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Patience is a Virtue

   by Al McMordie - 10/18/2004

Patience is a Virtue

by Big Al McMordie

Patience. It’s important to not panic when wagering on sports for a variety of reasons. Patience and a calm, analytical demeanor helps you identify winning teams and situations, which improves your chances of getting the money at the betting window. Patience also helps you see teams and seasons clearly, because things are not always as they seem.

Some teams are not as good as they appear. This is most evident when it comes to teams that are overvalued or undervalued against the Las Vegas line. The 2003 Chicago Bears began the season 0-3 with a miserable 49-7 loss at San Francisco in the opener. They were christened the worst team in football by many observers. However, the defense began to come around and coach Dick Jauron slowly ebbed away from inconsistent QB Kordell Stewart. The Bears went 8-3 against the spread (ATS) the next 11 games, including straight up (SU) wins as +3, +4 and +10 dogs! Incredibly, they even had a shot at the playoffs late in the season. That team was 6-2 SU and ATS at home. A handicapper with an astute eye can pick out teams that are better than what the media and public perceive. Here are a couple of other NFL teams that were not what they first appeared:

2003 Bills: After a 2-0 SU and ATS start, Buffalo morphed into a miserable offensive team and went 4-10 SU and 4-8-2 ATS.

2003 Patriots: They were thumped by those same Bills 31-0 in the opener. After that, an incredible 17-1 SU, 14-3-1 ATS run on the way to winning the Super Bowl. And that run has carried right on into this season, too.

2003 Eagles: After an 0-2 SU and ATS start, Philly caught fire and finished 13-3 SU and 11-5 ATS.

This was also evident this past Saturday in the USC/Arizona State game. USC has played poorly with many wondering if this team deserves its No. 1 ranking. A 5-0 SU & ATS start by Arizona State helped the Sun Devils gain respect before the game. Arizona State was a +11 dog, when they were flattened 37-17 at home by the Trojans the year before. Arizona State was not quite as strong as they appeared, while USC really was better than they had yet played, which was evident in the 45-7 USC rout.

Another example was Virginia. The Cavaliers had faced weak defenses before their game in Tallahassee on Saturday. The not-ready-for-prime-time Cavaliers were completely dominated by the Seminoles' superior defense. Finally, my #1 play last Saturday was on Mississippi, who started the year with 5 consecutive ATS losses. But they have started to turn things around, and caught an overrated Tennessee team off its upset win over Georgia. Mississippi lost only by 4 points as a 10-point underdog. Again, appearances can be deceptive. Patience and an astute eye for details and the big picture helps handicappers turn incorrect perceptions into profits. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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