Cokin’s Corner, Sunday 1/24/16

  • January 24, 2016

It’s shaping up as sharps vs. squares on Championship Sunday in the NFL. This is one of the more fascinating dynamics that unfolds to some extent every Sunday of the pro football season. But today’s games are taking it to a whole different level.

The professional gamblers are, for the most part, all about getting the right price and deriving what they consider value. It’s way more about that aspect of wagering rather than opinion.

The public bettors, frequently referred to as squares, don’t really grasp or care about garnering value and are happy enough to fire away based on perception.

Over the course of a full season in the NFL, the sharps will generally fare better than the squares. That’s not really any kind of a secret and explains why many veteran wagerers are almost obsessed with the Pros vs. Joes percentages on tickets and money, in hopes of latching onto to the apparent sharp side of the battle.

But one thing that certainly needs to be stated is that while there is an edge to going the value route over the long haul, there are definitely plenty of individual games where the public cashes their tickets while the wise guys just tear theirs up.

As far as today goes, the Panthers and Patriots are the public darlings and in the case of New England, it’s downright overwhelming. The books are very reluctant to move off key numbers like 3, but it sure looks as though that might happen on this game, with a few books already going to Pats -3.5. I don’t think there’s any question that the sharps will take the 3.5 when it shows, but at the shops where line was already boosted, there are still a huge majority of New England tickets being purchased.

The Cardinals-Panthers game is more traditional from that standpoint. The books really don’t want to add the hook here as they’ll get hit hard by the pros if Arizona +3.5 becomes widely available. So in this instance, I would expect that it stays at -3 with underdog players being able to get even money, or perhaps a little better as we get close to game time.

My best advice on these games is to go with what you believe will take place, and not be concerned with the action if you’re convinced you have the right opinion. And with that, let’s get these games underway!


Arkansas losing by three in overtime cost me a good day. Those are the ones that sting, and they’re worse when it’s clear that the team getting the backing simply blew the game, which the Razorbacks did. This has still been a nice bounce back week, and I’ve got a good amount of play set for Sunday. For info on how to get all my plays, along with rates and guarantees, simply email me directly at


Nebraska-Omaha coughed up a pretty good sized lead at Oral Roberts, but the Mavericks gathered themselves down the stretch and notched the win as the Saturday free play. I’ll go the marquee matchup route for the Sunday comp.

843 PURDUE  @  844 IOWA

Take: PURDUE +3.5

We’ve arrived at the point of the college basketball season where there will be an increasing number of rematches taking place. I’ve always paid very close attention to same season revenge spots in college hoops, and I’ve generally enjoyed a good deal of success isolating the right spots as far as this goes.

A key for me is measuring how meaningful the revenge variable might be. In other words, I’m not just blindly betting on the team that lost the first meeting to avenge the defeat in the rematch. But there are some good statistical edges that I’ve put into play with good results and then there are games like today’s second time around between Purdue and Iowa.

The first game between the Boilermakers and Hawkeyes was, in effect, a weird doubleheader. Purdue completely dominated the first 20 minutes, amassing a 19-point lead and heading off the court with a 37-20 lead.

But after halftime, it was if the Boilermakers decided the game was over and they proceeded to get obliterated by the Hawkeyes. Iowa outscored Purdue 50-26 in the second half, and the Boilermakers were humbled on their home court in the process.

I don’t think there’s much question about what Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey will go with here in terms of a game plan. Defensive pressure was the game changer in that January 3 clash and it’s not broken, then don’t try to fix it.

As for the Boilermakers, they need to do what they didn’t do in the collapse that took place in the first game. Purdue has to attack the Iowa defense. The absolutely did little of that during the epic melt and paid a very unfortunate price.

We should find out quite a bit about this Purdue team today. Regardless of the final score, it’s vital for the Boilermakers to have an aggressive attitude for 40 minutes in this game. If they get mentally dominated as they did during the disaster that took place at West Lafayette, I don’t think it bodes well for the Boilermakers down the road. If they stay in attack mode throughout the game, that’s a positive that will tell me this outfit is for real, even if they come up short on the scoreboard.

For me, this comes down to taking points with an avenging opponent I expect to see play with tremendous intensity, and while there will be those who disagree, I also think the Boilermakers match up really well against the Hawkeyes. Iowa is generally a bigger team than most opponents but that’s not the case here and Purdue is also the more physical squad.

The Boilermakers will likely lose the possession battle here as Iowa is simply outstanding when it comes to ball security and Purdue really doesn’t force many turnovers. But Purdue is as good as it gets at making life miserable for opposing shooters and I can see them dominating the glass here. This should be a terrific game, and I’m taking the points with Purdue in what ought to be a thriller.