Handicapping the Super Bowl
You may be thinking that KELSO STURGEON couldn't possibly have anything new and interesting to say about this Sunday's Super Bowl matching the AFC Champion New England Patriots and the NFC Champion Los Angeles Rams. You've been watching much of the analysis on TV. Even if you kept the TV off your buddies have been talking about the game.
Nobody can escape pre-Super Bowl hype!
It's even worse in Las Vegas. More TV and radio networks are sending pundits here for the big game because sports betting has become more accepted across the country. Any legitimate information source will have reporters in Atlanta for the big game...and in Las Vegas to cover what's happening at sports books.
I can tell you what's happening at sports books, too many bettors are about to lose their butts! Even if they're right about their team side pick...they're going to erase those winnings with poorly advised bets on team or player props. Everything thinks they're a football expert. Did you ever notice how few actual football experts make money betting?! How many team executives retire to Vegas to casually rake in more dough with their bets?
It doesn't happen because markets are hard to beat. Vigorish, in the form of the classic 11/10 on regular bets or money line charges on props, is a much bigger hurdle than the average Joe realizes. Las Vegas just had it's biggest year ever taking sports bets because gamblers aren't as smart as they think they are about football (or basketball, or baseball, etc..), and are even dumber at math.
If you've already made a lot of bets, there's not much I can tell you today here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping that will change your mind. If you've waited until the final weekend to take the rubber band off your roll, here are a few tips to consider from a man who's been betting and winning Super Bowls since before you were born.
*I always lead with a discussion of PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS. You regulars don't need to hear the whole spiel. But, it would serve you well to review your notes for both the Patriots and Rams in this regard. These teams are relatively evenly matched...which means the "tie-breaker" might come down to the fourth or fifth PLAYMAKER on the offensive roster...or a defensive playmaker that snatches a turnover at a key time.
*The Over/Under is tricky because this game could go in either direction. If both head coaches start out conservatively we could see a lot of "running the clock" and settling for field goals through the first three quarters. You probably remember that Rams/Saints stayed Under even with overtime, while Patriots/Chiefs was way Under through three quarters until a wild explosion once both teams hit the gas pedal. "Conservative" lands in the 40's. "Track meet" football could match last year's 74-point Patriots/Eagles explosion. Don't make a bet unless you're convinced you have a clean read.
*Props are a poison for most bettors. Yes, pro's like me do have an ability to cherry-pick the best value options when they first go up, or to come back in the final hour before kickoff if public money has pushed a number too far the wrong way. Casual bettors make the mistake of just "re-betting" their team side. If they like the Patriots, they also bet Brady to have a big day, receivers to have a big day, team totals to go over in the first half and second half...and so on. Instead of having one responsibly sized bet (in bankroll terms) on their preferred side, they now have several. Going 0-1 stinks, but going 1-4 or 2-7 is even worse.
My advice is to focus specifically on the vulnerability of the NUMBER you're seeing. How often has the player reached that number in prior outings vs. playoff caliber teams. Is there something specific you've heard about planned strategy that will place more of an emphasis (or less of an emphasis) on that player? Don't re-bet your team side pick over and over again. Try to find mistakes oddsmakers have made. Let the game take care of itself.
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 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.
There's a good chance that Monday's class time will be a recap of the Super Bowl from a sports betting perspective. If the game turns out to be a dud, or completely unsurprising, we'll go back to basketball. Certainly from next Friday on through late March we'll be focused only on the hardwood.
I'm already looking forward to March Madness. We have several national elites who are as good as typical #1 seeds. We might as well have eight #1's this year and no #2's. That's going to make for an exciting stretch run and postseason.
In betting terms, several team tendencies are going unnoticed deep into the season. I'm very surprised at the number of programs that have carried great records against the spread into February. I've also noticed at least five teams that the computers have overrated by about 30-40 spots on the ladder (meaning a team they have around #15 to #20 is really more like #45 to #60).
Plenty to talk about in the days and weeks ahead! The Dean of Sports Handicapping greatly appreciates your time and attendance. I'll see you again midday Monday.