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Howard Schwartz

Howard Schwartz, the "librarian for gamblers," was the marketing director for Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas, a position he held from 1979 to 2010, when he retired. Author of hundreds of articles on gambling, his weekly book reviews appear in numerous publications throughout the gaming industry.

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Investing In College Basketball By Seidel--One Of The Best Ever

11 Nov 2004

By Howard Schwartz

Every decade or so a new book emerges with new ideas from a new author--and so it is with Investing in College Basketball (368 pages, hardbound, $34.50) by Larry Seidel. Seidel sent me an outline of book months ago. I immediately asked for a sample chapter to see the quality and depth of his approach to betting college hoops. That one chapter convinced me to order quickly since the season openers neared.
The book is dynamite. It is for serious handicappers (it assumes beginners know the basics of sports betting) who use their brains--who think, use structure, logic and discipline to shop for prices, plan ahead and can apply fundamental financial and economic principles which apply to other types of investments.

Seidel, whose credentials include building and running management and information technology consulting businesses, holds degrees in economics and finance from the University of Chicago.

The book "addresses how the market and the many sports book work, the different types of wagering opportunities available, how to select a conference to specialize in, the process of identifying advantageous opportunities...(and) the key factors in assessing teams and the match-up in a specific game, money management..."

Not since Trace Fields' wonderful classic College Basketball Handicapping: A Professional Approach (116 pages, paperbound, $32),
Robert Ross' Betting to Win on Hoops: A Textbook for the Basketball Bettor (216 pages, paperbound, $29.95) and Chad Millman's The Odds (260 pages, paperbound, $16) has such an intelligent approach to wagering been offered.

Seidel, who hails from Virginia these days (no relation to the world class poker ace Erik Seidel), focuses on the 2003-2004 college season with specific examples in a dozen chapters. He discusses and explains how and why sports wagering is a highly competitive market, how power ratings affect the market and offers views on how to wager early in the season before conference play begins, and early/late conference seasons during post-season play.

Perhaps the meatiest chapter is titled 'Investment Opportunities'. This is where he delves into future betting such as half-time betting should the opportunity exist, situations where you might be able to buy extra points, betting totals and real-time or interactive wagering (usually offered on the Internet).

Seidel fully understands how important being a step ahead of the linemaker is when it comes to information. Thus, his chapter The Virtue of Conference Specialization (with emphasis on the Atlantic 10 Conference for this book) is must read. He next moves to the art of game analysis. For this section he underscores the importance of understanding this key question: "How is the team likely to play given the conditions of the game--the class, form and trends of the opponent relative to its own?" He refers to the eight areas of assessment: results against the spread, personnel, shooting and scoring (offense and defense), ball handling, rebounding, playing strategies, scheduling and rest, and history. The book, from page 171 on, applies his methodology to the 2003-2004 season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

If they ever offer a course in betting basketball at some college or university, I'm sure Seidel's book would be mandatory reading. Get this book if you want to improve the way you bet (or as Seidel says, invest) on college basketball. In addition, those who ask "Just what IS money management?" may finally understand why it is the difference between winning, surviving and staying confidently in action.

Copyright Gambler's Book Shop. All books reviewed in this article are available from Gambler's Book Shop (Gambler's Book Club), located at 630 South 11th Street, Las Vegas, Nevada 89101 and online at

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