The Motivation Factor
Kelso's Advanced Handicapping: The Motivation Factor
The last time we were together I talked about how "the motivation factor" becomes so important once conference play begins in college football. Now that we're about a month into the college and pro seasons, I want to devote an entire day's coursework to this very important concept.
You often hear people in the media say that motivation should NEVER be a factor in football. College kids only play 12 games a year, so they should be fired up every time. NFL teams consistent of professions, and it's their JOB to show up with peak intensity.
Well, I handicap in the real world. If you've ever bet on a team only to watch them come out as flat as a pancake, you know that motivation matters (this happened to me early in my career by I've large learned how to dodge that bullet). If you've ever watched a revenge-minded football power take no prisoners in a blowout, you know that motivation matters (this is a key that's helped me to many a major release winner).
I could probably write a month's worth of articles about this topic alone. Let me briefly outline the common red flags that signal peak or valley performances in college and pro football.
RED FLAGS FOR FLAT PERFORMANCES
The team is coming off an emotional, physical game that went down to the wire
The team is looking ahead to what promises to be an emotional, physical game against a rival
The team is playing at a bad time on the body clock
The team has lost faith in their starting quarterback
The team has lost faith in their head coach
The team just suffered some bad injury news about a key contributor or popular teammate
A pro team with a losing record isn't enthused about having to play on a holiday
A team with a losing record in the second half of the season is playing on the road
This stuff generally doesn't happen in September (except for the bad body clock games), which is why I've waited until now to bring it up. We're starting to see some teams getting discouraged at both the college and pro level...and we're starting to run into some very important games on the schedule that could create letdown or look ahead spots. As a result, you should:
Start making a list of teams who have been big disappointments because of an underachieving or mistake-prone quarterback.
Keep an early eye out for college teams who are just one or two losses away from throwing in the towel on the season. This is more common in November. But, there are usually a few teams who even now see the writing on the wall and realize it's going to be a downer season.
Monitor the schedules very closely for letdown and lookahead possibilities. Check your favorite newspaper for that big page that lists everybody's schedule for the full season, or print some out from the internet...and go through RIGHT NOW circling games that are most likely to get the juices flowing at 100%. Games immediately before or immediately after the games you've circled will be ripe for flat efforts.
RED FLAGS FOR PEAK PERFORMANCES
Revenge, particularly when it's the superior team that lost the last meeting
Bounce backs off an embarrassing loss...the stronger the team...the bigger the fury
Rivalry games, where underdogs often thrive because BOTH teams are motivated
Teams who have just gotten healthy after battling injuries
Teams who have just made a quarterback change that's working out well
Teams who are coming off a bye week (midseason or later)
Motivation is very tough to quantify...but that's what makes it so difficult for oddsmakers to account for. It can often be worth at least a touchdown...and sometimes two or three touchdowns. In a field where every half point or full point is supposed to matter, Advanced Handicappers who bear down hard on evaluating the motivation factor can find monster edges they can drive a truck through.
You'll often hear that I'm advertising a game where the team has a 100% chance to win outright, and a 90% chance to cover. It's my understanding of the motivation factor that allows me to make claims like that and have them hold up. If you're only looking at the indicators for peak and valley performances in football, you will do well as a handicapper. When you combine that with an understanding of the impact that PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS have, then the sky's the limit. The Vegas board is literally at your mercy.
I can assure you that I'll be proving that to you time and time again over the rest of the football season. I have very affordable rates for the rest of the year. You can try things out on a day-by-day basis with your major credit card if you want to test the waters. What you read today should motivate YOU to get serious about doing your handicapping homework each and every week. Vegas oddsmakers can't possibly properly account for all the intangibles that are in play. That's the essence of why Advanced Handicapping works so well.
I'll be back with you on Friday for our next class here in my College of Advanced Handicapping. I promised you back during the summer that I'd have one more baseball report to get you ready for the playoffs and the World Series. That will run Friday just as the MLB postseason gets underway. I had a historic season in the bases this year...and the month of October is truly going to be something special because we'll be winning in both sports.
Thanks again for all of your hard work. I look forward to seeing you again on Friday.
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