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Ladies and gentlemen, let’s start the dialogue…

Reader's Response
Q: A.I. wants to know: In the 2021 Playbook Football Preview Guide there is a new column, "ADV", on the NFL's team schedule log that I don't see explained in the "Reading The Charts" section. What does the column represent?  Thank you.

A: Glad you asked. It's an ADVANCE LINE on all of the NFL games for the 2021 season from the SuperBook in Las Vegas. Meaning these were the power rating lines on these games before the season started.



Aslam wants to know: With NFL coming up and an extra week added, how will this extra week play into historic stats/trends used for handicapping? Is it a good/bad thing from a handicapping perspective to have an extra week?

Marc Says: It remains to be seen exactly how the extra added week will affect most of the teams.  My best estimate is that teams who are going nowhere - read: eliminated from the postseason - will likely perform at substandard levels, especially when facing opponents that are still alive for a postseason berth.  Note: when paired against other non-playoff bound foes, these teams generally tend to produce higher than usual scoring contests.  In summation, don't be surprised to find these out-of-contention teams to perform below expectations when it comes to evaluating their overall against the spread efforts.  


Q: Gerard M wants to know: Whatever happened to Monte Moore, the broadcaster for the Oakland A’s back in the ’70’s? I loved him.

Marc says: Moore called the Athletics games with a down-home style and has since retired. Today he emcee’s events commemorating the careers of Reggie Jackson and Dennis Eckersley and the anniversaries of Oakland A's World-Series-winning teams (1972,1973,1974,1989). Among his popular catchphrases were ‘There She Goes’, ‘The Swinging A's’, ‘The Good Guys In The White Shoes’ and ’Hotter Than A Two-Dollar Pistol’. He also called home runs ‘dingers’.



Q: Kerry H wants to know: Just finished re-reading. Betting the Bases by Mike Lee.  Any Mike Lee memories?

A: Yes, plenty of Mike Lee memories.  Mike was a good friend and a pioneer in the handicapping industry.  He loved music (was a terrific song writer) and a fundamentalist when it came to handicapping sports. He placed a strong emphasis on ferreting out live underdogs and being able to rush the football and being able to stop the run.  He left us much too young, and ever there is to be a Hall of Fame for sports handicappers, Mike would be a first ballot inductee.



Q - Clay wants to know: What does the acronym DKY round mean in your college basketball newsletter. Ex: DKY Round teams off a SU fav loss are 14-3-2 ATS…

A - DKY is an abbreviation for “Donkey”. Donkey round games in conference tournaments are those that are scheduled prior to the first round which teams need to win in oder to qualify and move on into the first round games.



Q: Sleggy from Ohio wants to know: When it comes to the NCAA Tournament, whose power rankings do you respect the most?

A:  Good question. The Ken Pom College Basketball Ratings ( are right at the top of the list, followed closely by the Jeff Sagarin Ratings ( 


Q: From Gino in Philadelphia: Love your complimentary Coffee Club each day. Thank you.  There are days I cannot get online. Can I get it emailed to me? I’d love having that convenience. 

A: You’re welcome. Yes you can have the Coffee Club delivered to your inbox each morning (it arrives at 6:00 AM ET) simply by registering for email delivery.  Cost is only .30 gets per day (that’s $10 a month) and you can cancel at any time.  Click here to register


Q: From Mark The Pin in Cleveland: I look forward to the Playybook Horse Race Report show every Saturday. Please ask Jon Hardoon if a horse can have a "bounce" number if he ran a career best in his last race but did not win the race.

A: That is a good question. I will pose the question to Jon on this week's Horse Race Report.


Q: From Mark The Pin in Cleveland : I love your new Playbook Horse Report show with Jon Hardoon from The Sheets. Please ask Jon how will the new "no lasix" rule affect horses that have been racing with it that will now no longer be allowed to do so, especially those in graded stakes races?

A: Great question. Watch the Playbook Horse Report show on the Withers Stakes Race for an answer to your question.


Q: Lanny from Paradise Valley wanted to say: I notice the Playbook website is using a new address. What’s up with that?


A: Marc Says – Because we’re a “sports” handicapping portal, we’ve added “Sports” to our name.  Be sure to bookmark the new address  Hope you like it!


Q: TJ from Cleveland wonders: How bad is the Heisman Trophy jinx in postseason bowl and playoff games?


A: Marc Says – Good question. According to the well-oiled machine, teams with players that have won the Heisman Trophy are 20-22 SU and 16-26 ATS over all since 1980 in the postseason, including 11-14 SU and 7-18 ATS when facing opponents coming off a SUATS win.



