In this third part of the 8 series I'm working on, I'll analyze why GSM, which means (G)ame (S)election (M)anagement, is the most critical element in the handicapping process.
Those of us who enjoy the wines of the southern Rhone understand GSM to signify the dominant grapes of the region which are combined to make the world famous Chateauneuf de Pape. Those grapes would be (G)renache, (S)yrah and (M)ouvedre. Whether you favor a steamy hot vintage like 2003, which emphasized a fruit forward style highlighting the Grenache, or the near perfect growing season of 2007, which shows the complexity of the blend, the wines of the southern Rhone have a vintage and style for your palate. In fact, there have been many outstanding vintages for over a decade. The terroir of this unique region produces beautifully structured wines with excellent balance. They are arguably the best valued wines in all of France. These wines admirably complement most all beef, pork, poultry, and all but a delicate fish course. Hopefully, you’ve all shared a satisfying evening with good friends, a great meal, and a bottle of Chateauneuf.
But when the morning comes, GSM takes on a totally different meaning to the sports handicapper. By the light of day, GSM means (G)ame (S)election (M)anagement. Many handicappers view it as the most critical element in the handicapping process. Regardless of your handicapping level of proficiency, all of us use a form of GSM. Many of you know it as the more simplistic “which games shall I bet, and which shall I throw,” followed by a review of the TV schedule, and later in the day, the often heard “why would I bet that game, I knew it wouldn’t win” or its companion phrase “how could I not bet ________, I knew they’d win”!
The first important thing about GSM is that after your final choices are made There Are No Second Guesses, And No Regrets! You accept random variance and the results of the day knowing you did the best you could, setting realistic expectations. With that being said, let’s take a look at the critical elements we should all employ in our GSM.
(1) Total Number of Games Selected
We all have a personal comfort level about the size of our card each day. Try this exercise to empirically test your intuitive feel. The results may surprise you: Each day, write down your Top 10 selections of the day’s action. These could be sides, totals, or even 1st half bets. List them in your order of preference from 1 to 10. Do this for 30 days, scoring the results every evening. At the end of 30 days, total your wins and losses for each numerical preference 1 thru 10. For example, #1 rated games=18-12….#10 rated games=14-16. By the end of 30 days, your answer about “optimum size card” should be clear. At the least, This is a Great Exercise in GSM.
(2) Game Ratings or Strength Play
I have no problem with “flat betting” (betting the same amount each game) but for those of you who like to “pump it up” I have 2 suggestions. First, make sure your stronger plays have multiple reasons for the play-not just one reason you “love”, and secondly, never play any play for more than 2 times another.
(3) Games You "Love"
Be careful of these! Check a sportsbook site that lists “public play %.” If everyone else is on it, back off or eliminate completely. The Linemaker is no dummy! At least look for multiple reasons for the play.
(4) Contrary Plays
When you find (mostly betting odds underdog) plays that run counter-intuitive to public thinking, you probably have a winner. Consider elevating its strength of play.
(5) Binary Games
This means you like 2 selections for the same reasons. You play them both thinking there is a far better chance both will win than lose. Eliminate this thinking! Trust me, I’ve been there. Take time to handicap each game on its own merit.
One final thought, save the Chatueauneuf de Pape ‘till you’ve finished the handicapping process. Make your selections, and then savor the wine as the winners roll in. You deserve it!