In this article I discuss books about sports betting. No matter what your preferences are, there many selections to choose from available at online retailers such as Amazon.com. However, truth be told, many of these books are not worth reading. Some lack substance while others are only for entertainment. Even some of the better ones that contain nuggets of valuable information are mixed with outdated and/or otherwise harmful advice.
Recommended Sports Betting Strategy Books
#1 is Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong – This book has long been considered the sports betting bible. I’ll however warn it is a thick book and a lot of it explains the very basics such as what is a straight bet, teaser and parlay. If you’re experienced you will need to do a lot of skimming past those explanations. The front cover is also deceiving as it says 2009 on it. The book had only small edits since its original version was released in 2001. The odds specific information such as bookies offering 2-team 6-point teasers at +100 and buying on and off the 3 is outdated. Bookies have since adjusted their odds, no doubt thanks to this book giving away much more information than any gambler should have offered. All that said, much is still relevant. This is a great book to train a person how to start thinking like a winning bettor. While it is heavily NFL football based in examples, the logic it teaches can be applied to any sport.
#2 is Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting by King Yao – this book compliments but does not replace Stanford Wong’s Sharp Sports Betting. It is similar in that about 40% of it covers the basics. This book however does a bit better job at that by explaining the very simple math. Moving past that you get to the intermediate material such as evaluating lines with half point differences, pricing props, etc. The books section on hedging and middling is a near must read. There is also information covered about betting NFL halves, baseball totals, and much more. What Yao does brilliantly is point readers in the right direction without giving too much way. Again, as mentioned earlier, not being laid out clear cut is actually good news as betting is a market and in the long run you’ll appreciate it is this way.
#3 is Conquering Risk: Attacking Vegas and Wall Street by Elihu D. Feustel – the author of this is better known by his betting forum handles Justin7 and daringly. He is a licensed US attorney, a former PinnacleSports.com employee, and for many years was the leading player/bookmaker dispute analyst of sportsbookreview.com where he also moderated their handicapper’s think tank strategy forum. This is a serious book that explains how the betting market works much better than the others. It has explains how to build a database and get started with predictive modeling. It is a great book! But is not so without concerns. It repeats strategy taught in Sharp Sports Betting regarding many props following Poisson distribution which I’m not so confident is correct. It also re-covers a lot of what is in King Yao’s book too. There are some sections I felt I was left hanging too and not in a though provoking kind of way. Still, despite the downsides, the value this book offers is considerable.
The above sincerely concludes the list of sports betting books I can easily recommend. That is unless your interest is more for entertainment purposes. If that’s the case you can’t go wrong ordering The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions by Michael Konik. As for strategy, if you goal is to win a lot of money in this industry you should read a lot more books than the three on the above list. What I suggest doing is reading book reviews written by Elihu D. Feustel.
If you didn’t make the connection, what I just linked you to is the author of the book I #3 most recommend reviewing other sports betting books. Why is he doing this? Probably because most sports bettors who are serious do just that. They sift through information looking for the ideas that can help them improve. What’s neat here is his comments tell you what he found valuable. Another place you can find the same from other bettors is in this 2+2 thread.
To take this all a step further, as you read books you can look now and many times in the future at that books reviews on Amazon. In doing this you can see whose comments and ratings you most agree with. From there check out their Amazon profile and see if they have rated or reviewed other sports betting books too. Again, while none of the information is all just laid out there easy to find, gems can be found all over. If you become serious about betting sports you should want to read as much as you can looking for the gems. What I covered here is likely the most efficient way to go about doing just that.
Why Most Betting Books are Poor
Fade the Public is an article which explains the reasons that betting is a market. While I suggest reading it in full, to recap: if a sportsbook, betting site, or bookie offers a +EV bet on the main betting option of a popular sport, the richest and most successful bettors and the arbitrage players are going to bet. Not only will they bet the off price, they will keep betting it and won’t stop betting it, until such time the bookie adjust the odds to the point that smart money no longer has an interest.
If you are familiar with Kelly betting, you will understand smart money becomes large money. All the plethora of fans placing $20 and $50 bets does not outweigh what sharp sophisticated bettors wager. Bookies are not looking to so much balance their action. That part is a myth. They want to avoid taking a beating from the sharp bettors and therefore adjust based on the action that comes in from such.
If you put all this information together you can probably reason that betting is a market of supply and demand. It is a fierce competition over finding +EV bets. The more competitive the market place is the less opportunity there is for the sophisticated player. Truly talented gamblers make much more money keeping what they know private than they would even if they went on to become a bestselling betting author. Books about gambling is just too small of a niche.
The Good News
The good news is there are many somewhat successful gamblers that have written books. More often the case is the author couldn’t quite hack it as a pro. In a couple other cases the authors used book sales as a stepping stone. As mentioned many of these books are not perfect, but there is still great value to be had. What this involves is sorting and sifting. While this might sound frustrating it is actually an awesome fact.
Well, because, betting is a market! If a book said all you needed to know everyone would be doing it and the market would dry right up. Those who spend the time searching out which books to order, and then actually read them and work to decipher what is of value and what is not will be glad in the end that things are this way.
Author: Jim Griffin