Q - David Montgomery asked: For over 50 years of handicapping I always thought the "bookmaker" wanted 50% of the money on each side and they collect the 'JUICE'. Now I go to a website and see games with 35 % on one side and 65% on the other with little or no line adjustment so my question is, "DO THE BOOKIES IN VEGAS GAMBLE ? I think this is important to know because with all of their " math boys" I would rather be on their side!

A - Safe to say the bookies in Vegas do gamble. Back kin the day in a perfect world they would look to balance the books with action on both sides of a game and be content to make profits from the vigorish (the 11/10 odds).  As we all know we no longer live in a perfect world, in more ways than one. They are dealing with a lot more “sharps” these days who they fear considerably more that the betting public on each play. Thus the books could have a lopsided 75/25 ratio on a game but if the 25 is sharp money and the 75 is public money there is a good likelihood that the 25 on the sharp side is paramount to the “hold" a bookmaker has  in determining a winning wager as opposed to the 75 wagered by the betting public. Another important thing know is whether the ratios are the amount of tickets, or the amount of money, wagered on the game. It’s a science all unto itself.

Q: William Miller said, You gave this trend out on your podcast recently, "Play against any favorite in game 8 of the season who won 10 games the previous season if they are allowing 24+ points per game 24-7 ATS 77%" The Florida Gators are playing their 8th game of the season and are allowing 28 points per game. Does this trend apply to teams with winning records? Or is it only for teams that have a .500 record or a losing record? 

A: Thanks for listening to the podcast and asking about the parameters of the angle.  The angle applies ONLY to losing teams.  It would have applied to Navy last week against South Florida had their game not been postponed. 

Q - Matt C. from Chicago wanted to say: I am long time listener to your podcast with Victor King, and a Playbook member who uses yours and Victor's products for the last few years.  In Week 9 as of Sunday Night, an astounding 9 NFL teams (Las Vegas Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, Tennessee Titans, Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, New York Giants, Houston Texans) won their games inside/out being outyarded by their opponent.  You kinda touched on this in your podcast this, but what is a handicapping tool/angle we can use for this, and why is this is such a trend this year or any year?  Keep up the great handicapping.  Take Care.

A - Another great question.  As you know handicapping is all about putting as many edges in our favor as we can. And the success of teams is reflected not only on the scoreboard but inside the stats - their body of work - as well. What I do is use plus (positive) and minus (negative) check marks on each teams performance ‘In The Stats’.  You can find these each week in the Playbook Midweek Alert Football Newsletter. The truer a team is ‘In The Stats’ the more reliable they become as a handicap. When a team wins games in and “inside-out” manner (wins the game but loses the stats) they go on an alert watchlist. Over the course of a season its best to pair up the teams with more positive check marks against those owning negative stats.  In the long run it churns out winners and along the way it helps to add to the weekly handicap of a game.  Hope this helps.



Q - Asiam A wanted to know: I have been following you for a few years and your 'Incredible Stat of the Day' that's posted daily have been rock solid as picks during the football season. Is there any possibility of increase the frequency of such stats to say 2 per day? Some of the stats are so incredible. it's my go to section every morning. Also, has the podcast stopped talking about college games? You guys used to dissect college game of the week before. Keep up the good work as always.

A - Thanks for the feedback, Asiam. While two 'Incredible Stats of the Day' would be nice they would only water down THE 'Incredible Stat of the Day', so we'll stick with the format. Due to the rescheduling and many postponements this college football season because of the COVID situation, and In trying to keep them under one hour, we have shortened the 'Against The Spread' football podcasts this season. Once the college football season draws closer to the bowl games we will likely add a game to the show. Best of luck this season.

Dave M wanted to know: In regard to college football, do you consider the number of "spring practices" THIS YEAR, as one of the metrics in handicapping? I have along with my other criteria and had some success. In week 3 ,this week, I am looking hard at Houston + pts against Baylor. Houston 8 to 0 spring practices and even with the extra time Baylor has to prepare, they were preparing for a different team! Baylor has new coaches too! Your thoughts on spring practices this season just for the first and second games. 

A - That’s a terrific question, Dave, especially during the year of COVID football. The Houston/Baylor spring practices number strongly favor the Cougars from a spring practice count.  More so, Appalachian State holds an 11-0 edge over Marshall, and Charlotte a 7-0 advantage versus North Carolina.  Let’s see it all works out. 



Q: Michael Wayne Osborne said: I have been following teams and I have several that I have been looking at. My question is what kind of formula do you use or can you use to predict a line. Hopefully you might be able to help me on that. This is for NFL Football I'm working on.

