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Grade your work after every bet you make

By Adam Burke  ( 


Remember when you were in school and you had to show your work in math class. It wasn’t enough to just put down the answer, even if you knew it. You still had to write down the steps you took to get there. I wouldn’t even know what to do with the common core stuff that they teach nowadays.

Also, remember how your teachers said you wouldn’t always have a calculator with you, but then cell phones became a thing and, well, now you do.

Anyway, I think one of the most important things to do as a bettor is to look back at the bets you’ve made and grade your work. Not every bet that loses was a bad bet and not every bet that wins was a good bet. Luck and variance absolutely come into the equation, but there are other factors as well. Maybe there was a matchup advantage that you missed. Maybe there was an injury that you didn’t account for. Maybe you missed a bad scheduling spot like a back-to-back or a tricky travel situation.

Unfortunately, you don’t get partial credit in this business like you did back in math class. A bet wins or it loses and it’s a black-and-white result. For example, yesterday I broke down SMU/Oregon and liked the under 144. Oregon’s defense held up its end of the bargain, holding SMU to just .893 points per possession and 63 points. SMU’s defense did not, as Oregon had 1.219 PPP and won 86-63.

Rather than sulk about the loss, see what you can gain from the game going forward. For one thing, Oregon, even with some new faces, already seems better than some of the preseason projections. The Ducks should get a stiffer test from BYU on Tuesday, but maybe we should start looking at Oregon differently.

The game played to a faster pace than I expected with 71 possessions, but there were 26 turnovers, 16 by SMU. Oregon was 19-of-30 in the first half and scored 50 points. Their offense looked great, despite the new faces. That’s something I will keep in mind.

I talked yesterday about SMU transfer Zach Nutall, who came over from Sam Houston State. Nutall scored 19.3 points per game last season. He was 0-for-8 from the floor over 30 minutes last night and had two points on free throws. He had 14 points against McNeese State in the opener. It is definitely a different brand of basketball playing against better teams.

Marcus Weathers only played nine minutes for SMU. Keep an eye on that situation. Going through and checking your work also allows you to see if there was an injury or something else to monitor.

You’re going to make mistakes and bad bets. What you want to do is to try and not make those same mistakes with the same teams again, especially early in the season as you are finding your way in a new sport.

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