The boss asked me to put together a post listing the best sports betting books you could read in 2020.
I’m unusually qualified to write a post about the subject because I’ve been looking for good books about sports gambling for 20 years.
Most aren’t worth reading.
This list of the best sports betting books starts with the greatest of all possible tomes on the subject, and all the other books on the list are just footnotes.
And if you get tired of studying sports betting books, you can always try the free casino games online. And if you play for real money, you’ll get a 350% deposit bonus. WildVegasCasino.
1- The Best of the Best Sports Betting Books: Sharp Sports Betting
If you want to know why Sharp Sports Betting by Stanford Wong is the cream of the crop, you should read Nick Christenson’s review.
If you don’t have time for that, here’s a high-level overview:
Sharp Sports Betting is a book by Stanford Wong about advantage sports betting. Pi Yee Press published Sharp Sports Betting in 2001, but it’s still one of the best sports betting books on the market.
In fact, it’s THE best sports betting book you can buy.
Stanford Wong is one of the most respected authorities in the field of advantage gambling authorship. If you’ve read much about how to win at blackjack, you probably already know who he is.
You’ll find detailed definitions of basic sports betting terminology everyone should know. This includes a detailed guide to what the numbers mean on the listings of bets at a sportsbook, online or off.
The book also covers money management as it applies to sports bettors.
The most interesting and helpful information is found in the sections on sports betting math. He makes the concepts easy enough to understand that you don’t need a math degree to follow them, but it helps if you did well in your high school math classes.
The book also discusses some ways to handicap various sports. It does a good job of explaining how hard sports handicapping really is. In fact, one of the major themes of the book is that you should find good bets to make via math rather than via handicapping.
The sections on parlays and proposition bets are gold.
Sharp Sports Betting focuses more on NFL betting than other sports. That’s because it’s aimed at an American audience, and most bettors in the USA are betting the NFL.
Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate sports bettor, Sharp Sports Betting is essential reading.
2- Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football
I’ll just refer to Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football as Mathletics for the rest of this section.
Mathletics is written by Wayne L. Winston and has a publication date from 2012.
As you might have gleaned from the title, Mathletics is about how you can apply math principles to betting on sports. It focuses on 3 sports:
The most important section of the book for my audience is the 4th section, which includes analyses of things like how an NBA team performs when playing games back-to-back.
Also, his section on creating power ratings is great. If you’ve never created power ratings before, you’ll be able to do so after reading this section. With some diligence and attention, you can probably create power ratings as accurate as those you see in major newspapers or on television.
Don’t avoid this book just because you dislike math. It’s an important book that should be on every sports bettor’s shelf.
3- Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting
My guess is that fewer than 5% of sports bettors are consistently profitable. King Yao might be one of them, or he might not, but I don’t doubt that reading his book Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting might help the average bettor win money consistently.
Yao focuses on showing you how he analyzes various sports bets to see whether they offer him an advantage.
His goal is to find a betting line that’s priced incorrectly. This means focusing on bets that aren’t as popular or well-understood, as those bets are usually priced correctly.
Your goal isn’t to live an exciting lifestyle as a gamble. your goal is to win money. Yao’s approach might seem boring to some people, but winning is never boring to me.
Many of the chapters of the book were adapted from the online magazine at Two Plus Two.
4- Sports Betting 101
Sports Betting 101 is a good introduction to betting on sports and is appropriate for novices. You can’t expect anything ground-breaking or learn everything you need to know about beating the books, here, though.
Also, Sports Betting 101 is an older book, first published in 1992. Arne K. Lang did a good job of writing what one would hope would be an evergreen book.
Of course, in 1992, Internet sports betting wasn’t a thing, so the book is a little out of date.
But if you’re looking for nothing more than a solid introduction to the basics, you could do a lot worse.
5-Sports Betting: A Computer Expert’s Winning Secrets for Betting on Baseball and Football
This book, Sports Betting: A Computer Expert’s Winning Secrets for Betting on Baseball and Football, was written by Jim Jasper in 1979. That’s right — I’m recommending a book on sports betting that was written 40 years ago.
In fact, Sports Betting: A Computer Expert’s Winning Secrets for Betting on Baseball and Football is now out of print.
Jasper’s goal with the book is to provide an analytical framework you can use to bet on baseball and football and win money consistently. That should be everyone’s goal, I think.
And yes, a lot of this book is out of date. Some of it is flat-out obsolete.
But it still offers a lot of value.
For one thing, you don’t even need a computer to do the calculations in this book. It was written before everyone had a personal computer. Learning how to do these calculations without a computer will provide you with a better grounding in what’s actually going on here.
The real gold in this book are Jasper’s strategies for betting on baseball, which I’m confident will still be effective today. I’d be surprised is his approach to handicapping baseball isn’t similar to what the books do, in fact.
The section on the NFL is less valuable and is probably best ignored. It might be interesting from an anecdotal perspective, but football has changed a lot in 40 years.
As I said, this one’s out of print, so you’ll probably need to find it on eBay or through a third-party seller on Amazon. When I price-checked it on Amazon, they had used copies available for less than $30.
6- The Logic of Sports Betting
Ed Miller is one of my favorite poker writers, so I was thrilled when I found out that he’d written a book about sports betting. The Logic of Sports Betting is also one of the most recently published books on this list since it came out in May 2019.
Miller’s co-author spent 15 years beating the sportsbooks, so their combined knowledge is impressive.
The Logic of Sports Betting offers short, simple explanations of ideas that are fundamental to success in sports betting. The book is divided into 3 sections:
- How sportsbooks and sports betting work
- How to avoid common sports betting mistakes
- What to do after you stop making common mistakes
The book offers a wealth of information, but it doesn’t claim to be a guide to making a living as a sports bettor. (If you want to make a living as a gambler, look at my post about becoming a professional roulette player.)
But it’s as good a starting point for that quest as any of the books on this list.
7- The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing
I don’t know how old you are, but I’m closing in on 60 years old. Here’s one thing I’ve learned:
Skill isn’t enough to be successful; you also need a healthy dose of luck.
Deciding how much of an effect luck versus skill has on our success is the theme of The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin.
This book doesn’t focus as specifically on sports betting as the other books on this list, but it’s essential reading nonetheless. If you think that you don’t need to understand the roles of skill and luck in sports betting, you’re destined to continue to lose money over time.
If you want to succeed in sports betting, you need to learn how to make better decisions.
You can only do that if you make informed decisions, and part of being informed is understanding the relationship between luck and skill.
Mauboussin doesn’t just analyze that relationship. He provides observations and tips about how to use your understanding of that relationship to make those decisions — not specifically about betting on sports, but on all aspects of your life.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the best sports betting books. If you have some ideas about books I should have included but didn’t, please leave a comment.