A Shortcut for Classifying Quarterbacks - Who Sharps Like

As I was watching Northwestern/Purdue Thursday night on ESPN, it occurred to me that I could present to you an easy but useful way to evaluate and categorize college football quarterbacks. We've talked a lot over the years about how to focus on talent and GAMEBREAKING ability. And, we've also talked about the importance of avoiding turnovers. Today, we discuss an easy method for categorization that you can use as "homework" as you watch games all weekend.

These are the two basic questions you should ask of every quarterback:
*Can he move the ball downfield?
*Can he avoid turnovers?

Some college quarterbacks drive the field with their arms...some with their legs...some with their brains. But, winners get it done. They move the chains. They find the end zone more often than not once they get to the red zone. Quarterbacks who can't do this aren't going to win you any money

The problem with some quarterbacks who CAN move the ball is that they make so many mistakes that it cancels out their positives. A quarterback throwing for 300 yards is probably going to win the game...unless he also throws three or more interceptions! Then he lost you the game, or at least your bet on the favorite. An option quarterback with great speed is useless to you if he keeps putting the ball on the ground with fumbles or bad pitches.

I want you to start thinking about quarterback impact in four quadrants.

Quadrant 1: Elite quarterbacks who move the ball and avoid turnovers
Quadrant 2: Productive quarterbacks who turn the ball over too much
Quadrant 3: Struggling quarterbacks who at least avoid turnovers
Quadrant 4: Struggling quarterbacks who also turn the ball over

Obviously, Quadrant 1 is where you want to invest your money. Though, Quadrant 4 can be just as profitable when you FADE those quarterbacks. A lot of my biggest 100-unit and 200-unit releases over the years have involved fading helpless quarterbacks who are going to lose blowouts.

The tricky part involves Quadrant 2 and 3. The math guys in particular have a problem falling in love with quarterbacks who compile a lot of yardage but screw things up with giveaways. And, that may be the biggest issue tricking the public. They see highlight reels celebrating Quadrant 2 quarterbacks, without also seeing all the interceptions. Even head coaches have trouble with Quadrant 2! They figure the kid will eventually figure out how to avoid mistakes. Many don't.

In quadrant three, you have some guys who "win" by handing the ball off and staying out of the way. That can actually work against defenses who can't stop the run. A "struggling" quarterback doesn't matter if other elements of your team can get the job done. But, he becomes a big problem against a defense that knows how to stop your other facets. Quadrant 3 can be a "take" quarterback in some circumstances, but a "fade" in others.

If you watched Purdue/Northwestern, you know that Purdue had to bench a Quadrant 2 starting quarterback after he threw his third interception of the night. But, the replacement could only safely set up punts for the most part. He was a Quadrant 3. Purdue's going to have trouble with top Big 10 contenders if they can't sneak one of those guys into Quadrant 1.

Your homework should be fairly obvious. Use that method to classify every quarterback you watch on TV this weekend. I assume you'll be watching a lot of games! In the games you don't watch, use box scores to try to classify as many as you can. Be aware that some quarterbacks can create illusions in their garbage games. Don't stick somebody into Quadrant 1 just because they won a blowout as a 35-point favorite over Nobody State. Use real tests vs. major conference opponents, or the best mid-majors.

Though, if you see a quarterback having a bad turnover game against a weak opponent, you can probably assume those issues will continue all season. You'll just need a larger sample size to figure out whether he goes in Q2 or Q4.

I'm very confident this way of thinking about college football quarterbacks is going to help you pick more winners this season. Its very nature points you in the direction of the best investments, and the best teams to bet against. It also forces you to re-think your process regarding turnover prone quarterbacks. Just weeding out 2-3 picks per week with those guys will greatly help your bottom line. 

If you'd like more help with your bottom line, 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 office by calling office at 1-800-755-2255 during normal business hours. Be sure you ask about combination packages with Major League baseball when you call.

The Dean of Sports Handicapping knows how excited you are about the start of the new college football season. Labor Day Weekend is always a lot of fun because we have those extra games Sunday and Monday. You can make a lot of money with smart picks and the right money management. But, if you come in overconfident and too aggressive, you can also lose a lot of money that digs a big hole right out of the gate. Be smart and responsible this holiday weekend. I'll see you again midday Monday for new coursework here in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping.


How Sharps are Betting Marquee Matchups

From this point forward, Friday's will be reserved for our sharp reports for weekend NFL. This week, we look at marquee matchups in college football. Beginning next week, our Thursday report will cover Thursday Night football and the college blockbusters.

As always, I look at the games in official rotation order...


