Back in January, Edward Golden of Right Angle Sports did something very strange for a guy who sells picks for a living: He stopped.
It was the middle of college basketball season and Golden, by any measure, is one of the most followed and influential hoops handicappers in the business. He is a totals specialist, focusing on the games the rest of us don't think about when we think about college basketball. But the truth is, it doesn't matter what he's pitching -- sides, totals, brand-name schools, teams you wouldn't recognize if they were your alma mater -- when he makes a play, lines move. Period. End of story (and of value).
I know this for a fact, which I will get to.
For several years during college football season RAS had stopped handing out plays after Week 8 of the season. The deeper it gets into any sport on the calendar, the less value there is in the line. So at the beginning of the college basketball season, with Golden and one of his partners both being new fathers, they decided to try the same thing with their bread-and-butter sport. "And it kind of told the entire team, 'Let's just really kick ass these first 10 weeks and then after that we will shut it down for the season.' We put in everything we had and it was a way to justify to ourselves putting in this extra time and to our families that there would be a break at the end of it," Golden says. "The first 10 weeks of the season there are so many opportunities, it makes it worth it for us. I think it's a good model."
Imagine consciously deciding enough is enough. Imagine having the confidence to pull out of the game when you are the height of your influence, just when everyone is starting to pay attention to it. There is no doubt that Golden and RAS left client money on the table. And when he first told me he was doing this a few months ago, I asked him if he would do a column about it. This was a novel approach, I thought. Then, on Monday afternoon, he told me he was going to be tweeting out his picks from his @RASpicks handle for free. Again, I asked if he would do a column with me. He finally agreed, and I am glad he waited, because it gave me an opportunity to conduct an experiment.