Written by Marinko Jelic
The Logic of Sports Betting has captured a lot of attention since it was published in 2019, selling more than 300,000 copies! The book sheds light on how the industry works and states the advantages sportsbooks have over bettors and also, of course, what advantages the bettor has over sportsbooks.
How do bookmakers make their lines? Which types of bets are the best? Is it possible to beat the house and come out on top? All of these answers can be found in this book, but bear in mind that this doesn't mean you’ll be given the magic formula to win every single bet or to win enormous amounts of money with little effort. Instead, it will provide you with really useful and interesting information about the betting industry and how to use it to improve your betting strategies.
Here are my five reasons to give The Logic of Sports Betting a read!
Just like any book out there it is important to know who wrote the book. This book has been written by Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow. Ed Miller is a successful American poker player and the author of several books related to poker strategies. Some of the most known books that he wrote are Getting Started in Hold'Em: Theory and Practice, 10 Things Good Poker Players Don't Do, and Small Stakes No-Limit Hold'Em. Next to his accomplishments in the gambling world and in writing, Ed Miller has also earned degrees in Physics and Electrical Engineering from one of the most respected and famous universities in the world - MIT. Matthew Dawidow, on the other hand, is a sports modeler and a co-founder of two sports analytics firms that have been beating sports markets for over 15 years.
Every chapter of this book contributes to understanding the bookmakers’ business models, operations, advantages sportsbooks have over bettors and advantages bettors have over sportsbooks. But the last section of the book, named ‘winning’, gives some valuable insight into how you should approach betting markets and not play into the advantages of the sportsbook. For instance, if you are betting on live matches you should bet during timeouts. The reason for this is quite simple. If you are watching a Basketball or Football game on live TV, your feed will be delayed by about 15-20 seconds and in theory, that means that the sportsbook has seen a whole Basketball attack or Football play before you. If you decide to bet, that attack or play will already be incorporated into the price, which could become a huge problem. Why? Because you have less information available to you compared to the sportsbook. So, according to Ed and Matthew, betting during timeouts that last about 2 minutes makes the playing field a bit more fair for the sports bettor.
“In the United States, as of 2019, if you're watching a game on TV, your feed will be substantially delayed from the live action. Most people underestimate how long this delay is. Typical these days is about 18 seconds… The sportsbook is a full basketball possession ahead of you. A full football play. A full baseball pitch.”
There is no simple answer to this question, but if you want to know the answer, you need to keep track of all your bets. Once you've done that you'll need to obtain a big sample size of about 1,000 bets, which is probably the minimum number of bets you need to see if the strategy that you are using is good or not. A sample of 1,000 bets sounds like a lot and to a regular punter it is, but in reality that is the only way you will know if what you are doing is correct. Because by the point you get to 1,000 bets, variance will not be as big of a factor as it would be after just 100 bets. But variance is a big and complex topic that we have covered entirely in this article here.
“Record what you bet, how much you bet, the result of the bet. Step three is to do it for a while until you get a nice record of settled bets. Are you winning or not? At some point this record begins to speak for itself. If you're ahead after, say, a thousand bets, that's a good sign. But even then, the record is not definitive.“
The book also talks about the advantages and disadvantages of being a sportsbook. The first and probably the biggest advantage of being a sportsbook is that they hire traders whose sole purpose is to make sure that you never place a value bet and to find players who are successfully winning in the long-run. To put this into perspective, there is a team of people working against you and making sure that you always lose in the long-run. And even if you are successful in beating their lines they have a simple solution for it.
“If they see you as a customer who tries to nail them on every mistake they make, they'll probably show you the door.“
Even though many sportsbooks operate in this way, there are some things you can do about it. We've written an article about this topic which you can read here.
Probably seems like a dumb question, but here is the deal: It is much easier to spot bets that win 54% of the time than bets that win 60 or 67% of the time. There is no reason why you should pass on those bets with smaller edges because the key to winning, in the long run, is accumulating a high turnover on your value bets, and from that you'll gain a positive return on investment. One more benefit of understanding this concept is that it helps in determining and seeing which people in the industry are not real winners.
“The short answer is that if you can identify bets that win 67%, you can identify bets that win 60% and 55% and 53%. And there will be many, many more of the lower edges ones. Who wants to pass on a 55% bet? No one is trying to make money… As for the guy on the Internet claiming he wins 60% of his bets, ask him why he doesn't bet the 55% winners.”
All in all, The Logic of Sports Betting is definitely one of the best books out there on sports betting, there are a number of valuable lessons that can be derived from the book. It covers basic terminologies, insights into how sportsbooks operate, how odds are created, what types of markets exist in the industry, where you should look to gain an advantage over sportsbooks, what methods you can use to pocket some extra money and much more. That’s why I would undoubtedly recommend this awesome book to anyone that wants to gain some valuable knowledge about the sports betting industry and improving their strategies.
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