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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Four super resources for handicapping football

26 July 2007

Like a "man for all seasons," four of the most highly-sought-after football betting resources have arrived at Gambler's Book Shop, each with something special for that extra-special handicapper angling for an edge.

Phil Steele's College Football Scorebook (410 pages, spiralbound, 8x11, $29.95); Jim Feists's Football Workbook-Pro and College (317 pages, plastic spiralbound, $39.95); Pointspread Encyclopedia -- NFL Teasers and Totals (73 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) and Bob Frederick's Inside Sports View's NFL Notebook -- Trends, Sides and Totals (71 pages, 8x11, paperbound, $34.95).

Steele's scorebook is different from his magazine in that it DOES include betting angles against the spread, where the magazine reflects only straight up winning angles. There are also more than 20 pages with a history of overs-unders (totals) in the colleges going back as far as 1993. Since this information is somewhat limited (fewer college games compared to pro games have totals assigned to them during the season), this alone is a time-saver. Too, should you have been vacationing somewhere all throughout 2006, the book highlights each teams' action in a short summary of each game to remind you of various revenge situations wild finishes.

Just as the magazine does, there are schedules; room to keep records and notes; five years of results; projected starting lineups on offense and defense; number of returning starters and lettermen on offense and defense and key statistics from every game played last year.

One key page lists the playing surfaces for every team listed. There are many vital essays, bits of advice on toughest conference; most improved teams; importance of turnovers.) Also, homecoming games, which are often packed with extra emotion, are indicated in the Steele book.

Feist's workbook is two books in one covering colleges and pros. It contains 10 years of spreads and totals (totals for pros only) and quickly helps you isolate how a team did against a team it is playing this year as far back as the 1990's.

Also (for example), look at Tennessee. They travel to Miss. State Oct. 13. Wonder how they did last times or time they met? Since 1998 they met three times—the last meeting was in 2003, covering a 23-point spread, 59-21 at Tennessee.

The book also reflects have often a team covered or didn't cover the spread in a variety of situations, home, away, as dog, as favorite, favored by under three to over 10, looking back 1,2,3,5 and 10 years back. The same information is available for betting the pros, with indications whether a game is on grass or turf; if it's a divisional game or not.

Again, plenty of room to keep records here.

There are those among us who don't care who wins a pro football game—only that the total go over or under the established number. Too, there are many bettors who believe history has a tendency to repeat. Thus the rationale for Pointspread Encyclopedia's special volume titled NFL Teasers and Totals.

Teasers can be 6, 6 1/2 or 7 points. This book goes back six seasons and is keyed to the six-point teaser. You can see how a team did in two dozen situations for one year, three years or all six years.

Some results are real eye-openers. Samples: As a home dog, the KC Chiefs are 5-1 as a home dog with a six-point teaser since 2004. The Philadelphia Eagles are 18-4 as a road dog since 2001 with a six-point teaser and 17-1 in their second game of the year, also since 2001. Personnel change, teams change coaches and others variables fluctuate. Go with the flow or close your eyes and hope it happens again? Use the book as a guideline—it will save you time and may make betting more fun.

In the totals section of the book you'll be able to see how the whole league did in two dozen situations, year by year since 2001 or for the past three or six years. Denver for example, in the past three seasons has gone over twice and under 10 times in their first four games. The New York Jets in the past three years have gone over five times, 12 under on grass.

The book also shows, season by season since 1981, how many games ended up on what total number, also reflecting the percentage of times it has happened, in the point range of three, all the way up to 106.

For researchers and theorists, a fine time-saver, reference source.

Bob Frederick has been producing angle books for 21 years. His Sides & Totals contains 153 winning trends with a minimum efficiency of 70 percent. His book is unique since it allows you to see if an angle is holding steady or "breaking down." Here are several examples:

Looking at the Arizona Cardinals, in their first home game of the year, they are 2-17 against the spread. In 1997 and 1998 they did cover, but have lost their last nine against the line.

The Atlanta Falcons are 22-6 as a visitor to Divisional rival New Orleans Saints since 1978. However, that angle seems to be corroding, since the Falcons have lost the last three against the spread to the Saints. Until 2003, it was a fantastic angle, but again the quality of teams change, some improve, some slide.

Wondering when the angle will play again? It's listed right below the summary.

One interesting play might be Baltimore's Ravens 6-0 against the line against the NY Jets since 1994. They'll meet again Sept. 16 at Baltimore.

This is a fine book for a quick way of picking winners in those weekly football contests, or again, hoping history repeats. In any case, it's sure to make you an "instant wise guy."

With more than 150 winning angles, it's sure to keep you busy and interested in 2007.

Any item reviewed here is available from Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club). The store's web site is www.gamblersbook.com . You may order there using MasterCard, VISA or Discover (no CODs please) or by phoning the store any day except Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time at 1-800-522-1777. Orders usually shipped the next working day. The store, now in its 40th year, is located a mile from downtown Las Vegas, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard at South 11th Street. You may view the store's complete array of books, videos and software via the Web site or request a hard copy of the catalog be mailed free and first class. The store's address is 630 S. 11th St., Las Vegas, NV 89101.

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