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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Davler's 'Trends' made easy -- more than 800 pro basketball betting angles

28 November 2003

Pro basketball bettors must consider a world of factors (injuries, travel, home court edge, offensive rebounding, power ratings, team playing at high altitude) before "investing" or betting each day.

For the past 12 years, Peter Davis of Davler Sports in Portland, Ore., has been publishing his annual "Trends Made Easy (NBA)" (85 pages, 5x8 paperbound, $27.95) work. This year there are 803 plays in his book, including a large number for betting totals. The trends (or angles as they are known) have hit at better than 67% over the years (going as far back as 1987).

The book is divided into two sections. First, by team, where, let's say you're a Lakers fan or just one who likes West Coast pro teams. So you look up Lakers and see 10 team trends for the season and four for betting totals. An example: Play ON Lakers vs. Milwaukee, since they've covered in 11 of 13 matchups since 1995. In the totals department, you're advised to play the Lakers over when they matchup up against the Wizards of Washington (the Lakers have gone over 12 times, under four times and pushed once in their matchups since 1993).

The second part of the book is arranged by date. Let us suppose you're at some social event (beer party or whatnot) and someone asks, "Anyone got a play on any games tonight?" You happen to have your trusty Davler book with you and you flip through the date section and it happens to be Dec. 17. There are nine betting angles worth noting that day including Golden State, which has gone OVER the totals 12 times without fail when playing at Atlanta since 1989. If it hits, you're a "maven" (a pseudo betting genius). If it misses, it'll be the first time in 13 matchups. Blame the book if you're wrong.

In any case, it's a handy guide for spotting some angle or trend when you have no time to handicap at all and need either an action bet or want some additional assurance all your other homework hasn't been a waste, including your shopping for the right number.

It's a fun way to handicap, but don't bet the family estate on the pros based on what the book shows has happened in the past. Rosters and coaches change, so do the ages of the players.

The college version of the book is due at Gambler's Book Shop in mid-to-late December. Don't worry about missing early college games; the book is keyed to conference play action.

A reminder: If you're betting the colleges, "Rocket's College Basketball Workbook" (251 pages, 8x11 spiralbound, $34.95) is the perfect way to keep records. Listed in alpha order, from Air Force to Youngstown State, you'll be able to record scores, spreads, results and streaks and look ahead to each team's schedule as the season progresses. It's a fine time-saver, and it lists not only the date, but also the exact day of the week each game will be played.

A thoughtful gift item for anyone who enjoys playing poker -- or even better, reading about it -- is a nicely compiled book called "A Friendly Game of Poker (52 Takes on the Neighborhood Game)" edited by Jake Austen. It is a collection of essays on the joys, regrets, friendships, philosophies and adventures of home poker. It has interviews with poker playing celebrities, tips for the home game, fascinating facts about poker movies, poker books and poker paintings.

As the book describes itself, it "captures what it feels like to hang around half the night, drinking beer and playing pasteboards with your cronies, with far more clarity (and joy) than a formal poker guide ever could."

For those who enjoy playing the ever-popular lottery, Don Catlin's new "The Lottery Book (The Truth Behind the Numbers)" (181 pages, paperbound, $14) should add fuel to the fire of hope and optimism. Certainly the odds are 20 million to one or better on hitting the Big Jackpot, but certainly if you don't play there's no hope at all.

What does each state offer in the way of a lottery? Where can you get the winning numbers on the Internet? What is the House edge in each state? What about the "luck factor?" (This section might be one of the most interesting, describing how people's whims, lucky numbers, guesses and hunches paid off in millions.)

This is a fascinating collection of material for the lottery-oriented person, including a history of the numbers racket; how scam artists prey on the unwary; why Utah and Alaska may never have a lottery; and some advice on what to do if a group of friends, co-workers or relatives buy tickets and agree to share if they hit. All are covered in Catlin's entertaining and informative work.

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