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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Iskoe's pro, college stat pattern reports ready

7 June 2007

Just as great philosophers continue to ponder the meaning of life, football handicappers pursue their own perennial riddle-what causes teams to cover the pointspread?

Annually, for almost two decades, Andy Iskoe of Logical Approach has studied the concept and he's produced two separate books-studies by themselves--to help find the answer. His books, titled the 2007 College Football Statistical Pattern Report (17 pages, 8x11, stapled format, $10) and the 2007 Pro Football Statistical Pattern Report (21 pages, 8x11, stapled format, $10) are tremendous time-savers for novice researchers or those planning to study football betting from a serious academic level.

We all know a fine defense can shut down many a potent offense on a given day, but how much offense does a team need not only to win, but also to cover the spread? Too, how often do these angles repeat and how potent are certain plays over the long run? More than a season perhaps? Iskoe has studied more than 11,000 college games and more than 4,700 pro games to reach his conclusions. Each book covers 19 seasons.

For those who love the big word, the highfalutin' concepts only the high-IQ individual respects, Iskoe offers us: "In effect, we are doing a retrospective analysis of what has happened in the past. This is not quite as strong as doing predictive analysis." He adds, "In other words, we can use this information to isolate situations wherein one team is likely to exhibit favorable characteristics and the opponent is likely to exhibit negative ones."

Iskoe, in his college version, reviews 17 different offensive and defensive characteristics and shows that certain statistics matter a lot. For example, in his college version, teams which rush for as least twice as many yards as their opponent win just over 73 percent of the time and teams which rush for more than 100 yards on offense and allow less than 100 yards rushing by an opponent have covered almost 72 percent of the time.

The book shows you how to apply a Point Value to team performance and how to look at the box score of previous games from the standpoint of a bettor. He underlines areas like turnovers lost and recovered as well.

The pro version of the book reviews 16 characteristics "that have pointed to huge success vs. the line over the past 19 seasons..." One of the strongest angles is "Teams that rush for more yards than they allow their opponents to gain both rushing and passing have a record vs. the line of 271-19-6 (93.4%)." Also, "Teams that rush for 250 yards while allowing their opponent to under 150 yards rushing have a record vs. the line of 93-6-2 (93.9%)."

Through logic, examples and statistics, Iskoe thus provides some super food for thought for the thinking-man handicapper.

Both these book should be purchased before the season begins since we all know that once it does begin, there's little time to read, apply and evaluate before the linemakers really get sharp and the line adjusts to team strengths and weaknesses.

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