Maybe you have never been interviewed about your vices. Perhaps the woman you live with has not missed the item in budgeting your salary. Nevertheless, somehow "Sports Action" knows that everyone bets at least 50 infootball every year."
Sports Action is one of hundreds such tabloids now beginning to clutter the postman's sack or clamor for attention on newsstands.
Sports Action's promotional literature trying to get you in on a good thing cites features it carries, such as "The Dirty Dozen: The 12 dirtiest football players and how they affect the point spread" . . . "Do football owners affect the point spread?" . . . "Beating the betting tickets: How to get the most out of your money." (12 issues, 6 mos. $6.)
For the high rollers there is the "Hey, big spender" come-on from the Starpoint Publishing Corp., whose "Winning Points" offers an additional "late telephone service, featuring last minute intelligence from our sources across the nation."
". . . Concerning weather, late injuries, team morale,latest betting trends, psychological factors, and other intangibles which contribute to team success or failure."
Claiming that last year its opening pro selections won five out of five games the first two weeks and college and pro picks stood at 70 per cent versus point spread, Starpoint offers one week of college or pro picks for $20 each or $400 for both for the season.
Archer Wilson of the newspaper division of District News Company, which is the main distributor of magazines and tabloids in Washington, says, "There must be hundreds of football papers. We hardly ever see them for other sports.
"Last year we handled three of the one-page foldover types," Wilson said, "but they gave us grief. The chain stores did not want to handle them because people took them, thinking they were free.
"If you looked at some of them from the same firm, one of them would pick the Redskins to lose, the other to win. The right one would brag in the next issue.
"We are not carrying any this year. We are running out of newsstands. Fewer people shop the downtown stands since television. Tom Harmon's football paper sold well. The Sporting News seldom mentions point spreads."
Jimmy (The Greek) Snyder says he does not subscribe to any of the strictly tip sheets but accounts for their popularity by remarking, "Eighty-five per cent of all betting in sports is done on football. That's where the action is.
"It is the ameteur bettors who go for the tout papers, like doctors and lawyers.Anyone who follows football closely can pick as well as those touts who charge $50-$100 for phone service. Some offer specials on Sunday morning for $25, or whatever the traffic will bear.
"All I need is information about pass performances. Some of those papers and phone services claim, say, 81.2 accuracy, or make 'money-back' guarantees. It's a rip-off . . . a crime to the nation.
"Imagine what I could get if I offered to lend my name to some of those people. I have been offered $100,000. I turned it down. You can get my picks free in newspapers and on CBS on Sundays.
"One outfit tried to suggest that I was associated with its tips by offering to send a copy of my book (his life story) to anyone who bought the outfits service. I blew my stack but there was nothing I could do about it."
Besides the Tom Harmon tabloid, which Snyder says was backed financially by the late Howard Hughes, other popular periodicals specializing in the sport are Football News, published in Gross Pointe, Mich.: Pro Football Weekly, in Chicago, and College & Pro Football Newsweekly, in Great Neck, N.Y.
The Sporting News deals in all sports although it originally concentrated on baseball. The publication attracts premium national advertising. In a recent issue the only and it had from another sports publication was that of Football News.
College & Pro Football Newsweekly is one of several sports publications from the M.S. Sports, Inc. firm, which makes it clear it thinks Americans speculate with a bob or two as well as spectulate games in the flesh or at TV.
A subscriber also receives for his $10 "at least four or five football newsletters during the preseason and the month of September" and is given to understand he will receive, free, a "rating report of over 50 football services and newsletters," allegedly worth $100.
Another publication from that firm is "Kyle Rote's Sportsform, the weekly encyclopedia of football (which) will match its football selections and 'Best Bets' with anyone," for $3 an issue.
Sports Action is a publication from the same house that carriers all manner of advertisements from football and horse racing tipsheets, including its own Sports Eye.
Pro Football Weekly does not attract high-revenue national advertising but that has not deterred it from charging $2 more per issue that most of the slick magazines, to generate income.
Until now it has been an insiders publication, read avidly in the trade, according to an anthology on sporte done by Sports Illustrated a couple years ago.
The editorial content is only accidentally of use to bettors, but its ads reflect no moral concern about the popularity of the sport among gamblers and bookmakers.
A recent issue carried an in-house promotion of its own Pro Football Predictor; ads for Insider's Pro Football Newsletter; Superpick; American Sports Wire (claiming success of 86 per cent on "Monday Nite NFL 1976," for $85 a season); Louisiana Gridweek; Doug Buffone's Chicago Bear Report (not devoted to the point spread); Sports Publications (telephone service "to overcome the point spread" for $300 a season); Jim Feist's "50-Yard Line;" Sheidan Specials ($450 a season) "not on newsstands"), and Bernard Gittelson's books, "Biorhythm Sports Forecasting," at $9.95 a copy.
The "fourth network," New York Telephone, offers up-to-the-moment inside stories about your favorite teams for merely dialing 999-1313, prefacing it with area code 212 if you are out of town. An average of 50,000 calls is received daily. Or, as Jimmy The Greek suggests, all you have to do is get the point spread in your daily paper.
But there's one born every minute, as Phineas T. Barnum once said, and the volume of handicapping publications indicates that the butter-and-egg money is hardly safe at this time of the year.