Issue 49
August 14 - 20, 2001
Volume 1
page 3

Two Fresh New "How To" Titles For
Serious Football Handicappers

By Howard Schwartz

It’s extremely rare, but most pleasing to see the arrival of two new “how to” handicapping books for football bettors. To have both arrive within a few days of each others and before the season opens is advantageous for those who need time to devour new ideas or modify present techniques. The books are Sharp Sports Betting (378 pages, paperbound, $19.95) by Stanford Wong, and Beat the Sports Books (162 pages, paperbound, $29.95) by Dan Gordon.

Wong, previously known for his expertise in blackjack, video poker, pai gow poker and tournament play, (He’s written and published on all these topics.) has made the transition to sports betting—primarily football betting in this case, with emphasis on the NFL, with ease. Clearly, he understands that sports betting is a popular form of wagering—in casinos and on the Internet—and, in fact, he has been quite visible himself in handicapping contests in recent years.

Now he’s put his research and experience into printed format. He explains many of his extremely sharp theories on money management; betting teasers, totals and other props (such as season wins by an NFL team); while comparing the money line vs. the spread and thoroughly examining the home field advantage.

There’s a major chapter on betting sports on the Internet, but he’s still not convinced it’s the way to go. “As for me personally. ... I still prefer Las Vegas and its sportsbooks,” he says. Before he gets to that point of rejection, he covers a lot of territory, including the subjects of bonuses; use of Western Union and wire transfers; withdrawing funds and possible problems; the potential for credit card fraud; cheating; name confusion (similar sounding sports books’ names); inadequate capital on the part of the books; owners as gamblers; cancellation of bets; over-limit betting; the “mistreatment” factor; being pegged as “undesirable” and being pegged as a winner.

He’s organized the book so it appeals to three distinct levels of readership.

The beginner will be able to grasp the basics. The language is clear, examples are offered, the terms are explains (there’s a handy glossary at the end of the book for further help) and the book is indexed by subject.

The experienced bettor will get a diverse, fresh approach to betting football (there are some sections on baseball as well) including segments on testing specific theories, problems and solutions. (Remember Wong taught at Stanford many years ago—and he’s still a teacher. He loves to present situations and guide the student to a solution—only here it’s done with money you’ll eventually be “investing” on a sports team.)

Finally, those who look for a mathematical edge will rejoice in Wong’s application of Poisson (a specific mathematical distribution) and the Poisson distribution (what the binomial distribution becomes when one of the two outcomes is rare). The section on Poisson Props—in this case, keyed to that wild and crazy Super Bowl parlay card--may be one of the most interesting ever seen on the subject.

In summary, this is a book keyed to helping the bettor find value; to direct individuals away from the unwise wagers and to examine where the edge may be. There are warnings; ideas; examples; situations; plus a vital one-chapter section on basketball’s March Madness, with a focus on over-under props.

Dan Gordon’s Beat the Sports Books was a long time in the works. The man knows his subject—betting football—he has such a vast knowledge of it all. His book, written from the standpoint of a street-wise handicapper who’s examined virtually every aspect of beating pro football, becomes the second incredibly vital work to have for this and future betting seasons.

Gordon is the nitty-gritty-type of handicapper-advisor. He doesn’t delve into

math or probability, but instead keys on concrete betting examples to prove or disprove a point. He tells you how to evaluate teams, situations, plays and bets based on factors such as home field advantage; power ratings; momentum; the posted numbers and past performance.

The book’s great strengths are in answering key questions and supplying in-depth answers. Examples would be: how the line is set; suckers bets and their allure; parlays and parlay cards; the mental attitude in winning; power ratings; figuring injuries with the ratings; making your own numbers; how to make a price; looking at the season from games one through four to games nine through sixteen.

Gordon has a unique way of investigating pro football teams. He is interested in keeping records on a week-to-week basis, keeping a number rating power spread. He examines the team’s “emotional rating” and “character rating” then follows with offensive and defensive ratings. Later he studies a team’s performance on “key drives,” tracks roster changes, keeps box scores and records how teams do after wins and losses.

His views on money management may be great interest to those who have no idea of the importance of percentage of bankroll betting to survival during a long season. This is a book chock full of ideas, designed to illuminate, explain a unique approach by a veteran handicapper who’s in there every week, looking for that ever elusive edge.

Both books are available at Gambler’s Book Shop in Las Vegas. Call 1-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Pacific time, Monday through Saturday, using MasterCard, VISA or Discover only to order. Books are usually shipped the next working day. If you like, you may order via the store’s website at, suing the credit cards indicated. You may also send a check or money order, adding $6.50 postage for one book, $7.50 for both books. The store’s free catalog is available on request, listing 1,000 books in 30 areas of gambling including sports betting. Videotapes and computer software are included. The entire catalog can be viewed on the store’s website also. Mail checks or money orders to the store at 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101.

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