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Marc Lawrence's Black Book; Iskoe's College Analysis Tops

24 August 2005



Marc Lawrence's Black Book (A Guide to Picking College and Pro Football Winners) (108 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) and Andy Iskoe's College Football (Vol. 3 of the Pointspread Encyclopedia series) (144 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) are two late arrivals at the Gambler's Book Shop, and each should appeal to different types of football handicappers.

Lawrence's annual gets right down to business for those who want systems or trends hitting 100% for or against a college or pro team. The book offers weekly angles for every game each college or pro team listed plays in 2005. A few examples:

Buffalo hosts Houston September 11 in their season opener. Buffalo, a notoriously slow-starting team has a 2-8 record against the spread in September home games. Kansas City on the other hand is 18-4-1 in home openers. They'll host the NY Jets Sept. 11.

There are hundreds of 100% situations in this book. Example: In the Vikings and Packers match-ups the favorite is 0-11 against the spread. In the Tampa Bay-New Orleans Saints games, the dog in the series is 6-0 against the spread.

For those who ponder the impact of the coach has on covering the spread in more than a dozen situations (like off a loss; against division teams, at home or away); Lawrence provides three pages of information.

Overall, for those who believe history might repeat and angles are worth following (rather than overdoing the statistical analysis), Lawrence's book fills the need. By itself it may truly be a fun way to handicap or to integrate with your regular betting methodology.

Iskoe, another respected name in the handicapping profession, examines six years (year by year since 1999, three years, and six years overall) of college results in 34 categories including bowl games played.

Wonder how a particular team did as a home favorite or road dog or on grass compared to turf or in its opening game compared to the final regular season contest? He show you how teams performed in conference games compared to non-conference battles.

Example: USC, 33-3 straight up since 2002 and 25-11 against the spread during that period is 21-8 against the line on grass and 4-3 on turf; seems to have a bit of trouble as a road favorite against the spread, with a 9-5 record. Kansas State doesn't seem to want to peak too early, and in the past three years is 2-8 against the spread in its first five games.

One of the more popular sections of this Iskoe work is titled College Line Moves -- How Smart Is The Public?

When there is a difference of 1 1/2 points or more from the time the line opens to when it closes (the Las Vegas Stardust line is used in this book), how would you the bettor have done and was the money move "properly directed"?

Iskoe examines each year from 1995 to 2004, then summarizes 1990 to 1994 and 1990 to 2004, with teams listed in alphabetical order from Air Force to Wyoming, with Ivy League teams included in a separate section. There is also a "magnitude of move" analysis showing from 1990 to 2004 overall, then 1995 to 2005 year by year (moves from 1.5 points or more up to 9.5 or more). So, for those testing whether major line moves reflect anything significant or those who ponder whether it's best to bet early or late in the week, this book is a wonderful time saver.



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