6 of The Best Betting Books You Should Read

We separate the wheat from the chaff by recommending six great books that can help you understand the key concepts behind making winning betting systems, how to be a more successful, disciplined bettor and also academic peer-reviewed articles that give us concrete ideas to build new strategies from.

 

Our 6 Recommended Books

 

Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy Of Gambling by Joseph BuchdahlThe Logic Of Sports Betting by Ed MillerStatistical Sports Models in Excel by Andrew MackInformation Efficiency in Financial and Betting Markets By Prof. Leighton Williams (And other academic articles)The Mental Game Of Poker by Jared TendlerThe Staking Plans Book by Tom Whitaker

 

#1

Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy Of Gambling

by Joseph Buchdahl

 

A must read for anyone trying to make the jump from simple gambling to value betting based on big data.

 

Size: 352 pages, 10 Chapters

Published: May 2016

Current prices (17.31 GBP Hardback, 9.49 GBP Kindle on Amazon.)

 

Cambridge University graduate Joseph Buchdal has become a well-known sports data analyst. His book does not provide a winning system for betting, but provides an insight into the mentality and understanding needed to beat the bookmakers at their own game. It is not a light read. It has many technical terms and is academic in its style. It goes deeply into explaining key concepts such as determinism and uncertainty, understanding randomness, the history of probability and more. It is very well written and does exactly what it aims for, which is to explain the science, psychology and philosophy of gambling.

 

For people trying to find a book that can help them feel more confident about using the big data football betting strategies on Betaminic, then this is an excellent book. It thoroughly covers many important perspectives and ways of thinking about not only football betting but also betting in general. It can help understand why betting on Manchester City at home every time will not yield profit in the long term. Why just simple betting on events they think will happen will not make profit. Why the price is the most important thing. Why bettors must find the value bets where the odds do not reflect the true probability and not just bet on who they think will win.

 

One of the conclusions of the book is that you can only win by finding errors in the odds market where the price has been incorrectly calculated by the models. It is in those inefficiencies that profit can be made. Using big data on Betaminic is one way to find those inefficiencies in the odds market. And then you can be a “Sharp” and not a “Square.”

 

#2

The Logic Of Sports Betting

by Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow

 

The most accessible and “fun” way to learn about bookmaker’s market models and how the best way to beat them is through value betting.

 

Size: 237 pages, 26 chapters in 3 parts

Published: May 2019

Current prices  (19.99 GBP paperback, 9.99 GBP kindle on Amazon)

 

This book shows how bookmakers set odds and price markets with advanced modelling techniques. Matthew Davidow, one of the authors, has firsthand experience of how bookmakers create their odds lines, which gives him a unique positon to explain things. The book also explains important ideas such as break-even percentages and how they fit into value betting. Ed Miller’s writing style makes it a very fun read (as betting books go) while also being useful and to the point in terms of laying out the important facts of why the bookmaker always wins versus the mass market of punters. The book is, however, written from the American point of view, so there are a number of terms in there that are not familiar to European bettors. This does not detract from the overall simple beauty of the book in getting its message through.

 

For Betaminic users, it gives us insight into how the bookmakers create their markets and how they use their bookmaker margin to make money whatever the outcome. By knowing that even most “good” bets will lead to losses in the long term due to the bookmaker margin that offers events at prices less than their actual probability of occurring, we see how important it is to focus on finding the value bets where the odds are wrong. That is where the Betaminic strategies come in. The Betamin Builder tool helps us find those consistent mistakes in the bookmaker market models, and then we too can “smash” the bookies.

 

For those that might find Buchdal’s Squares and Sharps book a bit heavy on the technical side of things, this book, The Logic Of Sports Betting, provides an easier ride through the world of sports betting.

 

#3

Statistical Sports Models in Excel

by Andrew Mack

 

This is for anyone wanting to understand the practical mechanics behind Betaminic strategies or anyone who wants to make their own models in Excel.

 

Size: 162 pages, 22 chapters

Published: July 2019

Current prices  (29.53 GBP paperback, 15.96 GBP kindle on Amazon)

 

Andrew Mack comes from an academic background studying Data Science together with programming knowledge in several computer languages. He firmly believes that profit can be made by finding inefficiencies in the bookmaker market models. In this book he explains how to make probability models of sporting events, tools that can be used to analyze and improve models and then how to compare your models with bookmakers to identify value.

