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September 2012

Football picksSeptember 5, 2012

Georgia heads to Columbia to face off against a good Missouri team in week two. The Missouri Tigers will kick off their SEC tenure with an East matchup against a Georgia team that many people expect to win that division. So what can we expect in this game? Can we expect the Dawgs to roll over the Tigers in a night game on the road. The book makers have this one pegged with Georgia as a 2.5 point favorite. Those backing the Bulldogs might want to be careful, though, as this is the kind of spot where Missouri might just rise up.

What do we know about the Missouri Tigers? First, we know that the Tigers return a good quarterback and a lot of weapons on the outside. James Franklin is the QB and he represents a run-pass threat. A strong runner who often breaks tackles, Franklin can be one of the most frustrating men in the country to bring down. Even though the Tigers lost running back Henry Josey, they have plenty of guys to tote the mail in 2012. This is a very explosive offense with a good tight end and a reliable receiver in T.J. Moe.

Georgia returns its quarterback in Aaron Murray. The Bulldogs will have to replace their running game, but they have a lot of talent there, too. Georgia has some good, fast receivers and a defense that was underrated one season ago. They have been under the radar for a good chunk of the offseason, but Georgia is going to be a tough team to take down in 2012. Can they go into Missouri and win a tough game? That might be too much to ask.

Most SEC fans do not understand what they are getting into with Missouri and Texas A&M. Missouri has a nice atmosphere and the fans can get rowdy. The Tigers play good football at home, where they feed off of the energy of the crowd. This team ended its 2011 season by smacking down North Carolina in a bowl game. You should expect Missouri to carry that momentum into this game, pulling a relatively mild upset that people will make way too big a deal out of. Missouri is good and they will show that in this game. Georgia will have a good season, but they will drop this game.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat ”



Football picksSeptember 4, 2012

The AFC is always a competitive conference. With teams like the Texans, Ravens, Steelers, and Patriots at the top of the heap, the league is full of good contenders. So who will win the AFC in 2012? Who will represent the conference in the Superbowl? That is a good question and it is one that demands a long, hard look. There are many teams that could potentially come out on top. This year, it is going to be the surprising bunch in Houston. The Texans have what it takes to win the AFC in impressive fashion.

It starts with quarterback play

The Texans used to be an air show. Matt Schaub came over from Atlanta and put up impressive numbers in his first couple seasons with the team. Though Schaub probably is not the focus anymore, he is a good enough quarterback to lead the team to the AFC title. Schaub was injured a year ago, but he appears fully health in advance of this campaign. He will make enough plays down field to help the Texans overcome the rest of the conference in the march toward the big game.

Offensive balance matters

Many Superbowl participants get there because they have good balance on offense. This is certainly true for the Texans. They have arguably the best running game in the NFL. With Arian Foster leading the way, the Texans have the ability to pound people on the ground in the second half. They also have a serviceable backup in Ben Tate to carry the load when Foster gets tired. This makes for a formidable and balanced attack. With Andre Johnson still an elite threat on the outside and the Foster/Tate duo running behind a good offensive line, the Texans get it done on offense.

Their division makes it simple

The Steelers will have strong competition in their own division. The same is true for the Broncos and the Patriots. For the Texans, though, the path to the playoffs is a little bit easier. The Texans just have to beat out the Titans, Colts, and Jaguars in order to claim one of the top four seeds. The Colts show promise but they are breaking in a new quarterback. The Jaguars don’t have the QB play to make it to the playoffs. The Titans are intriguing, but they look like a slightly less effective version of Houston. This is a primary reason why the Texans will run all the way to the Superbowl in 2013.

The AFC is full of good teams. Could the Patriots repeat as AFC Champs? They certainly could. Would anyone be surprised if the Ravens made it all the way? How about Peyton Manning’s team in Denver? These are all very good choices. The Texans, though, are uniquely positioned to make a run to the big game. With solid QB play, a great running game, and an emerging defense, Houston is the cream of the conference’s crop.

Posted by Wunderdog’s trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Sports picksSeptember 4, 2012

If you hang around sports handicapping long enough, you will know that some guys just win. Some guys know how to pick games and they have their money sports. But what makes a sports handicapper good? What are the qualities that will take a sports handicapper from the land of complacency to the land of big profits? There are a few different things that a good sports handicapper will consistently do. For one, he will bet without emotion. He will also have good bankroll management skills. On top of that, he will understand the market in addition to the teams.

Betting without emotion

The best sports handicappers are those guys who can make their picks without letting emotion poison the well. These guys look at games with the kind of cold calculation that many bettors admire. They do not get tied to teams or ideas. They do not have league bias. They simply scan the board for good opportunities. If you want to be a good handicapper, you have to look for these sorts of opportunities. You have to be willing to leave emotion at the door. This means more than just not betting on your team. It also means not getting attached to teams that have won a lot for you.

Bankroll management skills are a must

One of the biggest challenges in sports handicapping is not just knowing which games to pick. It is also in knowing how much to put on each game. Many people struggle with this on a weekly basis. They put ten percent of their bankroll on one game. They think that they can continue to bet large amounts without going broke. The good handicapper will recognize that he is going to lose occasionally. This is why he rations his picks accordingly in order to get the maximum return on his investment.

