Posted: 10/12/2011 7:28:28 PM
Those precious words were spoken to me last week by none other than John Avello, the venerable oddsmaker at the Wynn Las Vegas Casino Resort.
I had contacted him as a resource for my weekly column titled “Lines That Make You Go Hmmm …” on this website, an assignment that charges me with identifying a few lines that look fishy for whatever reason.
I ran past him Missouri -3 against an undefeated Kansas State team at home, suggesting the line could have been the other way around or a pick’em at the very least.
I then confided in Avello that, despite the value I saw in the Wildcats, it was unlikely I would fire on them. They had been under the radar to this point and, I figured, about the time I jump on the bandwagon, it’s destined to blow a tire.
Without sounding condescending nor preachy, Avello replied with the following:
“Don’t handicap like that,” he said flatly. “Don’t try to look too far ahead or too far behind. Try to gauge a team in its current form and go from there.”
He basically alluded to the fact that I was doing just that by pointing out the factors I saw in that particular game. My job was to find vulnerable lines, and I had spotted a dandy. That didn’t stop me from screwing up his advice.
Avello's words struck me as one of those refreshing reminders that we all sometimes need, whether it’s in the fundamentals of sports betting or life.
You know, lasting lessons such as “Don’t run with scissors,” “Eat plenty of veggies” and “Do the right thing when nobody is looking.”
All of which fall under the umbrella of mottos that are easier said than done. We all have our moments when the basics escape us, but is there any group of people who get in their own way more than sports bettors?
I knew the question, and one of the top minds in the business confirmed my suspected answer, and how much money did I win from K-State’s 24-17 victory that wasn’t as close as the score indicated?
None, naturally. Why? Because I couldn’t get past my bias against Missouri. We all have teams or programs that are our arch nemesis, and that club has been more toxic to my bankroll than a day-old chicken McNugget is to my digestive system.
Gary Pinkel’s clubs always seem to have plenty of athletes but little in the way of mental toughness and they never, ever, ever show up in big games …except last year at home against Oklahoma, when I faded them big. The Tigers picked the following week against Nebraska to go into their familiar shell.
As with most things that you deem hazardous to your health, I stay away from any and all Missouri games, even when I know better. Or when I should know better.
Even so, there’s something to be said for avoiding coming late to the party on a burning trend that might be ready to flame out. But perhaps it’s better to take everything on a case-by-case basis.
Despite having long known this, I’m also aware that I am overly superstitious. I would much rather handicap a game between teams that are both 3-3 ATS instead of one in which a club is 6-0 ATS against another that’s 0-6 for the money.
I can’t help but revert to thinking that probability is going to kick in at some point, most teams end up around .500 near the spread, and maybe I should back the dog because of this and …
Next time these thoughts start filling my brain, maybe I need to remember Avello’s simple words: Don’t handicap like that.