Sorry, must I've been battling a head cold and sore throat for the past week and I've still got no voice. Hope to return on Saturday morning.

Free Pick # 1 - Dallas (-9) at Miami

Dallas shot 47.7 percent from the field and averaged 109.5 points a game while starting the season 26-10. But the team has gone 4-7 since, averaging 99.6 points on 44.8 percent shooting.

Pretty clear where the problem is, which is surprising when you've got Dirk, Monta and Parsons on your side.

Doesn't help matters that point guard Rajon Rondo averaged 15.4 points in his first seven games with the team and 6.8 since following a head-scratching zero-point effort against Houston the other night.

Miami is coming off a 109-102 loss to Milwaukee in which D-Wade was hurt once again. He's out tonight as is Luol Deng. Those two combined for 50 points in the Heat's 105-96 upset of the Mavs in Dallas on November 9.

You can do the math.

Both teams are losers in Vegas of late as the Mavs are in the throes of a 2-9 ATS skid while the Heat are 7-15 ATS at home on the year, failing to cover five of their last six in south Florida.

Minus Wade and Deng, it seems like the only way to go is to lay it with Dallas.

Free Pick # 2 - Harvard (-4') at Princeton

Not like I follow the Ivy's that much, but how the hell did Harvard lose - at home, no less - to Dartmouth, 70-61, in its last game after beating the Big Green by 11 on the road in their league opener? Prior to that shocker, the Crimson had only lost to Arizona, Arizona State and Boston College.

Princeton has won three straight and five of six after a 3-8 start. Sounds impressive until you realize the five wins came against Lipscomb, Liberty, Norfolk State, Penn and Rowan.

Remove Norfolk State and it sounds like a law firm.

Sorry, but a team that also lost at home to Incarnate Word by 11 back in November gets no love from me in Vegas tonight.

By the way, in case you happen to be on Jeopardy soon, the answer '"what would be the University of Incarnate Word" is the reply to the question "name a private Catholic University whose main campus is in San Antonio and Alamo Heights, Texas."

Oh, and their nickname is the Cardinals and they hail from the Southland Conference, which counts among its members the likes of Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston State, McNeese State and Lamar.

So, go forth and impress your friends at the bar with your infinite wisdom.



9 of 12 Winning Football Seasons

(NFL & College Combined)


169-138-13 NFL Roll
past five years combined
+209.75 Dimes
(FYI - 99% of my plays are rated between 5 and 15 dimes)

with highest rated 30 Dime NFL releases
past five years combined

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Al DeMarco's Rating System

Over the 25 years I've been doing this, one of the biggest misconceptions I've encountered from customers is their belief that winningpercentageactually matters in this business. Bottom line is that a straight-up winning percentage means absolutely nothing when your handicapper - such as myself - releases rated selections. Read further and you'll understand why.


I use the "dime" rating system, going in 5 dime increments, generally keeping those plays between 5 and 50 dimes. Yes, that's a wide range, but truth be told, I usually max out around 30 dimes, rarely venturing into the rarefied air toward 50 dimes unless I've built a substantial bankroll. Doing anything different would be irresponsible bankroll management on my part and a total disservice toward you, my clients.


I like to keep it simple from a money-management system so my customers can always know exactly how they should beallocatingtheir bankroll in proportion to the rating I assign to a selection.


Obviously, a 50 Dime play is five times stronger than a 10 Dime release and twice as strong as a 25 Dime pick.


And each day when you see my compiling or mentioning my NET profit figures, keep in mind I've computing them based on the following formula:


Net Profit = Wins - Losses- Vig


Of course let's not forget my golden rule of gambling: Never bet more than you can afford to lose. No rating system - including mine - is effective unless you pay attention to that rule. By heeding my advice you can never fall into a financial abyss from which there is no escape.


A question gamblers always pose is "How much should I be playing?" Obviously, there is no set, firm answer, but my advice would be to follow my money management system and base the size of your wagers on a percentage of your total bankroll.


Let me explain further...


Take your total bankroll - the amount you can afford to lose in an absolute worst case scenario on a single day. Let's say it's $400 on a college football Saturday. And on that Saturday I release a 50 Dime play and two 20 Dime picks.


Let's do some quick math...I've got atotalof 90 dimes of action on the table (one 50 dime play and two 20 dimers).  You've got amaximum one-day bankrollof $400. Simply divide the $400 by the 90 dimes and you've got a per dime wager of $4.44.


Now it's time for some simple multiplication. If a dime is worth $4.44, my 50 Dime rated release equals approximately a $222 wager on your part. And my two 20 Dime rates picks equal approximately $88.88 wagers each. Add everything back up and you've got your initial $400 bankroll all over again.


This obviously all applies to a single wagering day. It's up to you to figure out how to allocate your bankroll over the course of a week or month.


Now, back to how inconsequential winning percentages can be: Let's say I have a 50 Dime play and three 10 Dime releases on an NFL Sunday. If I win the 50 Dime play and go 0-3 with the 10 Dime releases, my overall record is a dismal 1-3 but my net profit is a healthy 17 dimes. Conversely, let's say I lose the 50 Dime play and go 3-0 with the 10 Dime releases. My overall record is an impressive 3-1, but my net profit is a negative -25 dimes.


Which would you prefer, the losing record and winning day, or the winning record or losing day?


Believe what you want, but I'm telling you the truth: Winning percentage means nothing in this business as the above illustration will prove time and time again. Of course, crafty salesmen masquerading as handicappers can spin gold using the second scenario, but I feel it's my job to educate you about what is the TRUTH in this business - whether you become my customer or not.

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