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Expert Take

Five Books That Can Improve Your Betting

by: Sizzla


If you consume and believe everything you read on the internet, everyone can make as much money as they desire without having to hustle for it. Sadly, as the saying goes, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Get rich quick schemes often costs you money, and your peace, the “sure odds” investment that is about to make you blow often goes wrong, and the betting tipster on an unbelievable hot streak soon becomes a victim of cut-1.

However, all hope is not lost. There are a lot of resources out there that can help you win when it comes to betting. Impressively, these resources are often the ones that don’t claim to have a foolproof method to the problem of beating the bookie (because they can’t). Still, if used religiously, they can certainly provide useful direction that will help empower bettors to become successful in the near future.

Most bettors will choose to run a Google search and cast a wide net to find materials that can help give them an edge. There are also plenty of platforms out there with experts who are willing to share their expertise through articles or podcasts for punters who would instead consume audio content. If you have some time to filter through the noise, Twitter can also be an excellent place to start (especially when seeking to build a network of punters for knowledge sharing).

While there are many ways to get information to help improve your betting, this article will aim to highlight books which contain a wealth of information that punters and bettors can use to their advantage. It was quite a headache to filter this list down (There’ll be some honourable mentions) and it should be noted that these range of books have been selected to suit all types of bettors.

The Success Equation by Michael J. Mauboussin

Understanding how both luck and skill can influence performance and results, The Success Equation is essentially about what all bettors need to know when untangling luck and skill in Business, Sports and Investing. It’s human nature to assume and believe all positive results in betting are caused by predictive skill, and the negative results are simply bad luck (That’s why you see so many attribute Cut-1 to bad luck). While it is quite common to run with this narrative, it can be perilous to invest money based on this principle.

Mauboussin’s book helps bettors understand that it’s not as simple as being good and bad at betting. We all need to be prepared to experience good and bad luck, no matter how unskilled or skilled we are. In short, if you want to be a successful bettor, you need to be adept at betting and also benefit from some good luck.

Things like distinguishing causation and correlation, understanding uncertainty, and measuring the place of luck are covered in great detail in the book. One of the most interest parts of Mauboussin’s book is his work on the paradox of skill. 

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a Distinguished Professor of Risk Engineering at NYU Tandon School of Engineering, and his book on antifragility will help you overcome volatility, randomness and uncertainty whenever you face such.

One of the key things to come out of this book is the Green Lumbar fallacy. I will leave the fascinating examples to the book, but discovering that we tend to overvalue our knowledge of a particular sport over the knowledge of how to bet on that sport is often defines many sport betting careers. Knowledge of the Green Lumbar fallacy and the acceptance of how it may relate to your betting could help you change what you bet on, how you bet and what your winnings look like.

Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks by Joseph Buchdahl

Joseph Buchdahl has been cited as “the grim reaper of betting” thanks to his intolerant approach in telling bettors about how betting works and how challenging it is to win in the long run. 

As the title suggests, this book touches on a wide range of topics under the scope of betting and should come with a disclaimer that it is not for the weak or fainthearted. As Joseph Buchdahl himself explains that there are a variety of reasons why people bet, and if they do it purely for the entertainment, this book may uncover more than they bargained for.

If you’re looking for a read to help you understand why you make the decisions you do, get a better understanding of probability, as well as what expected value means, and why it is unlikely to be obtained from a paid-source, you won’t find a lof of books better than this.

Superforecasting by Phillip E. Tetlock & Dan Gardner

Knowing that the key to success in betting is about being able to predict (or forecast) accurately, it seems only right to highlight a book about precisely that. 

If you pick up this book and consume it in the hope that by the time you’re done with it you’ll be able to pick winning bets without any issue at all, you’re going to be heavily disappointed. However, if you need help to improve your decision making and understanding what is to be avoided, you won’t find a much better book than this. This read provides a comprehensive overview of what goes into making accurate predictions, the potential drawbacks and why even the most accurate of predictions may not be all that they appear to be.

One thing to note when reading this book is that the amount of bettors who are skilled at forecasting future events is meager, a lot lower than many people think.

The Logic of Sports Betting by Ed Miller & Matthew Davidow

The Logic of Sports Betting is more than just a beginners guide for bettors. The breakdown of the advantages a bookie holds over you is also handy to you, and if the ideas are practised, you can undoubtedly yield positive returns or get banned for being an expert player.

A significant part of growing as a bettor is not only becoming more knowledgeable; it is particularly learning from your mistakes and developing your skills. It is majorly about understanding what you’re up against. There’s a bit of a myth that betting is really about bettor vs bookmaker meanwhile it’s other bettors you should be trying to beat. Having an understanding of how bookmakers work, the different types of bookmakers out there and what their potential weaknesses are will be beneficial.

Honourable mentions

  • Smart Money by Michael Konik.
  • Trading Basis by Joe Peta.

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