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By Howard Schwartz (Manager of the Gambler's Book Shop in Las Vegas)

It's only about two months away. You can hear the rumbling in the background, as publishers prepare dozens of new college and pro football books, magazines, record-keepers, angle guides for the printing presses. The drought is almost over. Players expect much of the football books to arrive in late and July. It's the 2003 Pro Football Pointspread Workbook (30 pages, three-ring binder, $24.95) from Chris White Sports.

Compiler White tells you what the preseason schedule is for the NFL (first game is Aug. 2 in Tokyo--Jets vs. Bucs) and then it's Aug. 4, Packers vs. Chiefs at Canton, Oh. Regular pre-season games begin Aug. 7. The book lists the regular season games with room to keep records; scores; Totals and there are about 20 betting trends and angles for each team for 2003, along with how each team did in 2002 against the spread and in the overs and unders, with date of game played.

There will certainly be other books out there in coming weeks with similar information, but for those who can't wait, White's book is ready now.

(Al O'Donnell's Point Spread Playbook at 110 pages, paperbound, priced at $19.95 to arrived at Gambler's Book Shop the first week of June.)

One football book which was first published in 1995, titled Key Games, Key Plays, Winning NFL Analysis (52 pages,. 8x11 paperbound, $14.95) by David Bender, is now available again. The is an excellent guide, for the price, for beginners who want to understand more about those factors that impact a team covering the spread or failing to cover.

Bender explains the importance of money management; how to find value in the line; the home field advantage; the importance of strength of schedule; how injuries affect performance among other areas. This book, although eight years old, still offers advice, logic and a sense of direction to those who are clueless about handicapping pro football intelligently.

Mike Helm, who wrote Exploring Pedigree, has his annual update to that title, with his Sire Ratings 2003-2004 . The 97-page paperbound ($35) tells you the names of stallions that produced offspring which did very well or very poorly as first-time starters; performed well or poorly on off-tracks; a stamina index (who'll do best in sprints vs. routes); which offspring mature early or late; which do well on turf.

Thus, if you believe pedigree pays off in the long run for handicappers with an eye for exacting research, this book should pay for itself in no time.

(The books mentioned here are available from Gambler's Book Shop, 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101. Call l-800-522-1777 from 9 to 5 Monday through Saturday Pacific time to order, using only MasterCard, VISA or Discover card (no Amex accepted). You may order through the store web site at and view the store's 1,000 books, videos and computer software. You may also call or write and ask for the free 80-page catalog to be sent to you. The store, founded in 1964, is located about two miles from Downtown Las Vegas, and the same distance from where the Strip begins, a block west of Maryland Parkway, just off Charleston Boulevard.)