Understanding the market is key

A good handicapper will understand a lot more than just the teams, players, and venues. He will also understand how different bettors perceive teams. This is important if you are going to ultimately get good value on a certain game. You have to understand that the market overrates or underrates certain teams. You also have to understand that the betting market overreacts to things that have happened recently. They tend to forget the past. This is a huge problem for the average bettor. The good handicapper, though, understands the fluidity of the market.

The good sports handicapper can do many things. He keeps his mind open and he leaves his heart at the door. He understands stats but he also uses his instincts. He knows when to make plays and how much to put on each one. He has patience and he does not overreact when he takes a loss. He also has a keen eye for value. If you are going to one day join the ranks of the very best handicappers, you will have to have at least some of these traits.

Posted by Wunderdog’s Trusty sidekick ” Wundercat “


Sports picksSeptember 1, 2012


Half-Time Betting

NFL preseason picks

  • How to bet at halftime in the NFL
  • The importance of line movement
  • Who is right for halftime bets?
Football picks

You spent the last two hours handicapping a football game that is now approaching kick-off. Your efforts tell you that the Green Bay Packers should win the contest by at least three points. At the time you started picking apart this Monday night game, stat by stat and injury by injury, your sportsbooks were offering a tasty -3 +105, BUT the line moved against you while you were checking your almanac. Your bookmaker is now asking you to give up -3.5 points at -110 for a play on the cheese heads. If you don’t have access to a bookie who is still hanging the -3, you are either forced to pass on the event or go for it, risking more than you know you should. Many of us are action junkies and would lay the extra half point, although betting in this manner will eventually eat away at our bank roll.

Handicapping an event and forming an opinion is only part of the battle. Every profitable gambler and bookmaker knows that line shopping, and more specifically, line movement is the key to a player’s success. Following the path of changing odds offers an enormous advantage over the long haul. A NFL bettor may follow football lines all week in order to gauge the right time to strike as betting lines gradually move in and out of his favor.

We have all pushed on a play where we would have won had we put more effort into getting that half point.

For most gamblers, sitting in front of online betting screens all day is not a realistic option; although many of us will not hit the magic winning percentage of 53% without at least tracking the quick moving odds right before the game. If you are on the verge of understanding the importance of paying less and obtaining the better line, but do not plan on wagering for a living, the half time bet may be a valuable option for you.

Following Line Movement
Halftime odds offer you the ability to get a fresh line and follow it until it comes off the board. Without going into another article about line movement, watching a normal line through its lifespan is something that can take anywhere from half of the day to a week. A 2nd half bettor watching multiple books is able to get a great feel on which way the line is headed and pounce on the offering that suits his play. He may use the same techniques in a span of only 5 minutes.

Soft Lines
A soft line is one that deviates from the consensus. Bookmakers only have a short span of time to take in action, and on occasion will stray from the pack in order to take the bets it desires. Other bookies will consistently be the last one to move their numbers which offers value when it has changed against you at most other sportsbooks.

In the course of setting full game odds, bookmakers will frequently peek at what one another are offering. Many will base their odds on what their neighbor is doing and go from there.

During halftime there is little opportunity for them to consult with others. Out of five sportsbooks at least one book’s opinion will likely drastically differ from the rest. This line will adjust quickly as people bet into it, but this initial soft line offers the occasional shot at an extra two points you may not see offered again during the intermission.

The Half-Time Line Advantage
Hypothetically, let us say you wanted to play the over on a NBA total that was set at 190. You were able to follow the line movement and earn a valuable 3 points towards your bet. From time to time, these big line moves do happen, and they also happen to 2nd half odds. Even though you are wagering on half of the event, that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get half of the line movement. Getting 3 points from that 190 is a great find, but getting 3 points on the 2nd half over/under total of 95 provides an even better advantage. It is a larger percentage of the line you are trying to beat. Think of this advantage as a head start in a race. A 20-foot head start would be much more effective in a sprint than in a marathon.

A Level Playing Field
I have heard gamblers say that they do not like this quick betting style because it does not offer adequate time to crunch numbers and trends. My response is that bookies have already utilized much of the information you are weighing into your normal capping.

At a game’s intermission, the player may gain the knowledge edge. Linesmen are often forced to offer odds on many mid-game events at the same time. It would be impossible for them to follow every individual game as closely as the one you are watching, and a week’s worth of inside information no longer comes into play. This line is largely based on what happened in the first 24 minutes.

Your Best Bet
The fast pace of halftime wagering is not for everyone. If you don’t enjoy getting numbers dumped on you all at once in order to get more for your buck then you may want to spend the 2nd half on the bench. If you want the ability to follow the life of a line, take advantage of more unique or soft numbers, apply your effort to a smaller contest and know as much as or more than your bookmaker, then the 2nd half may be your best bet!


By: Bill Dozer, SBR Analyst.© 2004 All rights reserved. Bill Dozer: SBR Writer, Analyst, and Sportsbook player. Mr. Dozer warns other players of scams and provides advice in dealing with offshore sportsbooks. For more information visit Sportsbook Review.



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