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For Bettors With 50-Unit Play This Thursday Night
Syracuse Heads My Top 25 College Rankings For 6th
Straight Week After Scoring 10th Straight Road Win
The college basketball season has reached the point where the betting lines are tighter than a dead-heat and the handicapping picture becomes more blurred by the day as the incentive element moves front and center. 'Incentive' can be an important factor in winning, but it is a two-edged sword.
One can work one's way through a 60-game schedule and find several teams that are incentive driven--needing to keep winning to capture conference championships, get a better seed in the conference tournaments and to get to the Big Dance--but it is a process of caution.
Long ago, handicappers learned teams that 'have' to win do not 'have' to do any such thing--and in fact can choke on the process and take down legions of bettors with them. Just remember that each day as you find those teams that just need to win this particular game to advance their season.
After decades of handicapping, there are several points I address when I run into one of these 'must win' teams.
- O.K., the team must win for any variety of reasons, but that aside, can it cover the number? Handicappers and bettors tend to wear blinkers when looking at these teams and focus too much on whether a team can win, forgetting it is the cover that counts.
- College basketball teams obviously need talent to win but when the season reaches showdown time, they also need a coach. There are many fools and air-heads on the sidelines of the 345 NCAA Division I teams and if I am going to wager on a 'must win' team, I must have a coach who I know--without any doubts--can pull it off.
- How does the 'must win' team arrive at this game? Has it been playing its guts out in a series of these games. Teams are made up of human beings and creatures of flesh and blood get tired, run out of gas, and because they simply can't keep going, quit. I will never bet on a team that has had to keep its hopes alive by winning even two or three of its previous games.
- Is the team playing its best basketball right now? Not only do I want a team that is not worn out, I want a team that is playing outstanding basketball. I learned long ago that at the end of the season some teams had peaked much earlier and were on the downside of their form. I do not at crunch time bet on such teams.
- I will give far more consideration to a 'must win' team that is a road underdog than I will on a 'must win' team that is a home favorite. History says the road 'dog will pull out all the stops to keep it close and hope to win it late. A home favorite might open up a lead, sit on it and coast home and blow the cover.
There are many things that go into handicapping at this point of the season and the best advice I can give anyone is to wake up and pay attention. Do not do any handicapper by habit but work overtime, dig deep, find the subjective factors that might give you the edge.
Nobody ever said this game was easy.
The Winning And Losing
I had a very decent week in both college and NBA basketball and showed a profit with all my services. I won my first 100-unit play of the week as West Virginia (-7.5) crushed Providence, 88-74, as my College Blowout Game of the Month, and then lost my second as South Carolina (+1.5) went cold in the last minutes of play and lost to Tennessee by eight, 63-55. Also in the big-game mix was a 50-Unit win with Indiana State over Bradley as my Missouri Valley Conference Game of the Year.
There will be more big-game plays this week, and they are scheduled like this:
Thursday night--50-Unit PAC-10 Blowout Game Of The Week.
Friday night--25-Unit NBA TV Parlay.
Saturday--50-Unit College Blowout Game Of The Week, another winning Saturday night 25-unit power play winner, and a 5-game TV bookie buster.
Sunday--75-Unit college basketball-NBA TV parlay.
Monday--25-Unit NBA Game of Week, plus 25-unit college TV play.
Lessons Of The Week
--Please stop telling me Dayton is an outstanding basketball team. The Flyers, who have done less with more than any college team this season, ate the apple again Sunday, losing at Duquesne, 73-71, as a 2.5-point favorite.
--How many chances are we going to give Michigan State before we simply admit the Spartans are an above-average team but are by no means the Final Four team they were advertised as early in the season. The Spartans lost at home Sunday, 74-67, to Ohio State, dropping to 21-7 for the season.
--It's time to admit Purdue is the best team in the Big Ten and are playing at such a level right now the Boilermakers have Final Four Written all over them. They are 23-3 and alone in first place in the conference.
--Duke (22-4) has the best and most productive front line in college basketball and because of it also should make the Final Four. In watching the Blue Devils play, one gets the impression the best is yet to come.
--When Syracuse won at Georgetown this past week, the Orange reinforced my opinion that they are the best college basketball team in the country and are for the sixth straight week atop my Top 25 standings.
--Kentucky's 58-56 win at Vanderbilt Saturday spoke volumes as to the ability of the only ranked team in the country that starts three freshmen. By the way, it is my opinion those three freshmen will get them beat in the Big Dance.
--Siena's embarrassing 70-53 bracket buster loss at Butler means the Saints will have to win the Metro Atlantic tournament to get to the NCAA. Sorry, but those are the facts.
Today’s Hot Plays
Jim Hurley Saratoga Service
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Network MNF IS Back - Giants at Browns
I’ve looked at this game from every angle and am sure we’ll be on the winning side, just like I’ve been on Monday nights over 65% of the time the past 5 years. Watch and Win with me tonight.