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What factors help teams cover the spread? -- Iskoe's books explain

25 June 2009

The nagging question of which factors impact whether or not a team might cover the spread is asked each year by beginners and old pros alike. Not everyone will agree about the answer, but Andy Iskoe's two annuals, the Pro Football Statistical Pattern Report ($10, 8x11, stapled, 18 pages) and the companion work, College Football Statistical Pattern Report ($10, 8x11, stapled 16 pages), should help clarify it for everyone.

Iskoe's pro book is a 21-season study of more than 5,000 games. Some factors may be obvious but also may go unnoticed because of their transparency. For example, Iskoe reports that "Teams that rush for more yards than they allow their opponents to gain both rushing and passing have a record versus the line of 296-21-6 (933.4 percent)." Clearly, as Iskoe describes it: "Everything is working. This team is executing the run with remarkable success while the defense is totally shutting down the opposition…"

The book shows the importance of analyzing box scores in the past and week by week, comparing offenses and the ability of defenses to shut the opposition down.

Iskoe's college volume looks at 13,000 games over the past 21 seasons and examines similar situations. An example: "Teams that rush for over 150 yards while allowing their foe to gain under 100 yards rushing have a record vs. the line of 3467-1161-67 (74.9 per cent)." Iskoe remarks about that angle: "It is far easier to have confidence in looking for a team to gain over 150 yards on the ground while holding the opposition to under 100 yards than it is to predict that a team will both run and pass for over 250 yards."

Thus, Iskoe's books have meaning if used correctly and statistics, analysis of offense vs. defense, plus assigning point values to the various angles (some being stronger than others) make the difference over the long haul.

Overall, these are two remarkable research sources for beginners, who will save many hours of time looking for what Iskoe has already found and for the pros to fill in a few analytical gaps they may have overlooked.
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