College Cram Session: Slump-bustin

Nov 14, 2008 |
College Cram Session: Slump-bustin

Is anyone else in a slump? If not, will you show me the way out of this hellhole?

“Slumps are bad, bad news,” betting analyst Frank Doyle said in an email. “They're like a car spinning on ice, you know? What you instinctively do to correct the spin may actually make it worse.

“You start second-guessing,” Doyle added. “What was once good evidence to make a decision is suddenly stuff you're no longer sure of. You don't know up from down.”

I know the feeling.

Very few games are jumping off the board at me these days. When they do, I tend to ignore the logical information for fear of the vaunted “trap” game.

It’s exactly the kind of thinking that extends slumps instead of ending them.
Alden Cass, a performance enhancement coach and clinical psychologist, works with high-profile CEO’s and financial advisors. In an article on TheStreet.com, Cass wrote “It's the Law of Averages: Slumps are a normal part of a fluctuating cycle for athletes and investors throughout a full season.

“Don't get bogged down in episodic slumps. Let it all come down to the end of the season to measure your overall performance. Then you can go back and micromanage your winners and losers.

“After all, cold streaks are just a part of the game.”

That’s extremely sound advice. Slumps happen. You cannot prevent them. But you can stop them from lingering.

Surely, I’m not the only one that has considered playing the exact opposite of what you think is going to happen. Or maybe you decide to only play underdogs after a couple tough losses with favorites.

Those are horrific habits of someone in a slump. When these negatives creep into your thought process, you’re allowing the fear of losing to clutter your thinking. 
It may be time for a break. Another slump-busting trick I’ve used is to trim the overall slate down to a handful of games.  Look at only the SEC, for example. Or try handicapping five games involving teams you haven’t bet on this year.

Don’t let fear win.

I feel like Yoda trying to warn Luke of the Dark Side.

SMART MONEY

November is always a difficult time of year to bet college football.
Oddsmakers are locked in on the public perception. They’re throwing out confusing lines that are easy to misinterpret.

As of late Thursday, very few of this week’s games had moved significantly off their opening pointspreads.

South Carolina and Duke were the only underdogs that are seeing much action. The Gamecocks opened as a 23-point underdog. The number dropped immediately to around 21.5, but has since risen back toward the original number.

The Blue Devils opened as 12.5-point dogs at Clemson, but as of late Thursday, the line was nearing 10.

I like being on the side of quick line moves, especially when it’s toward the underdog.

This, to me, represents smart money dropping large amounts and forcing the books to act immediately and drastically. In contrast, I believe the public is responsible for lines that move slowly throughout the week, especially toward favorites.

NOTES
•The three coaches who will be stepping down at the end of the season—Washington’s Tyrone Willingham, Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer and Toledo’s Tom Amstutz—have gone a combined 0-4 ATS since making the announcement.

•South Carolina is thin in the secondary. The Gamecocks will be without starting free safety Chris Culliver for the first half against Florida, and his backup, freshman Akeem Auguste, missed practice time this week with a hamstring injury.

•Maryland was held to -12 yards rushing in last week’s loss to Virginia Tech. To make things worse for the Terps’ ground game, top running back Da’Rel Scott was wearing a non-contact jersey in practice this week. He’s been battling a shoulder injury, but is expected to play against North Carolina.<


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