Sports Thoughts was created because we wanted our own platform to share our ideas, opinions, and experiences on sports and gambling. The goal was to create valuable content in the form of articles, videos, podcasts, tweets, etc. that people would find helpful, maybe through expanding their knowledge, worldview, or ways of thinking. This tweet by @glatran35 says it perfectly: we’re not here to fish for you, we’re here to teach you how to fish.

Great sports bettors, like highly successful people in any field, have to be well-rounded and knowledgeable in many areas. Just a few examples:

  • The Sport in Question: If you’re betting on MLB games, you should probably have a solid understanding of the game of baseball.
  • Mathematics: Understanding odds, probabilities, statistics, data analysis and modeling, etc.
  • Psychology: Understanding the psychology of athletes, how it may affect their performance in certain situations, etc. Also self-awareness: How disciplined, motivated, and biased are you, and how will that affect your own betting decisions?
  • Economics and Game Theory: Sportsbetting = bettors vs. sportsbook(s). Understanding how sportsbooks and oddsmakers think, how they’re trying to maximize profits (aka your losses), how betting markets move, and how you should adjust your own strategies.

Of course, every individual area can then be explored more and with increasing and virtually endless complexity (for example for “data modeling” within “mathematics”, you can go into learning programming languages like Python and R, and dive into data science, databases, etc.). The point is, there’s too much stuff we all have to learn. To claim that we know everything there is to know about sportsbetting would be absolute blasphemy, and to share everything we do know at the moment would be infeasible.

Fortunately, there are these things called “books”, many of them written by brilliant people, that have helped us immensely in our careers in forming a solid knowledge base. For those who are asking “What are some good sports betting books out there?”, here’s a list of recommended books for all of you; obtain them, read them, and be enlightened!

Trading Bases: How a Wall Street Trader Made a Fortune Betting on Baseball by Joe Peta

As Kieran has mentioned many times (and written on the FAQ/Guide tab of his MLB model), his baseball betting model is based heavily on the techniques described in this book, Trading Bases. Highly recommended for any MLB bettor.

 

 

 

 

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Fooled by Randomness isn’t explicitly about sports betting at all, but it’s an extremely interesting read on risk, uncertainty, probability, and decision making, among other things. “I don’t agree with everything Nassim says and his writing style and arrogance can be annoying occasionally. But the book is still one of my all-time favorites.” – Jerry

 

 

 

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin

This book dives into the age old question: how much of success is due to skill, and how much of it is due to luck? “Many friends and family members to whom I’ve recommended this book have told me that they now have a changed perception of the world around them. Maybe it’ll change you too.” – Jerry

 

 

 

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan

Paul and Moynihan approach the problem of making money in the stock market from the opposite direction: not “how to win money”, but “how to not lose money”. Avoiding abstract psychological explanations, the book gives down to earth examples of how success leads to overconfidence, which leads to obnoxious behavior, which then (often but not always) leads to failure. A necessary read for all sports bettors.

 

 

 

Take Your Eye Off the Ball 2.0: How to Watch Football by Knowing Where to Look by Pat Kirwan

“The easiest way to tell if a person understands a sport is to watch a game with them and see what they’re watching. If their eyes follow the ball at all times, they have no clue what’s going on.” – Jerry

This is one of the most insightful and well-written books on the game of football, ever. A must read if you love the game.

 

 

 

The Art of a Beautiful Game: The Thinking Fan’s Tour of the NBA by Chris Ballard

A classic. “I wouldn’t describe Ballard’s work as “analytical”, but it’s definitely full of substance; he’s a tremendous reporter. The chapter on Kobe Bryant is a particularly remarkable and memorable read.” – Jerry

 

 

 

 

Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz

Engaging and entertaining, Everybody Lies is a phenomenal introduction to data science and the incoming data information age. Seth has stories on top of stories.

 

 

 

 

 


Have a favorite book(s) you want to tell us about? Comment below!


Jerry

loves sports, games of skill, game theory, psychology, blockchain tech, and many other things.

7 Comments

Lefty · July 19, 2018 at 8:46 PM

Although not specifically about sports or gambling, Principles by Ray Dalio is outstanding and I refer back to it often

CLX · July 24, 2018 at 6:35 AM

Great list!
Personally, I bet for entertainment and go off my intuition being a life long sports fan and our culture surrounding us with news coverage sports 24/7.
Its great to see to see in-depth material about probability, skill, and luck. I have some reading to do!
For those who need a copy of the books email me – 2576560954@qq.com
Donations appreciated!

BA · July 25, 2018 at 7:58 AM

Moneyball! Or start with the original Michael Lewis – Liar’s Poker.

    Jerry · July 25, 2018 at 9:05 PM

    Michael Lewis is fantastic.

J · August 21, 2018 at 7:31 PM

It seems like you are getting referral fees for all of these Amazon links. That’s something you should disclose upfront.

JW · August 28, 2018 at 5:16 AM

I would recommend Fortune’s Formula by William Poundstone be added to this list. It’s not technical, but it’s a fascinating read on the origins of information theory and the Kelly criterion.

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