How Much is a Player Worth

With news breaking Monday morning that Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans wanted to be traded, this is a good time to revisit the discussion of how much a player is "worth" to oddsmakers and bettors.

You regular students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping won't be surprised to learn that I disagree with oddsmakers, and many other handicappers regarding this topic. Personally, I don't believe you can determine a players point value in a vacuum. A PLAYMAKER or GAMEBRAKER might be worth a few to several points on certain teams that lack depth, but might not provide much impact at all on a great team.

Imagine Anthony Davis went from New Orleans to Golden State. He might be worth 3-5 points in the spread for the Pelicans, but not move the needle at all for the Warriors. Golden State is so close to peak greatness when healthy and focused that another star won't mean anything beyond added depth. Boogie Cousins was an insurance policy when he went to the Warriors. He was worth a bucket or so with the Pelicans.

In football, some starting quarterbacks are a touchdown better than their backups (think Green Bay with Aaron Rodgers, an issue magnified because the team has recently had lousy second stringers). Philadelphia lost Carson Wentz, and arguably got BETTER because Wentz was playing hurt while Nick Foles knows how to move the ball. If Rodgers had been replaced by Foles, maybe the difference is a field goal (or less). If Wentz was replaced by one of Green Bay's backups of the past few seasons, the Eagles would plummet in Power Ratings.

From our point of view here in the coursework, you should think about the PLAYMAKER and GAMEBREAKER impact for covering point spreads. That typically means the ability to build blowouts (particularly in college football, where many of my 100-unit and 200-unit plays involve talented teams vs. pushovers). But, it can also mean the ability to keep feisty underdogs competitive for value bets. Whenever you see an important personnel development (trade, injury, suspension, whatever), DON'T think about how many points the guy is worth.

*If you're talking about an "addition," focus on his big picture impact on covering spreads. Does the team have better blowout potential vs. weaker opponents with him in the lineup? Can the team now hang with tougher opponents for an entire game? Maybe this "addition" solves a glaring weakness, and the team is about to take a huge step forward.

*For a "subtraction," focus on the quality of his replacement, or on the overall ability of the team to absorb his loss in other areas. The media always overrated Carmelo Anthony because the offense was "losing points" if he was benched or hurt. They gained so much in defense and rebounding that they were usually better off without him, particularly as he aged. You've surely heard the phrase "addition by subtraction." I heard it again last week in discussions of how much better Washington has been playing without John Wall. This happens. Bettors must learn to anticipate it.

We haven't had a chance to talk about the NBA in a meaningful way yet this season, with all the football and college basketball in the spotlight. Understanding personnel dynamics is more important in pro hoops than in any other sport these days. Among the reasons:

*Coaches are resting stars much more than before
*The injury rate is close to 100% because of physical play

I'm not saying every player suffers serious injury. Everybody gets banged up and worn down. And, then there are ALSO serious injuries. It's the coach's job to get his team as fresh and healthy as possible heading into the postseason.

Your homework today is to evaluate team depth in your areas of handicapping. If you're not betting the NBA right now because you're a college basketball fan, look at minute rotations in your favorite conferences or with major TV teams. College teams suffer injuries too! Ask Kansas about that. Duke has lost a step in ATS terms after a recent injury as well. If you are an NBA bettor, spend this week knocking out the whole league (maybe a division a day). This will help you prepare in advance for major personnel developments.

Don't think about how many "points" a guy is worth. Think about the IMPACT of his presence or absence.

If you'd like additional help finding 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 in the by calling my office at 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. Sign up for any long term package, and my Super Bowl selections will be included in your program.

I'll be back at the usual time Friday to talk more about the Super Bowl. I know all of you are looking forward to betting that game, be it side, total, or props. I can't believe how many props there are these days. I think I've said that since they first started with William "Refrigerator" Perry back in the day. Each sports book comes up with their own wrinkles to drive foot traffic. There are NOW so many that I couldn't put together a class that would provide it justice. I'm confident that you're study of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS all season will position you well to make smart choices. Also true for those cross-sport props where you're trying to figure out if a football team will score more points than James Harden.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your hard work and attendance. The most exciting calendar week of the football season here in Las Vegas has just begun. I hope it's a very profitable week for you!