A: Thanks for the question, Michael. Predicting lines can be tricky as a lot goes into them that many gamblers are not aware of - such as injuries, motivation, coaches style of play and performance on the field to date. Those who rely on power rankings do so largely by establishing a ceiling number (100 on the positive high end and 80 on the negative low end, or conversely 0 on the high side and 20 on the low) - and adjust accordingly each week based on each team's performance effort, weighing them both straight-up and in the statistics. Whichever method you choose it's important to stay with your rating and adjustments. The best way to gauge is to see what the Vegas line is (follow the openers and the closing numbers, too) and weigh them against yours. FYI: there are also many "power ranking rating" sites on the internet. If you find one that you feel comfortable with they can save you a lot of time tweaking your numbers each week.


Q: Joseph from Georgia asked:  Marc, may are many calling for UGA to have the number 1 Defense this year. How do you feel about the Offense coming in with a new OC and mobile QB, and do you feel they are currently underrated? 

A: As you know, Joseph, Georgia has done the best job of recruiting the last four years, ranking Number One overall ahead of Alabama. Amongst those blue ribbon recruits is a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. The defense has the potential to be the top stop unit in the land. The offense - with only 3 starters returning - will need to adjust to new OC Todd Monken (recent Cleveland Browns OC) and highly touted QB JT Daniels (from USC), while having to replace four starting OL. It’s a good thing they are recruiting kings. 



Q: Justin A asked:  When updating stats and trends what final spread is being used? I can probably find at least 3 different final spreads on any 1 game from various sportsbooks...whose spread is or has the official final line? 

A: Thanks, Justin.  We use the final closing lines at for our odds.  These become the lines that we import into our “well-oiled’ machine (aka our sports database). While lines often fluctuate and tend to change the most often just prior to kickoff, the Don Best line seems to be the closet to a true consensus line.  However, while we do the same for basketball, beware that closing hoops lines can change violently just prior too tipoff (sometime 3-4 points within the final 15 minutes).



Q: Kendrick in Las Vegas wondered: Will the NFL consider playing games in a bubble this 2020 season?

A: Only if they have to.  Playing a a bubble means sacrificing home fields, and while there likely will be no fans in attendance to start the season the hope is they can begin to ease them in by season’s end.  Cardboard cutouts aren’t going to cut it.  Piped in cheers is just a pipe dream. So, yes, they hope to eventually let fans start attending games.  But in order to do so, strict protocols and guidelines will have to be in place and that will likely prove difficult with teams flying to different cities and staying in different hotels.  My guess is that they will eventually have to bite the bullet and start the season in designated bubble cities. 


Q: Tony from South Philly asked: Why is it college football teams, as opposed to NFL teams, tend to perform at much the same level from one year to the next?

A: Another great question. We often contend that history is a strong indicator of the future. While graduation in college football often enforces constant player turnover the fact of the matter is due to consistency in recruiting and coaching staffs who remain in tact for longer periods of time, thus teams can be expected to play at a more consistent level from year to year. On the other hand, due to the demands of winning, NFL teams change complexion much more often due to free agency and constant personnel turnover. It's a theory shared by our friends at Football Outsiders as well.

Q: Rick W. wanted to know - Historically after a new NFL stadium is built, what are the SU and ATS records for the Home and Visitor teams in the very first game played there? Anything significant? Of course I'm alluding to the new Las Vegas Raiders stadium for their 1st home game coming up. 

A: Another good question. Since 1980, NFL teams in new stadiums are 123-110-4 ATS overall in home games during the first year at their new digs. In Game One they are 17-12 SU and 14-14-1 ATS. However, they are at their best at home in Year One in their new stadium when coming off a loss and facing an opponent coming off a win, going 40-24-3 AST overall, including 16-4-2 ATS as home dogs of more than 3 points. So while our search of home openers may have been negligible, we managed to ferret out a rock-solid 80% ATS winning angle. Thanks to your inquiry, we're now both better informed. FYI: Both the Chargers and the Rams will also call SoFi Stadium their new home in 2020 should the football Gods have their way.

Q: Ronnie from New York City wants to know - What current NFL coach owns the best spread record in games when his team is coming off a loss?  

A: Good question, Ronnie. It's always good to know which coaches have met with the best success in getting their teams back up off the mat after a loss. And that would be Minnesota's Mike Zimmer, who stands 23-14 SU and 27-9-1 ATS in games when the Vikings are coming off a loss, including 15-5 SU and 17-3 ATS at home in theses games. Note that Seattle's Pete Carroll is next in line behind Zimmer at 41-16 SU and 34-18-5 ATS in games after a defeat with the Seahawks. You asked. We answered.