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From The Wall Street Journal, FRIDAY, NOV 12, 1971

Better Bets? Tip Sheets Proliferate As Americans Increase Wagering on Football
They Operate in a Gray Area Of the Law, Seeking to help Subscribers Beat the Odds
'You've Got to Have Instinct'

By Terry P. Brown
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal

The voice on the telephone was assured and enthusiastic. "This weekend I like the New York Giants over Atlanta in the pros," it said. "I give only five or six top pro picks a season, and the Giants over Atlanta is one of them, It's a five-star special."

The voice belongs to Huey, co-proprietor of Huey's Enterprises, of Fort Lee, N.J. The Giants are the team that he and his partner, Mike, think are most likely to beat the bookmasters' point spreads in football games this weekend. For such opinions, the partners' 160 customer pay an average of about $50 a week during the football season. "It's a nice living," says the 29 year0old Huey.

Huey's lucrative three-year old business is what's called a sports information service, or "tip sheet." People who know about such things say that there are about 200 of them around the country. Most have been formed in the last five years to capitalise on the growing propensity of Americans to wagor on the outcome of college and pro football games and, to a lesser extent, basketball.

Like many tip sheet operators, Huey doesn't like his last name known because his enterprise operates within a gray area of the law. Federal statutes make it illegal to transmit gambling information across state lines or otherwise use information interstate facilities to promote wagering, but they exempt information that is classified as "news."

Relative Peanuts
That's why printed tip sheets prominently display the statement that the material they convey is "news matter" that isn't intended as "an inducement to violate any existing laws." It's also why concerns like Huey's, which operate by phone, make it a point to profess ignorance of the use to which their customers put their selections.

Indeed, those who have made a go of the tip sheet business admit that they base their choices more on hard work than on knowing secrets. Huey, who made a gambling line for a sports newspaper before striking out on his own (Mike handles the business end), says he "occasionally" gets useful tips from college students he knows ("Like whether the quarterback is getting along with his girl") and from a lawyer friend who represents several pro athletes. Customers who follow teams in their own areas closely also are helpful from time to time, he adds.

"But that's just a small part of it," he says. "First off, I subscribe to about 40 newspapers from big cities all around the country. I read everything on football I can get my hands on. On Mondays, I get the official point spread and read it carefully. I block mentally the 10 or 12 games I think are playable. Then I go over everything again and again until I get down to the games that seem the best to play. Instinct had a lot to do with it.. You've got to have the feel."

Some Free Advice

On the Giants-Falcons game this Sunday at Atlanta, Huey "feels" that the Giants are an "underrated team with one of the roughest schedules" in professional football. "If everyone is healthy, the Giants will beat Atlanta, which is a seven-point favorite," he says. "I think the top line on the game should be only three points, giving Atlanta the home-field advantage. Atlanta has lost Tommy Nobis, their star middle linebacker, for the rest of the year. The Giants have running backs Ron Johnson and Tucker Fredrickson possible returning after injuries, and Fran Tarkenton likes to beat his old coach Norm Van Brocklin. I feel strongly about this one."

Huey says that since he set up shop in 1968, he has picked 62 winners in 70 games. But that doesn't mean that all his customers are happy, he quickly adds. "To hear some of those guys tell it, they only bet on my losers."

The above are selected extracts from an article that appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal on Friday, November 12th, 1971.

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