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It’s not gambling if you pay attention

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Updated: .October 10, 2016

By The Rex Factor

Winning significant amounts of money by betting on sporting events is difficult. As legendary Lem Banker said decades ago, there is a national anthem being played every day. That means that there is no need to force plays that aren’t there, because another game is just around the corner.

With that said, I need to send a special thanks to the decision-makers of the Atlantic Coast Conference schools in North Carolina.

With a hurricane bearing down on the Carolinas last weekend, none of the schools in the state of North Carolina decided to postpone their scheduled college football games. This proved to be very beneficial to anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of geography very shortly after noon.

I am not normally interested in being a totals player in college football. Sophisticated totals players often work with a database, and most are usually focused on time-consuming things such as yards per play on offense and defense and number of plays run per game. While that works for me on sides, I simply have too many other things on my plate to double the amount of college work I do to spit out totals as well.

Notre Dame opened the Saturday schedule in Hurricane Matthew’s path with a trip to Raleigh to meet North Carolina State. ABC had the broadcast, which means everyone in the US that could have been watching saw an absolute debacle. Winds that were sustained at around 20 miles per hour were accompanied by buckets of rain that started well before kickoff and continued long after the Wolfpack were celebrating their 10-3 win over the Irish.

The only touchdown was scored with 12:43 left in the game and it came on a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown. Simply put, the teams could not move the ball. While I had no play on the game total, which opened at 68.5 and closed at 55.5, I was able to see after only a few plays that scoring was going to be next to impossible and bet the UNDER live at several levels. At the end, I had tickets in the middle of the second quarter that were as low as 33.5 with the score being 3-0. There were a total of 10 fumbles combined, four of which were lost. The teams combined to go 3-of-29 on third down. A game that was supposed to be high scoring and up-tempo was relegated to a slopfest.

More importantly, there were other games in that region later. I immediately bet them all UNDER in one of the few times I will bet into “bad numbers” – such as dictated by the market. Meaning in the Army-at-Duke game that started at 3:30, the total opened 51.5 and I went UNDER 44 and it closed 43. Usually people who bet at the end of a big line move are going to lose in the long term. With the score 13-6 at the half, this one actually stood a chance of losing. Then the second half went scoreless, and the Blue Devils won by 7 after holding Army to 2-for-13 on third down and 0-for-4 on fourth down.

Virginia Tech visited Chapel Hill at the same 3:30 time slot when the hurricane was at its highest impacts to play North Carolina in a key ACC Coastal game. The Hokies were much better equipped to handle the extreme conditions and dominated throughout in a 34-3 win. The total there opened at 66.5 early last week. It closed at 49.5, with me going UNDER 54 as soon as I saw what it looked like in Raleigh and where the storm was headed.

While not as directly impacted, the Syracuse-at-Wake Forest game that went off at 8 Eastern was also affected by the weather. The total there opened 56 and closed 54 or so. Final score: Wake, 28-9. Four games in the Tar Heel State, and four easy UNDERS.

In the end, those games were the difference between me having a very good week and breaking even. For those of you who were astute to catch these plays yourself, the same thing should have happened. Happy hunting this week, and may you uncover your own gems that give you the necessary edge to turn a profit.

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