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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Blue-ribbon hoops book super resource for serious bettors going fast

30 October 2008

The 28th edition of the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook (384 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $22) has arrived at Gambler's Book Shop and the stock is being snapped up like hot bagels on a cold Saturday morning. Edited by Chris Dortch and his dedicated staff around the nation, the book -- often purchased by scouts, coaches, players, bettors, talk show hosts, sports editors and sports information directors everywhere -- outstrips virtually every other basketball resource because of its freshness and depth of analysis.

More than two-dozen conferences and hundreds of teams get the spotlight, with a breakdown at strengths, weaknesses, offenses and defenses.

These write-ups answer a bevy of questions: How good was the recruiting or how severe were the losses? Who's back? Who can back up an injured star? Who's potential first team All-America? Who's a potential pro star and why? Who will be the Beasts of the East if not North Carolina, Connecticut, Villanova or Syracuse (all picked in the top 25)? Is any Western team a standout? (The Blue Ribbon people say keep an eye on UCLA, USC, Saint Mary's and Arizona State.) Will there be emphasis on more defense, a run and gun approach, or will a team rely on one key player to provide all the firepower? Which team is deep? Which coach's job might be in jeopardy?

The book is especially good for the first 10 games of the year, when linemakers are somewhat vulnerable and upsets are possible in tournaments. You'll get no gambling angles, pointspreads here, but you can isolate backcourt, frontcourt, bench strength and quickly see what a new coach or new coaching philosophies bring for the team in 2008-09.

This book went to press less than six weeks ago so information about ineligible players, late roster additions, injuries and the like should be fresher than ever.

You'll need a week or two to read, underline, circle key facts and prepare for the long season ahead. Preparation and waiting for the right spot have always been keys to winning extra units.

The book contains schedules, but remember, many are always subject to change based upon the whims of TV.

For those who live and die or just rely on past results as a guideline to test systems or theories about college or pro basketball teams, the Basketball Record by The Gold Sheet (28 pages, 8x11 stapled, $10) is excellent to review last season's college and pro basketball results. The Record has post-season spreads and totals as well as regular-season numbers, including date the game was played and on what date.

The college section, from Air Force to Youngstown, has opening lines only, no totals. Overall, for the price, it's a fine time-saving reference source.

Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com
Howard Schwartz
Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

Howard Schwartz Websites:

www.gamblersbook.com