‘You can bet on’ these handicapping helpfuls

Aug 28, 2012 3:00 AM

To kick off this review of sports handicapping books, I’ve chosen an oldie but goodie from respected sports columnist and former radio host, Larry Grossman, titled You Can Bet On It! (218 pgs, $14.95). 

Why? Because its list of contributing authors is a who’s who of sports authorities: Lem Banker, Andy Iskoe, Mike Lee, Mort Olshan, Sonny Reizner and Roxy Roxborough, to name a few. 

Aptly subtitled “Inside Secrets of Sports Betting from the Men Who Set the Line,” the book covers major handicapping topics such as How the Lines Are Set, The ABC’s of Sports Handicapping, Betting Over/Unders, Props, and Parlays. I like Grossman’s choice of short clips that are long on cool advice from the pros—reading 10 minutes of advice could save you 10 times the cost of this timeless book.

The Unemotional Football Bettor, subtitled “27 Time Tested Strategies Averaging 62.3% Winners Over the Last 20 Seasons,” (182 big pgs, spiral, $39.95) is Scott Klein’s contribution to what he hopes will be a winning season for his readers. “The sad truth is that bettors often … bet different amounts based on gut feelings and emotions,” Klein says, that are often fueled by “fear, ignorance, greed and hope, and conspire to rob us of our ability to make sensible, intelligent decisions.”

Then he goes about showing you how to break old, losing habits in a sensible—yes, unemotional—way. Included among the more scientific betting strategies Klein presents in separate sections on college and NFL football handicapping are The Juiceman, The Z Factor, Contrarian Style, Bounce Back, Letdown, and Negative Momentum. Spiced with stats, this book aims at giving you control over emotional betting decisions, hence control over your bankroll.

Scorecasting, subtitled “The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won” (278 pgs, $15) by Tobias J. Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim is hot off the press. This engrossing dossier on several sports includes fascinating topics such as The Myth of the Hot Hand, Are the Chicago Cubs Cursed? and Whistle Swallowing—why fans and leagues want officials to miss calls. Huh?!

And here’s another provocative chapter: How a Coin Toss Trumps All—why “American Idol” is a fairer contest than an NFL overtime. Yikes! Here’s what the Washington Times said: “Scorecasting shatters many of the most cherished athletic clichés with hard data and headstrong argument … simultaneously shocking and sensible.” How can you pass up this one?

For experienced, dyed-in-the-wool football handicappers, Money Management and Winning NFL Handicapping, Second Edition, (114 big pgs, spiral, $29.95) by Dr. Ed Meyer is an erudite yet sensible approach to making money. “Beating the NFL linesmakers is a significant and noble challenge,” Meyer says. “It takes brains. It takes mental stamina. It takes hard work.” That is, if you’re serious about it.

Featuring the SDQL, Meyer delves into Optimizing Your Return on Risk, Buying a Half Point on Sides and Totals, Key Numbers in the NFL, and 12 Keys to Winning NFL Handicapping. In this well-written tome, you get the scoop and the stats that should lead you to the winners’ circle. 

These and thousands of other titles are available at Gambler’s Book Club. Order them at gamblersbookclub.com or by phone at 1-800-522-1777 or 702-382-7555 M-F 9-7 and Sat 10-6. Opened in 1964, GBC is at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, a short drive from the Strip and airport.