College Hoops Crunch Time

If you've started watching more college basketball on TV as the football season winds down, you've surely noticed a disturbing tendency across the sport. Many teams have NO IDEA how to run a crunch time offense.

I could start listing games where I watched that happen in the past month. But, that would fill up all of our time today. I'm guessing you've seen the same thing in the final minutes of close games.

*Teams run down the clock on themselves
*Teams force up guarded or super-long three-pointers
*A "hero" flies into traffic and forces up a bad shot
*Mediocre passers try to force the ball into traffic

This is even happening to offenses who supposedly have "smart" coaches, or "offensive gurus." How can you handicap games where BOTH teams are going to miss all of their shots down the stretch.

Well, the obvious answer is BET THE UNDER! But, beyond that, it's very important you figure out which teams have legitimate scoring options late in close games, and which don't. With team sides, you can just pass the games where both teams will struggle, or where both teams will be fine (or play the Over here). If you can find matchups where a smart team that will get good lucks is facing a panicky team that implodes, that's basically free money.

How can you find these teams? Here are tips for your homework tonight and through the week. What you learn will help you profit over the next two months.

*Watch the last five minutes of as many games as you can. Online viewing options now make this much more feasible than ever before. Even if you don't care about the teams or who wins...WATCH to see if you can find good executors and bad executors.

*Study the play-by-play breakdowns of each game at ESPN's website. Those are available free for the clicking on the game summaries. Then, you can see where the shots were coming from (three-pointers or deuces), how many turnovers there were, many teams are scoring on offensive rebounds after misses. The smartest coaches are incorporating this angle into their late-game attacks. Many game winners come on put backs. You need to know who can get put backs.

*Study overall and late game free throw performances. There are a few teams (probably at least 2-3 in each major conference) who win and cover late because they create free throw opportunities and drain their chances. Or, they build insurmountable leads when trailing opponents "have" to foul them in the final minute.

I know many casual gamblers just want to find "blowout" teams and ask them to crush opponents. The problem with that is that those favorites are laying big numbers, meaning they HAVE to play perfectly to cash your ticket. We're not squares here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. We know the world is a lot more complicated than that. You have to find any edges you can and bet for value. Current late-game dynamics have created that opportunity for those willing to do the work.

Now, today's discussion doesn't mean that we lose touch with our classic basics...focusing on PLAYMAKERS AND GAMEBREAKERS and THE MOTIVATION FACTOR. The former lines up perfectly with your needs to find teams that execute late in close games. The latter magnifies edges. You will be positioned for 50-unit, 100-unit, and even 200-unit bets when you find MOTIVATED teams who can execute facing FLAT teams who are poor down the stretch.

Now that there's only one meaningful football game left until late summer, it's time for you to devote almost all of your energies to basketball. Best of luck to those of you who do so. If you'd like additional help finding nightly winners, KELSO STURGEON'S top plays can always be purchased at this website by credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered by calling my office at 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours.

I'll save our Super Bowl discussion until closer to kickoff. We'll certainly devote the final Friday before the big game to handicapping the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams. If there's big betting news between now and then, I'll step in with bonus coverage. I always try to keep our coursework connected to real-world sports headlines.

So far, it's interesting to see so many bettors piling on the Patriots after assuming they had no chance to pull the upset at Kansas City. While it's true that New England was more impressive than the OT win made it seem (total yardage edge of 524-290), the Rams were as well. Yes, LA caught an officiating break. But, they did outgain a potent Saints attack 378-290. If you can hold a Drew Brees offense below 300 yards indoors on a fast track with extra time, you can certainly hang tough with an opponent that lost indoors to the Philadelphia Eagles last year.

I have several days to finalize my side and total thoughts. I look forward to discussing the game with you late next week.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your time and attendance. We have new students popping in every day now that sports betting is legal in so many new states. Yes, legalization happened a few months ago...but this is the first "road to March Madness" for many of you in terms of neighborhood betting...and you'd like to do more than just be competitive in your office pools this year. I'll do my very best to help you make that happen.