Blue Ribbon guide is bettor’s Bible

Nov 19, 2007 4:55 AM

It’s hard to believe it’s been 27 years since the first Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook was published. Chris Wallace started it all at his home in Buckhannon, W.VA., and now it’s being published in Tennessee and edited by Chris Dortch. The book (384 pages, paperbound, $2.95) is truly a reference for all who love the college game, those who bet on it, play it, coach it, report it, scout it or accept wagers on it. More than three dozen individuals contributed to this mighty volume, which is most effective in evaluating teams’ strengths, weaknesses, recruiting skills, benches, backcourt, frontcourt and perhaps most important of all, the coach and his program.

Dortch and his own team of reporters and information gatherers pinpoint potential All-America players (first to fourth team) and the predicted top 25 teams, including just seven from the Western U.S.)

This book might be just the source to help pick live dogs and upsets — usually most effective in the first 10 games — before non-conference play begins, since linemakers are somewhat in the dark themselves at the start of the season. It is in these early tournaments when some of the big names get knocked off by an unknown or taken-for-granted team. Teams with junior college transfers often jell faster than expected. Sometimes those with foreign recruits who are well-seasoned but poorly scouted by opponents get the job done over an over-ranked team.

There are no spread histories or gambling-related facts in this book. You’ll get schedules and results, with the major powers getting extra analysis. The staff of researchers has culled a variety of resources to help you get a feel for which coach will emphasize defense or a new offense or a run-and-gun approach — or how a program has recruited to fill a gap at a key position. The book will also tell you how good the backup man is if a key starter is replaced, for a game, many games or the season.

The Blue Ribbon is the bestseller of all books we receive seasonally at Gambler’s Book Shop. I’ve seen customers buy a dozen of them at one swoop for friends, sports service staffers, sports book personnel and as gifts for coaches or players who want to size up the competition weeks or months ahead.

Once again, a well-priced solid package of vital information for everyone.

For those who bet pro basketball (and the season begins in late October), record-keeping can be important — especially when you’re looking at streaks, home games, road trips, and whether a team is going over or under the total or covering spread. The RME Sports Investments 2007 NBA Workbook (96 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $16) is an easy way to keep up-to-date on your wagers and results. For each pro team, there’s room to record the opening and closing line; if the game went over or under; the final score; if a team won straight up; covered or failed to cover the spread; and what the team’s overall straight up record is. Listed for each game is the date and day of the game and where it will be played.

For each team on a following page you get more than a dozen trends or angles for betting against the spread or betting the totals. A few samples for Atlanta: The Hawks were 1-8 against the spread after losing to Phoenix and have gone over 20 teams in their last 26 games in Sunday games.

You can also see how a team performed last season in summary format. Examples: The Hawks were never a road favorite; were 18-23 as a road dog; were 6-9-1 as a home favorite. This team only won 30 of 82 games last year.

These books and more are available from Gambler’s Book Shop (Gambler’s Book Club). The store’s web site is; or you can call toll free at 1-800-522-1777.