Most handicappers, particularly who wager on their predictions, no matter how they are arrived at, have there own understanding of the “FEEL” concept.
“FEEL?” The very word stimulates thought and the search for understanding. It suggests psychological as well as physiological reactions. During our waking hours it is our conscious awareness that dominates mental activity, while when asleep, it is our subconscious mind that becomes active. Our subconscious mind is our warehouse of accumulated data and information. It is not rational, but it can superimpose itself on our reasoning, that is the deductive and inductive processes. The results of this can be both positive and negative.
In lay terms, the subconscious mind may manifest itself in “gut feelings.” When these “gut feelings” are bad, they represent a direct manifestation of conflicts between the conscious and subconscious minds.
Let me give you a very important clue on “FEEL”, when it’s valid, when it’s not, and WHY. We’ve all experienced once, if not several times, what happens when we encounter a losing streak. No matter how we try to rationalize or explain it, there is no way of knowing why it occurred or when it will end. There is also no one who can fully escape the emotional and psychological consequences that accompany losing streaks, or winning streaks for that matter. It always seems that losing begets losing and winning begets winning. The phenomenon is easily understood when one comprehends how the human mind functions, and how it is integrated with the nervous system. The truth remains, that emotions can short-circuit reasoning. This is without question one of the biggest edges the bookie has over the player, because his, the bookie’s action is unemotional. The Sportsbooks offshore and in Nevadaset their computers to move the line as per the money wagered. This is strictly a mechanical process and is NEVER influenced by opinions or emotions. These nemeses are particular only to those sports bettors who attempt to defy the bookmaker’s point spreads or odds.
A very typical use of the same approach to the problem of predicting winners by the player, is the computer. Since the inception of the computer, there have been several people who have made a lot of money by properly programming a computer to make their selections. The sports handicapper picks famous (?) “Computer Boys” of Las Vegas extracted millions of dollars out of the sports betting market in Las Vegas, and very likely elsewhere. The computer has no “FEEL” to distort its functions, but, all pertinent factors must be properly programmed into the device in order for it to produce positive results.
Most handicappers, who rely on or use computers, limit themselves with nothing but hard core statistics, utilizing them in a static, common way. So, just about all these prognosticators come up with the same results. This makes the Linesmaker’s job ultra simple. He posts numbers as close as possible to the results which these stereotyped, unthinking “Experts” obtain. The “Computer Boys”, and others of the same type, do not limit themselves to these static values. No, they have superimposed on standard statistics numerical values to the many intangibles. By in-depth analysis they have established point values (runs in baseball) for a large number of situations, as well as, team emotions, travel schedules and conditions, weather where applicable, home court and home field advantages, and more. They have realistically incorporated opposition strength at the times the games were played. They’ve imposed the quality and style of coaching matchups as well as the part officiating plays in the game. I’m sure that this has not been the full gamut of their considerations, but I am also sure that the successful ones have not left too much of what is relevant out of their equations. Thus, the computer approach has taken the roller coaster effect out of predicting sports. That is, of course, if what is programmed is accurate, intelligent and relevant. By proper use of the computer, “FEEL” is translated into REAL values and is no longer subject to the unreliable range of human emotions which can be easily affected and distorted by subconscious conflicts.
You cannot completely leave out the human factor. Associated with “FEEL” are qualitative, rather than quantitative values. Internal team problems, injuries, weather, and unusual situations and conditions can always arise and skew general quantitative values. This is where the ART of handicapping comes into play. This art, or talent, if you will, is another kind of “FEEL”, and it can be translated into a rational value for decision making, since it is based on accumulated experience. The trick is in being able to see the whole picture before it’s painted. The “FEEL” value comes into play after the number applications have exhausted themselves.