Handicapping the Elite 8
Kelso's Advanced Sports Betting: Handicapping the Elite 8
I'm pleased that my clients and I picked up 100 more units of profit Thursday on the opening night of Sweet 16 action. We had 50 unit winners on Oklahoma and Oregon, who both coasted to easy covers. It was very clear from the outset that neither of the opposing underdog defenses had answers for the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS on the favored offenses. This why that's such an important handicapping point for us here in my Advanced College of Sports Betting and Handicapping!
Of course, the Duke and A&M defenses aren't around to bully any more...so picking winners in the Elite 8 might not be so simple.
Not every game has gone our way during the college postseason. But, we are up a few hundred units of profit thanks to a run better than 65% in the tourneys. I'll do my level best to maintain that pace for clients until champions are cutting down the nets.
For you do-it-yourselfers, what are the most important keys to handicapping this weekend's Elite 8 round? Obviously all the fundamentals that we've discussed this season still apply. I'm not going to waste time and space by repeating all of those. What's "different" about the Elite 8 round involves the following...
Teams, and in particular the PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS, will be playing their second game in three days at a very intense pace. It's very hard to maintain peak intensity for THAT long when you're an important part of an important team. Handicappers must try to evaluate which teams are best suited to handle this challenge. Duke, of course, would have been a poor choice because they have no depth! Who has more meaningful depth between Oregon and Oklahoma? What about Kansas and Villanova? Be ready to ask those questions about Friday night's winners too. The ability to play great TWICE in three days against top competition is a bit different than playing great once for 40 minutes.
You really saw Kentucky start to feel the pressure last year in the Elite 8 round. That's when they almost lost to Notre Dame as a big favorite. We know Kansas has a history of fizzling under pressure under this head coach (though this particular set of athletes has been meeting all of its recent challenges). Is Oregon ready to stare destiny in the face and make it blink? Some of the biggest historic Elite 8 upsets involve underdogs who are playing loose and easy without pressure facing favorites who start to break down mentally because they're "supposed" to take care of business on the way to the Final Four.
This particular angle is something that's very hard to see in the stats. You have to be able to anticipate it based on your knowledge of the players, head coaches, and the particular dynamics of that season. Keep an eye out Friday night for late-game nerves. All of Thursday's winners coasted so easily that they didn't even have to face pressure. I think somebody this weekend is going to GAG. Can you figure out in advance who that's going to be?
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Often, when the best teams are playing each other, one particular weakness on one team becomes the tie-breaker that allows the opponent to advance. Maybe that's having too soft a defense inside the paint. Maybe that's being over-reliant on fickle three-point shooting. Maybe that's a tendency to turn the ball over when trying to be aggressive. Be sure you know what each team's true strengths and weaknesses are (not what you hear from the media, but their ACTUAL strengths and weaknesses). Don't bet on teams that are likely to get taken down by a weakness their opponent can exploit.
Folks...this is real handicapping! Basketball games are won and lost because of physical skill sets and mental preparedness. If you attended these discussions hoping for trends and angles that allow you to pick winners with minimal effort, you're in the wrong place. That's a fantasy that losing bettors believe in. Winning is hard work. The Dean of Sports handicapping greatly appreciates that so many of you regular students have shown the willingness to do the hard work it takes to be a winner.
For those who don't have the time to properly handicap the Las Vegas betting sports, KELSO STURGEON'S BEST BETS can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. Questions about extended service and combination packages can be answered in the office during normal business hours at 1-800-755-2255. If you can't call until Saturday, try to take care of business in the morning.
See you again early next week to talk about handicapping the NIT Final Four. We have some very interesting teams heading to Madison Square Garden. Valparaiso and San Diego State surely feel they should have been in the Big Dance (as computer ratings and market pricing would confirm). George Washington and BYU have risen to the occasion in a way that has impressed as well. Plenty of college basketball left as we prepare to close out the month of March.
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