Professional Handicapper Kelso Sturgeon

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 717 GRIZZLIES
 718 THUNDER
4/21/2014 8:00 PM(et)
+7½
-7½
189½ 
+7
-7
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-7
189 
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 719 WARRIORS
 720 CLIPPERS
4/21/2014 10:30 PM(et)
+8
-8
212 
+8
-8
212½ 
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-8
212 
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-8
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212 
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212½ 
 721 HAWKS
 722 PACERS
4/22/2014 7:00 PM(et)
+7
-7
187 
+7
-7
187 
 
+7
-7
186½ 
+7
-7
187 
+7
-7
187 
 723 NETS
 724 RAPTORS
4/22/2014 7:30 PM(et)
+4½
-4½
188 
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187½ 
 
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187½ 
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187½ 
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187½ 

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No National Football League games scheduled.

No College FootballI-A games scheduled.

No College Basketball games scheduled.

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Kelso Sturgeon has been a professional handicapper for 40 years and has a deep understanding of all facets of the game, be it football, basketball, baseball or horse racing. He's worked as a football scout in the SEC and studied under Hall of Fame coaches like Alabama's Bear Bryant, winner of five national titles and Hank Stram of the Kansas City Chiefs, who won the 1970 Super Bowl. He's been a Regional Sports Editor for the Associated Press, worked as a successful jockey agent and authored several books teaching people how to be a handicapper, including the bestseller, THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO SPORTS BETTING. Kelso also understands that to be a successful handicapper means knowing the business of gambling, and to that end he is personal friends with most of the big linesmakers in Las Vegas and gets the daily scoop on what is happening on the other side of the counter. There is no one better qualifed to be your personal handicapper than Kelso Sturgeon.

Contact us or call 1-800-755-2255 to get Kelso Sturgeon as your personal handicapper. Enter here to get today's free pick!

Around FCS: Classic matchups gain in significance

Philadelphia, PA. (Sports Network) - You didn't need a crystal ball several months back to know that a pair of games this Saturday would be important to figuring out the national playoff chase, in addition to the title race for two of the most significant conferences in FCS.

Most people had James Madison, Richmond, Eastern Washington and Montana ranked in their preseason top-10s, so it was obvious that a JMU trip to Richmond and Montanas journey to Eastern Washington would hold a major key to each of those team's championship aspirations.

But as we head into the mid-point of the 2008 campaign, some of the reasons that these games are important have changed.

In the case of Montana and Eastern Washington, losses last Saturday in Big Sky play have these two league powers teetering on the brink of failure in their goal of winning the conference title. Whatever team that falls in this clash of titans will effectively see its championship hopes erased for 2008.

Teams have won shares of the Big Sky title with two losses three times in the past 10 years, but it seems unlikely that such a scenario would play out again this season.

Northern Arizona has displayed one of the top defenses in the country on the way to a 4-1 start and a No. 18 national ranking. And an offense filled with playmakers has not even played up to its full potential.

Weber State has finally bridled its individual talent into more of a team approach. Should the 4-2 Wildcats win at Montana State on Saturday -- something WSU hasn't done since 2000 -- Weber State would be viewed as even stronger title threat.

The game with Montana is pretty much a must win for an Eastern Washington team that returned most of the key performers off a 2007 squad that reached the FCS quarterfinals.

At 2-3, the Eagles have fallen to 23rd in the national poll and rank dead last in FCS at 118th in total defense, allowing 499 yards per game. In last weeks 47-36 loss to Portland State, EWU allowed Viking quarterback Drew Hubel to throw for 623 yards and five touchdowns.

The Eagle offense ranks second nationally in passing behind quarterback Matt Nichols and receivers such as Aaron Boyce, Tony Davis and Brynsen Brown and has averaged 36 points per game, but the defense has allowed 38 per contest.

Eastern Washington still has to be kicking itself for a 31-24 loss at Colorado in the second week of the season. The Eagles had the Buffaloes on the ropes before a late, fourth-quarter collapse.

EWU would have four losses with a loss to Montana, making its playoff hopes close to extinct. The Eagles' shaky start has been filled with growing pains for first-year coach Beau Baldwin.

On the bright side, Eastern Washington announced on Wednesday that the game at Woodward Field is officially a sellout. Temporary bleachers have been added to increase the seating from 8,600 to 10,840 and standing-room tickets could get the crowd close to the record of 11,563 fans that were on hand when the Eagles and the Grizzlies met there two years ago.

Montana expects those type of crowds, both at home and on the road. But the Grizzlies are not used to being backed in the corner this early in league play.

Having won, or shared in 10 consecutive Big Sky championships and having reached the playoffs in an FCS-record 15 consecutive years, Montana could see those streaks jeopardized with a loss to the Eagles.

The No. 12 Grizzlies feel somewhat fortunate to be 4-1 overall with the youngest and least experienced team that coach Bobby Hauck has fielded in his six years in Missoula, MT.

