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Handicapping a Player’s Final Season

Most professional athletes retire when they are still relatively young—but that is a matter of perspective.  What is considered “young” or “old” in the world of sports is quite a bit different than it is in the rest of the world.  A 35 year-old man who might be in the prime of his career in the business world could very well be considered well past his prime in the world of sports.  From an outsider’s perspective, he is young to retire, but from within his sport, he may actually be thought of as old.


There are a lot of reasons why players retire.  Usually it is a player’s own choice.  He may simply be tired of getting banged up every year, and may want to quit the game on a high note while he still doesn’t have any serious injuries. 


Other times however, retirement is forced on a player who may want to stay with the game as long as possible.  He may no longer be able to meet the strenuous fitness requirements to continue in the sport.  If he quits his current team, finding a new one may prove to be difficult or impossible.  Other teams may simply refuse to sign him, especially if he is known to be injury-prone.


Sometimes players announce when they are embarking on their final seasons.  Other times, the press simply speculates.  Either way, it can make for an interesting time for an aging athlete and for his team.


Handicapping during these times can be a challenge.  Why?  There is a lot of “news” out there to distract you—most of which is actually just opinion pretending to be fact.  The press loves to focus on aging athletes, especially if they appear to be on the verge of retiring.  These are human interest stories, and they garner clicks because a lot of people have been following the player’s career for a very long time.  Some are rooting for him to go out in a blaze of glory.  Others are hoping he will crash and burn.  You can be sure of one thing though, and that is that you are going to read a lot of very dogmatic pieces.


It is up to you as a sports bettor to sort through all of that and come to a conclusion which is based on fact and not on mere speculation.  No, there is no way for you to know what is going to happen, but you can take a look at the player’s actual recent and long-term record and not just the digits comprising his age to come to a conclusion.  Do that and you will put yourself in a position to win your bets.  And if you happen to correctly back a team with an aging key player that everyone else believes is bound for failure, you will get a great value on your bet and collect a substantial reward for your efforts when you win against the odds.

For more insights on this topic read my series on How old is too old for a professional athlete Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.




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