 

Mack suggests we should avoid “mindless donkey picks” such as placing a bet on a team just because they won their last 6 home games and they are playing a team that has lost their last 6 away games. The odds markets will have already taken the value out of that price, so betting on those kind of picks long term will not lead to a positive profit outcome. (A quick check of that in the Betamin Builder shows a -14% yield on such a betting style.) He says we need to create “market beating +EV models” that have a positive expectancy of value in them. Interestingly, he states that “getting a breakeven expectancy is halfway there” because it shows we have eliminated the bookmaker margin. So whenever we see Betaminic strategies that have slim yields, it still shows we found a bookmaker beating pattern. He states it is not possible to make a “perfect model” of sports markets and it is up to us to “identify mispricing” by the bookmakers.

 

In a way, this book shows what Betaminic does for you. Betaminic is basically a very easily accessible version of what you would get if you could understand Andrew Mack’s book and then tried to build your own market models based on historical football data and bookmaker odds.

 

If you are interested in more detailed explanations on why mispricing exists in sport and the mathematics behind value based betting, then this book is for you. Then after reading the book, you can be more confident in following the strategies available on Betaminic and also to research and create more of your own.

 

#4

Information Efficiency in Financial and Betting Markets

By Prof. Leighton Williams

 

High quality, university level articles that approach betting markets from a different perspective and find new starting points for creating betting strategies.

 

Size: 412 pages, 18 articles

Published: November 2005

Current prices  (37.99 GBP Hardback new, 11.11 GBP (used) on Amazon)

 

This book is a collection of 18 articles by various authors. The articles can be a heavy read for some but if you can get through them and understand the conclusions of each article, it can really open up your eyes to the betting markets and find the weaknesses we can exploit with the Betamin Builder tool. These articles are often interesting since many of the writers are more interested in the nature of the betting markets from an academic point of view, rather than trying to make a profit in them. In this way we can get some innovative and alternative views on the markets. Where they talk about “inefficiencies” in the markets, we hear the chance for profit. They also discuss the nature of analyzing large quantities of data looking for patterns, and we can learn what to be careful of when we too are looking for new patterns in the data.

 

If you like the kind of academic articles found in Prof. Williams book, then a simple Google search of “academic journal articles on betting market efficiency” can find other gems, such as this article which is available in full online.

 

Efficiency in Betting Markets: Evidence From English Football

by B. Deschamps and Olivier Gergaud (taken from The Journal of Prediction Markets) (Jan 2007)

 

This superbly researched piece brings peer-reviewed academic levels of quality to our field of study. This online article is available to read and gives a lot of food for thought. The important conclusions from their research are that the betting market is inefficient, there is a clear longshot bias for home and away odds (betting on lower odds has a better value than higher odds for home and away bets) but that there is a negative longshot bias for draw odds (betting on higher odds has better value for draw bets). In particular they suggest that the bookmaker margin on draw bets is smaller than on the home or away bets, which means that it may be easier to find winning strategies on draw betting than underdog home/away strategies.

 

Another excellent article available in full online is:

 

Efficiency of Online Football Betting Markets

by Giovanni Angelini and Luca De Angelis (November 2017)

 

This article does research on 11 European leagues with odds taken from 41 online bookmakers from August 2006 to February 2016, Their conclusion is that the longshot-favourite bias holds true for 4 of the leagues “the Italian, Portuguese, Spanish and Greek leagues show positive values of ˆGj(pG) associated with the largest probabilities pG(the smallest odds).” which means that a strategy based on backing the favourite in these leagues is worth investigating using the Betamin Builder.

 

It is these kind of well researched articles with practical and clearly stated conclusions that we can use to research new Betaminic strategies with.

 

#5

The Mental Game Of Poker

by Jared Tendler

 

A good book to build mental strength for long term sports investing.

