It’s early hoopla, college basketball style

Oct 14, 2008 5:02 PM

Book Reviews by Howard Schwartz |

Pro and college basketball get going very soon. Some of the biggest upsets in college hoops occur within the first 10 games of the season, sometimes during obscure tournaments.

Which teams are the "sleepers" and which ones are overrated? It’s time to do your research and sharpening your handicapping skills by looking at such things as recruiting, coaching changes and player suspensions.

By late October, the Blue Ribbon Basketball Yearbook will be arriving. At $22 plus shipping, it may be the freshest and most in-depth resource ever, isolating strengths and weaknesses of hundreds of teams and conferences, while highlighting top 25 teams, potential All-Americans and alerting you to up-and-coming powers. Annually, the Blue Ribbon is the hottest selling reference bought by bettors, sports services, handicappers, sports talk show hosts, players and coaches alike. The book usually sells out within a couple of weeks of its arrival!

Right now, one of the best magazines is Sporting News’ College Basketball ($7.99, 200 pages). It’s the only magazine I’ve seen with college schedules (Division I). It contains scouting reports on almost 350 teams; plus Division II and III team analysis (top 10 only); NAIA preview; junior colleges; women’s college teams; high school teams and potential stars for men and women.

The UNLV men are ranked 24th in the preseason predictions.

Athlon’s College Basketball (192 pages, $6.99) predicts Connecticut against North Carolina come the finals of the NCAA tournament and also has UNLV ranked No. 24 in the preseason Top 25.

Anyone interested in college hoops fantasy league play will find value in this magazine, along with a quick recruiting report on where the top high school seniors went when recruited and who are the top high school seniors, juniors and sophomores. Schedules are not included, but rosters and newcomers are listed along with in-depth evaluations of teams, front and backcourt along with a final analysis of the team.

Two books for those beginners to betting basketball are Robert Ross’ Betting to Win on Hoops: A Textbook for the Basketball Bettor (216 pages, 8x11 plastic spiralbound, $29.95) and Larry Seidel’s Investing in College Basketball (368 pages, hardbound, $34.50).

The Ross book covers both pro and college basketball, including betting Totals for the pros; money management; evaluating injuries; shopping for prices; homecourt advantage. The book was published in 2001 originally and is in "manuscript format." It will give serious players opportunity to study, outline or underline the advice and to go back and read it again, but the advice is solid and you’ll be a more disciplined player after reading it.

Author Seidel examines betting on basketball like a business investment – shopping for the right price. He discusses how power ratings affect the market; betting early season and conference play plus betting totals and money management advice.