TEXAS AT MARYLAND: Earlier this summer, Texas opened up around -8 or -9. At lot has happened since then, particularly with Maryland's program in turmoil because of off-the-field occurrences. Texas is up to -13.5 as I write this, with some stores testing -14. Sharps aren't currently laying the points with the Horns this high. Maryland gets dog lovers when +14 is in play. I can tell you that sharps do expect good things from Texas this year...and are looking to back them vs. USC in a couple of weeks.

BYU AT ARIZONA: A lot of support for BYU as an underdog earlier this week. A distant opener of Arizona -15 had come down to -14. Suddenly it was -12 or -11.5. You're hearing a lot about Arizona's talented quarterback. Justifiably. Sharps believe there was too much hype about the team in general coming into this game. Wise Guys are on BYU at anything over +12. Some kept betting on that number.

UNLV AT USC: This isn't a blockbuster. But, I'm including this game because it's an attraction in Las Vegas. USC has a very strong following in this city. And, the town WANTS to bet UNLV if the Rebels could ever get good. Here, an opener of USC -28 was bet down to -26.5 or -26. You'd expect the flow to go the other way given how the public, and USC fans, loving laying chalk. So, important early "market" respect for UNLV.

CINCINNATI AT UCLA: Some skepticism from sharps about UCLA this season. An opener of UCLA -15.5 is down to -14.5. I would expect to see some public money on the Bruins if -14 comes into play. We'll see. Squares (the public) may have lost enough in recent years on UCLA.

WASHINGTON VS. AUBURN (in Atlanta): This is the game everyone's waiting for. Nevada doesn't have a Pac 12 team...but it's definitely Pac 12 country in terms of betting interest. Is Washington good enough to reach the Final Four? Some stores have them as low as 4/1 to win the title, even though that's still behind the likes of Alabama and Clemson. An opener of Auburn -2.5 has been bet down to -2. This is a neutral field game...but Auburn is going to have a loud supporting crowd in Atlanta. Sharps AREN'T betting Auburn below the key number of three, which tells you something.

OLE MISS VS. TEXAS TECH (in Houston): Nice sleeper game that's been time changed to early in the day (morning in Las Vegas). Should be very high scoring with these offenses. Ole Miss opened at -1 long ago. Texas Tech has been laying -2.5 for several days now. That looks to be the ceiling. Sharps would POUND Ole Miss if +3 comes into play.

WEST VIRGINIA VS. TENNESSEE (in Charlotte): West Virginia is getting a lot of market and media respect this season, while everyone assumes Tennessee is in a rebuilding year. An opener of West Virginia -8 (already high on a neutral field) has been bet up to -9.5. Tennessee would draw dog lovers at +10. That might come into play if the public keeps hearing West Virginia is for real from TV announcers all morning.

NORTH CAROLINA AT CALIFORNIA: An opener of California -5 was bet up to -7. We're now seeing some stores test -7.5. You regulars know that's a big deal because seven is a key number. Even the full seven wasn't drawing UNC interest. Let's see if the hook will. Might be a tug-of-war between Cal -7 and UNC +7.5. Or, maybe there's still no interest in the mediocre ACC dog travelling cross-country.

MICHIGAN AT NOTRE DAME: Michigan opened -1 because many oddsmakers in Las Vegas think Jim Harbaugh is a god. You'll recall they overrated the Wolverines last year. The game flipped to Notre Dame being the favorite in short order. But, Michigan money has come in to center the game around pick-em or ND -1. That's still a lot of respect for Harbaugh because the public usually bets the Irish at cheap prices in South Bend. Really looking forward to seeing how both teams perform here.

LOUISVILLE AT ALABAMA: It's not expected to be a great game because Louisville lost so much key talent. An opener of Alabama -25.5 has been bet down to -24.5 or -24. Dog lovers got in over the "slightly" key number of 24. Will the public play the Tide Saturday, or leave this game alone to watch others?


MIAMI VS. LSU (in Arlington): Miami is up from -3 to -3.5. That's a big half point of course because it rose off the most common landing point in football. And, this is a neutral field game. So, sharp respect and public interest in the Hurricanes. Plus, many thing LSU is going to be in trouble this season. Some offshore sites had Ed Orgeron as most likely to be fired first, until the off-field headlines hit Maryland and Ohio State. Sharps LOVE Miami at -3. But, the line hasn't yet risen to -4.


VIRGINIA TECH AT FLORIDA STATE: Sharps apparently love Florida State! An early opener of FSU -5.5 is all the way up to -7.5 at many spots. Though, Virginia Tech money does come in above the key number. This could be another tug-of-war game, with the line hopping between FSU -7 and Virginia Tech +7.5 from now through Monday. Sharps have told me they believe the return of FSU's injured quarterback is going to provide a big boost. Some of the quants have FSU within a field goal of Clemson at the top of the ACC. Those two will play in Tallahassee during the regular season.