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By Howard Schwartz

Annually, Marc Lawrence of Cleveland, Ohio produces his Black Book (108 pages, paperbound, $29.95) and players (including many who enter football contests) who love what are known as "100 percent trends" use it throughout the season to handicap. This book, along with a first-timer titled Stop Making Those Dumb Bets and Start Making The Tough Ones (107 pages, paperbound, $29.95) have arrived at Gambler's Book Shop), as the 2002 football season gets up a head of steam.

Subtitled A Guide to Picking College and Pro Football Winners, the Black Book (no relation to the books by the same title which either bar cheats or criminals or identify blackjack counters) gives the player betting systems that are totally for or totally against a team. For example, Dallas in the NFL: They are 11-0 against the spread when they are coming off a straight-up loss as a favorite when allowing 35 or more points. Also, looking at Atlanta, the Falcons are 0-6 against the spread after a straight-up win against the 49ers.

In addition, one can see the entire NFL schedule for each team, game by game and isolate angles for each contest. From page 46 on, the book concentrates on the colleges, from Air Force to Wyoming, with similar angles. The trends for colleges are particularly useful because there are so many of them that a handicapper has trouble keeping tables on each one. So for the player who wants to do a minimum amount of work, wants the research done and easy to use, and hopes history repeats itself, this book is a delight.


By Howard Schwartz

Jerry Higgins, from Reno, NV, focuses his book on betting pro football. Although the title could be a bit shorter than Stop Making Those Dumb Bets and Start Making the Tough Ones, it does get to the point when offering advice based on analysis of the 2001 NFL season and his own experiences. This includes use of power ratings; examining concepts like yards per point and yards per passing attempt; team turnovers and turnover ratios; identifying strong home dogs; playing streaks properly; observing double digit dogs; identifying offensive and defensive "peaks" of teams throughout the season; considering when to bet the money line; "sandwich games"; money management decisions; betting the playoffs.

Overall, the theme of Higgins' book is making bets on a very selective basis, while examining the criteria for making solid plays. There are 17 weeks of the 2001 season and a lesson each week. Higgins' writing is simple, and to the point—not much technical or mathematical material to plow through.

(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.)