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Betting Trends

   by Bryan Leonard - 10/25/2005

I like matchups and situational handicapping. This includes such things as

strengths against weaknesses, bad lines, homecoming and revenge spots. I’m

not big into betting trends. Trends can be dangerous. Some novice sports

bettors think, “This team has lost 3 straight against the number, they’re

more likely to cover this game.â€쳌 Well, you had better have more reasons on

your side to back a team than just something like that.

For instance, Rice is well coached under Ken Hatfield, a guy who knows how

to teach and gets the most out of what he has. The last few years Hatfield

has recognized that he doesn’t have the skill position speed to institute

the spread offense, so Rice employs an option-oriented running offense. The

Owls started this season 0-3 SU/ATS, getting smoked on the road by UCLA,

Texas and UAB. Anyone thinking they were “dueâ€쳌 for a cover lost their money

in Game 4 as Rice lost 41-28 at East Carolina as a +5 dog.

Then Rice came home to play Tulsa – it’s FIRST home game of the season.

That’s a fairly brutal schedule. I’m sure there were people jumping on the

“due factorâ€쳌 trend bandwagon for Rice in that game. Well, they, too, lost

their money as Rice was smoked 41-21 as a +6 home dog. The Owls were again

spanked Saturday at home against Navy. I’m not suggesting

Rice will run the table, losing every game and failing to cover. Chances are

they will get a win and cover before the season ends.

But that’s the catch for trend bettors: WHEN will this happen? It’s

impossible to say based solely on the overdue trend factor. Texas is another

team that is currently running the table. Not only straight up, but against

the spread AND even with their totals. Texas has won and covered every game,

and even gone “overâ€쳌 the total in all seven games. But you can’t look at that

alone and figure the Longhorns will continue to cover and go “overâ€쳌 every

game the rest of the season. Nor can you play the due factor and assume they

are more likely to not cover or go under the total, simply because it hasn’t

happened yet.

Successful sports handicapping encompasses so many factors. I would urge

everyone to incorporate as much as possible when analyzing games. If you

like trends, well, sure trends can offer some value, such as if one team

seems to consistently win and cover over a conference rival every year, such

as Oklahoma had done to Texas the last five years. Of course, that run came

to an end a few weeks ago when a superior Texas team dominated a rebuilding

Sooners squad. It’s much smarter to look at as many factors as possible,

such as home field, weather, playing surface, coaching, strength versus

weaknesses and revenge spots. Winning ATS is about sifting through all the

pieces and finding several edges in a game, not just one angle.

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