By Ray Monohan

There are a lot of handicappers who just look at a game, factor in the stats and make a prediction. As a matter of fact, betting systems do basically that and nothing else. Sure, that works many times but it doesn’t take into account the intangible factor of emotions. There are a number of ways that teams can get emotionally charged up for a contest and spring an upset even though the stats point in the completely opposite direction.

We’re going to look at several important emotional dynamics that come into play in handicapping that we recommend you take into account.

Neighbor, Rivalry and Divisional Games

Of course, rivalry games are going to get a lot of attention. ESPN now has a featured “Rivalry Week” when it comes to college sports and it can sometimes extend to two weeks. This also includes divisional games in professional sports and when two teams that have a long-standing or heated rivalry get together, games generally tend to be pretty close, so you can potentially make some money off betting on the underdog to cover. But on the other end, a team coming off a rivalry game may have used a lot of emotion and could wear out in their next game, which means they could have a tough time finding the energy and motivation to come up with a victory.

Let Down Situations

Then you have teams that have a big game coming up, but first they have to get past a team that is not even close to their talent level. Teams look past lower teams all the time and that can sometimes get them into big trouble, which means you can benefit from it in your sportsbook. Don’t forget to look at a team’s future schedule when you’re making the decision whether or not to wager on them in a particular game. The past schedule can play a role in your choice as well, because if a team is coming off a vicious beatdown, they’ll want to step up in their next game.

Team-Wide Motivators

Finally, keep an eye on any major issues with a team, for example, playing for something larger than the game. The Indianapolis Colts are a prime example of this as they were coming off a 2-14 season, playing with a rookie quarterback in Andrew Luck and were generally an afterthought going into the campaign. They ended up making the playoffs with an 11-5 record and more impressively, they had the same record when it came to covering the spread and a huge inspiration was the cancer battle of head coach Chuck Pagano. This was a running theme throughout the regular season and the Colts battled for 60 minutes every single game, which put them in the good books of a lot of bettors.

Back in the day, you would just look at the players in the lineup and make your decision from there but nowadays you have to go a little further into making your picks and checking on the emotions surrounding a matchup in any sport, on any level, can net you a few extra bucks. Don’t discount the effect of emotions on a sports betting decision; you can get a leg up on the competition.

Floyd Mayweather is no stranger to media attention and that would probably be the understatement of the century. The boxing champ has never been beaten inside the ring, and he has also shown himself to be a champion gambler as he often tweets pictures of winning betting slips he has made, often for insanely ridiculous sums of money.

There was a huge fuss made when Mayweather (who was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan) reportedly bet $3 million on the Michigan Wolverines to upset Alabama, which didn’t happen as the Crimson Tide romped over the Wolverines. Mayweather has stated that he never bet on the Wolverines, but some of his critics are also saying that Mayweather only posts pictures of winning tickets, not when he loses.

The battle by the United States government, as well as the major sports leagues, to keep betting away from the public has been going on for years and does not appear to be letting up anytime soon. The latest edition of this clash comes from New Jersey, where the public has spoken and in an election year, this could be a huge turning point.

The NFL and their officials finally settled their dispute and the regular referees were back on the field last weekend after a game on “Monday Night Football” between Green Bay and Seattle that had to be seen to be believed. One of the most recognizable personalities in sports chimed in on his lockout thoughts, although he had his own reasons for trashing the NFL.

It is well known that former NBA star and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley likes to bet, and he’ll tell you about it all day long. In a radio interview that he did shortly after the wild ending to the Packers-Seahawks game on that fateful Monday, Barkley claimed that he lost thousands of dollars on the game thanks to a number of borderline ridiculous calls that handed Seattle a victory. He proceeded to state that the NFL didn’t care about the fans and were all about the money, which is something that we knew already.

By The Intern

Mixed martial arts is the fastest growing sport in the world and sports bettors are quickly catching on. Not only is it a great event to watch, it’s also presents fantastic money-making opportunities as sportsbooks are slow to catch up the lines, matchups and analysis; they simply don’t know it as well as they do the NFL, and bettors can take advantage.

By Ray Monohan

In Las Vegas, you never place a bet at sportsbook and wonder if the company will pay you back your winnings.

Unfortunately, the online betting world is a little different. On land, they’ll all pay you your winnings but online, it can be a different story.

With plenty of landmines in the online sportsbook industry, it’s important to see the red flags of a scam sportsbook before you deposit your money. Since we’re dealing with our hard-earned coin, it’s very important that we avoid the shady operations preying on new players.

We do our best here to try to review as many books as we can to keep you with secure sportsbooks, but for the times you are out shopping on your own, here are five telling signs that are likely to indicate whether or not you’re dealing with a scam sportsbook:

By The Intern

It’s getting tougher and tough for the USA betting players to find a home where they can bet on sports safely, know that their money is secure and get paid out without having to worry about their offshore bookie disappearing in the middle of the night.

With that in mind, here’s our top three rated sportsbooks for American players:

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