I think novice players tend to be a bit more conservative. Being conservative hurts the axis more than the allies being conservative I think. With the axis having a better opening setup than the allies, they really need to maximize that before the allies can maximize their initial economic advantage.
A good way to learn is to play a game against yourself, but beyond the first few rounds it tends to lose its potential as a learning tool I would think. It lets you script out the first few rounds of a strategy and counters but sooner or later the next step of learning is how to take advantage of good dice and how to do damage control with bad dice, basically how to take advantage of opportunities.
I completely agree, and playing against myself is exactly how I learned the most, followed by playing 1-on-1 against really good players online.