We've reached the point in the season where many college and pro football teams start to give up the fight because their quarterbacks are so bad. We saw that to a degree with the Arizona Cardinals Thursday night. Josh Rosen threw an early touchdown pass to the wrong team...and then ANOTHER one...and his teammates went into the tank.
Buffalo has done that a few times with Nathan Peterman, who can't stop throwing interceptions. He's back in the picture after Josh Allen suffered an elbow injury in Houston last week. You could argue that the Jacksonville defense threw in the towel in the second half in Dallas last Sunday because they were sick of trying to overcome the struggles of Blake Bortles.
Smart handicappers will look for these kinds of situations in advance, and try to position themselves for easy point spread covers when they arrive on the schedule.
It's trickier in college football. Sometimes a quarterback finally gets benched, and his backup is a big improvement! College coaches can be stubborn about sticking with experienced mediocrities rather than "gambling" on more talented but younger players. Notre Dame's Brian Kelly kept insisting on Brandon Wimbush at QB until the team revolted. Going with the better throwing Ian Book put Notre Dame in position to make a run at the Final Four.
Your homework this weekend in both college and pro football...
*Make a list of teams who have poor straight up records
*Make a different list of teams who have poor ATS records
*Isolate the teams where poor QB play is the MAIN reason for either
*Evaluate the caliber of defense they'll be facing this week
I think we'll see more instances like the Josh Rosen scenario this weekend, and through the next few weeks. Heck, it might happen down the road to Denver! The Broncos were ready to give up on Case Keenum after a disappointing start to the season. If they had been facing a good opponent this past Thursday rather than a bad one, we might have seen an orange implosion.
Those implosions are most likely to happen when a discouraged team with a poor quarterback is facing a good opponent. That's when everything just blows up. You want to cash tickets by taking advantage of a reality that we see every season.
Defenses get tired of carrying bad offenses on their shoulders. And, even many offensive players get discouraged once a season goes south. College football is past the halfway point, which means many seasons have already started falling the wrong way. Others may soon follow for teams that bullied cupcakes in September but are getting their wake-up call in league play. Sure, some of those backups will be improvements. Most will be inexperienced and mistake-prone when they first take the field.
In the NFL, the pressure is really on mediocre (and worse) quarterbacks THIS season because the good ones are putting up such big numbers! Think about how bad guys like Bortles or Marcos Mariota look when a kid like Patrick Mahomes comes in and starts setting records right away. The best offenses are making runs at 30-40 points each week.
Eli Manning is a veteran who may be approaching the finish line with a limp. At least he gets to face a bad defense in Atlanta this week. Will that just delay an eventual revolt from the rest of the G-men? How many other teams are ready to revolt. Make a list, and add to it or subtract from it as developments warrant.
All of this plays into THE MOTIVATION FACTOR that I'm always emphasizing to students here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. You have very little chance to cover point spreads if the teams you're backing don't care any more. It doesn't matter if trends or stats say that there's value on the board. Those teams are gone and you're not getting them back until a better quarterback is on the field. It doesn't matter what trends say if those trends were compiled during better times. It doesn't matter if a defense had good stats in December before losing their spirit later.
Important to remember that you can find 100-unit or 200-unit type plays whenever a fired up team loaded with PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS runs into a towel tosser. Imagine if New Orleans or Kansas City was visiting Arizona rather than Denver. The game might have ended 62-10! I'm not going to get specific...but I believe treasure hunters will find this kind of scenario on Saturday's college schedule if they dig in the right places.
If you don't like getting your hands dirty, 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. Remember to check on combination packages that also include the rest of the baseball playoffs and all basketball.
The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your attendance and hard work. Our next class get-together will be Monday to discuss the 2018 World Series. I probably won't dig much into the NBA until after the football season winds down. When college hoops starts, I'll have at least one brief tutorial on early season handicapping because the lines are always so soft in that sport out of the gate.
Have a great weekend. I'm confident you'll find some great bets!