A Vegas tsunami? No, just last surge of football betting books

Aug 19, 2008 6:56 PM

Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz | Like kids in a candy store, football bettors continue to search for that last-minute winning flavor – something that makes it easier for them to pick winners or keep records on their ups and downs during the 2008 season.

The final "tsunami" of betting books has arrived at Gambler’s Book Shop, and here’s how they stack up:

Marc Lawrence’s Playbook Stat and Log Book (383 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $34.95) has preseason team and coaching trends and then moves into how teams do after playing each of the other NFL teams since 1990.

There’s a handy Over-Under Report covering the last three or five years, showing performance against division or non-division teams, home and away. Does a team do well after a week’s rest? Some do, and the book looks back from 1990 to 2007 to indicate performance off a win or loss vs. Division.

There are charts showing performance in home openers; Monday nights; Sunday nights; for pro and college coaches; college overtime games; results of bowl games and the spreads; week-by-week schedule for colleges and pros and room to keep records by the week or by the team.

There are five years of spreads and totals plus playoff data for each pro team and for the colleges, a five year spread history; plus the number of returning starters and lettermen plus key players are named with their position.

The college section isolates how teams did against common 2008 opponents for the past 10 years if they met in that period. The Georgia Bulldogs for example, meet Central Michigan on Sept. 6. The teams have not met in the past decade so it’s their first matchup. Central Michigan has 45 returning lettermen, the same number as Georgia.

Overall, a fine record-keeping-statistical reference guide, with easy to read dark print, well-organized.

Other arrivals of note include The 2008 NFL & NCAA Football Power System Workbook (50 pages, 8x11 paperbound, $24.95) from Pro Info Sports.

There are what are called "mechanical" systems in this work, 25 college and 25 pro in a variety of categories like (for the Pros): Winless Team; Home Underdog; Road Favorite; Revenge; After Shutout; Before Jacksonville; After Dallas.

For the colleges: Undefeated Team; Early Season; Late Season; After Overtime; After Rest; After Navy. What makes this systems book special is that it contains rationale along with the carefully chosen angle which is 100 percent for various years, some going back to the 1980s.

Killer Sports NFL Team Trends 2008 (71 pages, 8x11 stapled, $34.95). This book contains 40 perfect team trends in past performance for each of the 32 pro football teams, including betting sides and totals, with an indication of "since 1997" or "since 2003" to give the bettor an indication of how far back the trend has been tracked.

Sample: "The Colts are 0-5 against the spread since 2006 the week after their completion percentage was at least 10 points higher than their season to date average as a favorite."