Montana beat Cal Poly in its opener on the road when the Mustang kicker missed a 27-yard field goal in the final minute of a 30-28 game. And the Grizzlies needed late drives from miracle-working quarterback Cole Bergquist to pull out tight wins over UC Davis and Central Washington in back-to-back weeks at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

The biggest stat for Montana this season is that the Grizzlies are 94th national in turnover margin. Montana has lost nine turnovers alone in the past two weeks, including four in the 45-28 defeat by Weber State.

When the Grizzlies hang on to the ball, they are as effective as they have been since the Craig Ochs era, but those turnovers haven't done any favors for a defense that has struggled to stop the passing game.

These teams traditionally play tight games, including last years 24-23 Montana win at Washington-Grizzly Stadium.

With two desperate teams and two struggling defenses, Saturdays Montana- Eastern Washington contest could prove to be filled with offensive fireworks.

The expectations of James Madison and Richmond have actually skyrocketed at this point, which is incredible, considering JMU came within a point of beating three-time national champion Appalachian State in the first round of last year's playoffs and Richmond lost to those same Mountaineers in the semifinals.

Both teams have been ranked No. 1 nationally and many people thought this might be a No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup three weeks ago, following JMU's 35-32 victory over then-No. 1 Appalachian State.

Richmond moved to No. 1, following ASU's demise, while JMU slipped into the No. 2 spot in the poll.

But those hopes were dashed a week later when Richmond was throttled by a resurgent Villanova club, 26-20, on the road. The Spiders are now No. 5, while James Madison has taken over the role of No. 1.

A crowd of between 12,000 and 15,000 is expected for the game at RU Stadium, though many of them will be JMU supporters making the two-hour commute to Richmond.

Richmond needs a win to keep alive its hopes of winning a Colonial Athletic Association title and earning a top-four seed in the playoffs, while James Madison has similar goals.

With a 4-2 record, a third loss on Saturday would mean the Spiders would likely need to win its final four games to earn a playoff berth, a tough task, considering they must still travel to No. 13 Massachusetts, Hofstra and an improved William & Mary, while playing Delaware at home.

JMU has a little more rope to swing on with a 5-1 record. With a victory over Richmond, the Dukes would be setting themselves up nicely for the stretch run that includes games at No. 9 Villanova and Towson on the road and Delaware and William & Mary at home.

The Spiders have been a middle-of-the-road team on offense, with the running of quarterback Eric Ward and tailback Josh Vaughan being their most effective weapons. Exciting sophomore receiver Kevin Grayson has been slowed by a leg injury suffered against Villanova and his status for Saturday is still undetermined.

On defense, Richmond has shown improvement with the return of Sherman Logan at defensive end and the development of Justin Rogers at cornerback. Logan and fellow defensive end Lawrence Sidbury have combined for 11.5 tackles for loss and four sacks, while Logan has four interceptions to go with his reputation as a dangerous returnman.

The Spiders rank 17th nationally in total defense (293 yards per game), ninth in scoring defense (16.5 points per game) and seventh in turnover margin.

James Madison is a bread and butter team that makes its success by running the ball down opponents throats. The Dukes are sixth nationally in rushing, with quarterback Rodney Landers and tailbacks Eugene Holloman, Griff Yancey and Jamal Sullivan all piling up yardage. But the Dukes are suspect in the passing game, ranking 114th nationally.

The JMU defense has sparkled at times, like the second half of the Appalachian State game, when the defensive line slowed down Mountaineer quarterback Armanti Edwards.

This game will likely come down to who does a better job of stopping the other teams running game and which offense can counter with a more effective passing attack. Last years game came down to the final minute, when a Stephen Howell interception of a Landers pass in the end zone ended a Duke scoring threat and preserved a 17-16 victory.

MOVING TO THE BIG TIME?

When coach Paul Wulff left Eastern Washington after a nice, eight-year run, he left the Eagles with one of the better stocks of quarterbacks in FCS.

He probably wishes he had a Matt Nichols, or one of Nichols' back-ups around now that he is the coach at Washington State.

Wulff had to do something pretty extraordinary this week in Pullman, WA., calling for an open tryout on Monday to find a quarterback for his injury- plagued Pac-10 team.

A total of 27 hopefuls -- to use the term loosely -- showed up to display their talents and freshman Peter Roberts emerged as the winner. Roberts, who passed for 2,942 yards in his final two prep seasons at Woodinville High School, will be used as the scout team quarterback for the Cougars.

Washington State is off to a 1-5 start in Wulff's first season, with its only win being a 48-9 victory over Portland State.

HELLO HAL

Just imagine what kind of a job the computer from the Stanley Kubrick classic "2001: A Space Odyssey" would have done, trying to figure how to rank the various teams in FCS?

While we don't to worry about what Hal's favorite computer spits out, we do have the Gridiron Power Index, which made its 2008 debut on Tuesday.

The GPI, which bears some similarities to the computer rankings of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS), has James Madison ranked No. 1, followed by New Hampshire, Appalachian State, McNeese State, Richmond, Cal Poly, Villanova, Montana, UMass and Wofford in the top 10.

The GPI, along with the Sports Network Top-25 poll and the coaches poll, will be used as an element in selecting the 16-team playoff field in 2008.

10/8/2008 5:34:32 PM