Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at 9:57 AM
Last week in this space I talked about the importance of recognizing when NFL teams are playing with a sense of urgency, and...to a lesser extent, recognizing when other teams had given up hope. Understanding those dynamics helped key a 5-2 Sunday for my clients and I in pro football that featured a sweep of my two 50-unit releases.
After discussing the Nathan Peterman situation in our last class get-together here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting, I ultimately decided to hit the Los Angeles Chargers hard. They were the first of my two 50-unit releases. Though I respected Sean McDermott's sense of urgency, I believed it had a great chance of backfiring with this particular roster. It's one thing to make a change to a veteran back-up who is well-suited to exploit the opposing defense. But, dropping a raw rookie in the deep end with a ROAD start against an opponent who's been playing well lately? That had disaster written all over it. By early in the second quarter, I was regretting not making that a 100-unit play.
The second of my major releases was Philadelphia (-6) over Dallas. Some were wondering why I'd post a play that strong after such a big line move. Well, The Dean of Sports Handicapping was confident that the line wasn't going to matter. Philadelphia was fresh as a daisy, and had every reason in the world to bring a sense of urgency to proceedings because the Eagles are trying to win a #1 seed. Everyone was talking about how it was a "must-win" game for Dallas after the loss in Atlanta. It looked to my eyes like the Dallas defense had thrown in the towel on the season in that second half against the Falcons. They know they can't carry so much burden whenever Ezekiel Elliott isn't running clock to help keep them off the field. They played even worse in the second half against Philadelphia.
The two biggest NFL blowouts of the day were the Chargers winning by 30 points, and the Eagles winning by 28 points. Those were my two biggest releases. I also won with Jacksonville over Cleveland, Cincinnati over Denver, and the Under in Rams/Vikings.
This is why I want to revisit the theme again this week. This is what matters more than anything in pro football handicapping right now.
You want to bet on:
*Teams who are going to play with enthusiasm and intensity
*Teams with multiple PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS
You want to bet against:
*Teams who are just going through the motions (or worse)
*Teams who are starting QB's with limited PLAYMAKER ability
Dak Prescott is a much better PLAYMAKER when opposing defenses are worried about stopping Elliott. We've seen over two seasons now that Prescott becomes erratic and mistake-prone when he's asked to do too much by himself. Fading him made sense in that spot. Fading the less-talented likes of Peterman, Deshone Kizer, and Brock Osweiler was a no-brainer.
One factor that's going to become more important for this particular line of thinking is the weather. My major releases last week were in Los Angeles and the dome in Dallas. You saw Sunday in New York, Green Bay, and Cleveland that even good quarterbacks can have trouble moving the ball vs. modern aggressive offenses in cold, windy conditions. I was worried too much about Joe Flacco's bad season, which held me back from fading Brett Hundley at Lambeau. Hundley should be faded when he's facing good defenses in cold, windy weather!
So, let's add to the guidance from a few minutes ago:
*BET ON teams who are going to play with enthusiasm and intensity, with multiple PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS in great scoring conditions (particularly indoors).
*BET AGAINST teams who lack intensity and PLAYMAKERS when games are in poor scoring conditions (typically temperatures in the 30's or less, winds at 10 mph or more, and heavy precipitation).
Your homework for this week is to evaluate every game on the NFL card by those specific parameters. Maybe put a plus sign by each team that should play with intensity, a plus sign by each team with multiple scoring threats, and a plus sign for scoring conditions. Then, use minus signs for low intensity, low offensive talent, and bad weather. Look for any team with three of the same sign by its name.
THEN, look ahead to NEXT week and do the same thing. You won't know weather yet...but you can at least circle the potential weather games in cold weather cities. From this point forward, always have two weeks of action in your sights so you can plan your betting and bankroll needs.
If you need help finding smart investments, My BEST PLAYS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Make sure you join my ANNUAL TURKEY SHOOT this holiday weekend. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office during normal business hours at 1-800-755-2255, or on weekends before the first games get started. Don't forget that basketball is now on the daily menu. We'll re-incorporate that sport into our coursework once the football season winds down.
I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. It's always been my favorite holiday because there's all the food you can eat and plenty of football to watch while you're eating. I've been watching the Cowboys and Lions on Turkey Day since before most of you were born! We all have so much to be thankful for. I'm grateful that so many of you have put the lessons we discuss to good use. See you again next week after the holiday.