weeks. I'll also get you up to speed in how to handicap pennant race baseball. We have exciting races in both leagues, with a few divisions still up for grabs and a truly wild Wildcard race in the American League.

How has your summer been going? Have you been struggling with your own picks? Did you lose a fortune trying to back the Cubs and Indians when they were burning money during the first half of the season? Did you keep talking yourself out of laying high prices with the Dodgers when they became one of the hottest teams in history? Did you miss out on all the Over bets before the market realized the ball was juiced? Only to start betting Overs once the lines had adjusted and the value was gone?

This is a very tough racket to beat on your own. I've been making my living in this industry for decades. I started before many of you were born. I know what it takes to win. I'm here to help any of you who need some guidance.

KELSO STURGEON'S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages (football AND baseball) can be answered in the Vegas Sports Masters office during normal business hours at 1-800-755-2255, or on weekends before the first games get started

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your time and attention during my "Advanced Sports Betting" coursework. We'll have plenty to discuss this month and this season. And, plenty of homework for those of you who are truly serious about winning. You don't beat the market by playing hunches and crossing your fingers. You beat the market by outworking and outthinking everyone else. I trust you're ready to take on that challenge.