The time of the year is here. What time of the year is it? It is time for 100′s of Handicappers to spit out their 2010 College and Pro Previews and keeping up with the Industry in which I am part of, I feel it is important for me to do the same. A lot of Handicappers spend a lot of time doing this exercise every year and for the most part, all of the one’s that are out there to the general public are all the same. The fact is, most are copy and paste jobs from other Previews and the info derived from reading these are about the same as well. The Title of this piece might be misnamed but since everyone loves these Previews I thought I would would title it this way to get you to read it. If you let this sink in, this piece will make you a better handicapper though.
HOW CAN WE BENEFIT FROM THIS PHENOMENON?
As we know, Oddsmakers set lines based on Public Perception. They do this so that they can balance their books as closely as possible. Their only goal is to set the numbers so that equal, or about equal betting action is on both sides of the number can be had. There is no doubt that they want to know what Bettors are thinking and these Previews help them do that. Yes, that’s right. They read these Articles too and that means good things for us. It means that they know that they are more than likely going to get more action on the teams that are featured as “Gonna Score a lot” or “Gonna Have a Great Start” or “Gonna Have a Great Year.” Since all Previews are about the same, I would suspect that they don’t read them all, as there is no reason to. Just like everything else in this industry, most Handicappers derive their plays based on the same standard handicapping methodology that has been around for decades. That is where the “Under the Radar” Guy comes in.
THE SPECIAL SITUATIONS
Each year we have a number of these and Oddsmakers don’t know what to do with them. What are these situations? Certainly one of those would be the various Coaching Changes that we see every year. I am not absolutely talking about the Head Coach and in fact, more gain can be had by looking
into both the Offensive and Defensive Coordinator shifts in both College and Pro Football. Not only can these changes dramatically improve a team, they can damage one as well. That is especially true in the College Ranks, and that is especially true in the first couple or three weeks of the season. I covered some of this in “Handicapping Our Children” and the fact is College Athletes are NOT Grownups. Some of them are brilliant students, but learning new ways of doing things sometimes comes with growing pains. While Coaching Changes are designed to make things better, in the shorterm, they often do not. Looking for teams in this special situation can do your bankroll well. Key changes at key playing positions can also mean good things for teams but they too can mean disaster in the shorterm.
WHAT CAN WE DO TO GET A JUMPSTART?
Read. Not those 100′s of Previews being put out by those Handicapping Services. I personally spend a few hours a week reading local newspapers, school newspapers, Team Forums, Blogs, and I subscribe to any alerts or new articles that come out from these sources so that it comes to my inbox on a daily basis. Today alone, I will have some alerts and notices to read that have come my way, and many offer info that can’t be found anywhere else. Of course, you can’t believe everything you read, so it is always
wise to verify with as many sources as possible the info that might come your way. This is by far the best way to know what is really going on with the very many Division 1A schools in the land. In my many years of doing this, I have also met and chatted with some really sharp people who follow their favorite teams and they are there to answer any questions that I might have prior to the season opener or during the football season. You just can’t replace this with any other kind of info on the web or printed publication.
THE FUTURES AND EARLY TOTALS
September has always been my most profitable month of the year and I guess it always will be. Oddsmakers scramble every year to figure out setting correct lines and they fail miserably every year. It is always fun stuff for me to go back and read some of last year’s Previews to find out how poorly the recommendations were because many squads that are expected to be “Hot Shit” do not pan out, and some that are expected to be “Doodly Squat” do pan out. Teams with new offensive schemes often struggle a great deal in the early going and that creates some really good Total Opportunities for us. It also creates some Total Wins Futures as well. It is also important to note that returning starters on defense is probably the most important aspect of knowing who has got it and who does not. Sheer numbers of starters returning is less important than a good nucleus of better one’s. This is where your sources can come in handy, because many know how well replacements will fit the program. As always, I will have 4 to 7 Futures Bets this year and as always, they will do swimmingly well. You can look for those in late July to early August.
WINNING AT FOOTBALL IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE
Much like Major League Baseball, digging into the numbers can make you a lot of money at this sport. Finding ways to find winners is more than just using the standard handicapping practices, and the various handicapping sites on the web. Knowing the mindset of teams, the Special Situations at the beginning and during the season, and thinking outside of the box will put you way ahead of those guys in the Big Buildings in Vegas who eat Goose Liver almost every day. Why not accept the challenge this year and be be the best that you can be? I promise you that if you do, you will never go back to what you are doing now.