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Best of Howard Schwartz

Gaming Guru

 

Steele, Lawrence, Iskoe, Football Arrive at Gamblers Book Shop

9 July 2004

Phil Steele's 2004 College Football Scorebook (414 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $24.95); Marc Lawrence's Playbook Stat and Log Book (375 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $34.95) and Andy Iskoe's NFL Teasers and Totals (73 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) have arrived at Gamblers Book Shop (Gamblers Book Club). These are three of the most important books annually for football handicapping and here are the highlights of each:

Steele's Scorebook analyzes the age-old question of which college conference is the toughest and why; looks ahead to which can be expected to be the "surprise" teams of 2004; projects the top 40 teams; then moves to each individual team with projected starting lineups; five years of pointspreads and results for that team and the schedule with room to keep records.

Angles are offered for each game to be played on each team's schedule with an indication of the type of surface the game with played on (grass or turf); how many returning starters the team has on offense and defense along with number of lettermen.

You can see how each team did last year against opponents, game by game with key statistics in rushing and passing plus turnovers.

Each conference is analyzed for strengths and weaknesses; Steele rates more than 400 top freshmen at each position; teams are rated by their ability to recruit top frosh; teams are rated by level of experience (number of seniors, juniors, etc.) in each conference; plus the impact of turnovers is discussed in depth.

Which teams play the toughest schedule? Steele looks head to 2004 and shows you what it was like in 2003. If you want power ratings, Steele lists them for teams by conference. Steele projects who'll contend for the Heisman trophy.

For those who want Totals (Over-Under results) for the past 10 years for colleges, Steele thoughtfully includes this material (20 pages of it by team in alpha order). Although the date of the game is not included, you can see how key matchups and rivalries ended up in Overand and Unders. Finally, for those who have a need to remember key plays and highlights of college games played in 2003, from Air Force to Wyoming, it's here -- 40 pages worth, including key plays, the final score and what the spread was.

Lawrence's Playbook Stat and Log Book has the unique feature of extracting every team's matchup with past history for the pros and colleges. Take the Kansas City Chiefs for example. This season they play Tampa Bay Nov. 7. When did they last meet? Instead of looking back every season for the past decade, you can see in their regular season history section that their last matchup was in 1999.

If homecoming games are important to you because they have an emotional factor impact, then the book will help find them. Lawrence has a homecoming game indicator next to the opponent's name so you don't have to make a phone call or go to the team's web site for an answer. This is a past history book (10 years of spreads for the colleges, 10 years of spreads and Totals for the pros), a record-keeping device and helps you see who's playing who week by week. The first pro game is Aug. 9, the first college game of significance is Aug. 28.

Iskoe's NFL Teasers and Totals analyzes each bet for each pro team each year from 1998 to 2003 individually, then for three years or for the six year period overall. How often did a team or the whole league in the pros cover the spread with a six-point teaser or go Over or Under in more than two dozen categories -- like on grass or on turf or Monday night or against a divisional foe or as a home dog or road favorite?

Green Bay with a six-point teaser is 20-4 against the spread for the past three seasons and 31-8 on grass for the same period of time. Indianapolis when an underdog have gone Over the Total eight out of nine opportunities since 2001.

The book is a tremendous time saver -- especially nice for the beginner or data base builder who loves to isolate unusual trends or patterns for future reference -- perhaps to use in coordination with other factors throughout the season. Iskoe has done the homework for you--it's up to you to use the information wisely.
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