 

Size: 241 pages, 8 Chapters

Published: May 2011

Current prices  (17.54 GBP paperback, 5.49 GBP kindle on Amazon)

 

While this book is about the game of poker, the ideas about mental strength and discipline inside it are very useful to be applied to all kinds of betting. A key concept Tendler talks about is variance and understanding that in the short term you can lose even when you should have won. He means that even if you reach near perfection in your poker skills in terms of knowing when and how much to bet with which cards, even if you become adept at being able to read what stage of “tilt” other players are at in their mental and emotional gaming cycle, even then, you can still just lose because of variance. Tendler’s book is another way to try and understand how you need to get out of the cycle of giving up on a strategy that has worked for the past year, but just not for you this month.

 

Tendler starts out by explaining how his early dreams of a golf career didn’t work out because of a lack of mental strength. He had the technical skills, but choked at important moments. After studying about techniques to increase mental strength, he went on to be a mental game coach to many golf players. This book puts his knowledge and thoughts on paper.

 

Why is a poker book recommended reading? The point of a value bettor reading this book is to become better at staying strong through the losing runs of a football strategy. There are no strategies that avoid losing months, but there are a number of strategies that make profit over the long term. Colossus 6, OVER, Colossus 3, DOUBE CHANCE and many more have shown long term profits, but the losing runs can make people lose heart and give up. This book by Tendler can help you try and understand the different kinds of negative emotions we go through. It can help avoid going on “tilt” at the wrong time. Don’t get angry when variance happens. When you pick a set of strategies, take time to write down what your goals are from following this system. Make a plan for how long you will follow it until you give up. Don’t just click and go. Make a plan, and be ready to follow it through, even if it has a bad run at the start. The worst thing is to jump from a strategy that lost in the previous month to a strategy that won in the previous month, because you may just end of jumping on the back of losing months that are the results of simple variance. The Mental Game Of Poker, can well be used for the mental game of long term sports betting strategies.

 

#6

The Staking Plans Book

by Tom Whitaker

 

A working betting strategy used with the right staking plan can multiply profits dramatically.

 

Size: 300 pages, 42 Chapters

Published: September 2019

Current prices  (39.99 GBP paperback, 9.99 GBP kindle on Amazon)

 

This book analyses 32 staking plans with an innovative research methodology that levels the playing field and compares the staking plans on equal terms so that they can be ranked fairly. By testing the staking plans against both standardized artificial data sets and actual working betting systems, the most thorough comparison of staking plans ever has been achieved. At the end it gives the recommended staking plans, including his own original staking plan, and their best settings that can be applied to the betting strategies that you use. You can read more about this book here in another Betaminic article:

Multiply your profits with best staking plans

Tom Whitaker has also written two other books about using Betaminic which provide a good guide for how to research, create and follow strategies with the Betamin Builder.

You can read more about them and download one of them free here.

Winning Sports Betting Strategies (April 2018)

Big Data Betting on Football: The Betaminic Guide 2 (September 2018)

 

Other books of interest:

 

Betfair Trading Made Simple

by Caan Berry

 

An interesting read to see how the other half lives (Traders versus Value Bettors).

 

Size: 131 pages, 10 chapters

Published: April 2018

Current prices  (9.99 GBP Paperback, 7.90 GBP Kindle on Amazon)

 

Caan Berry is a full-time, in-play horse racing market trader. This is his entry level book for betting exchange traders. His conversational style of writing offers an easier way to understand some concepts for betting. In Chapter 1 “Luck Doesn’t Exist” he states “Price is everything” and explains how the bookmaker odds over-rounds mean that over time most punters will lose money. He has a more easily accessible explanation of probability and value compared to other more technical books. He also talks about the difference between bookmaker odds and Betfair exchange odds in terms of price and over-rounds. His trading system seems to look for the moments of inefficiency in the horse-racing in-play markets when it is possible to back one outcome and lay another to guarantee profit. This means a lot of screen time in front of the PC.

 

Another interesting part of the book is at the end in “Appendix 1: Daily Routine” where he tells us his average day.

0930-1230 Pre-trading preparations

1330-1715 Actual trading in-play

1745 Post-trading review and finishing up

This is interesting because it shows how much time and effort trading takes. Trading works, but it has similar hours to a day job, but with less stability and income security.

 

One of the reasons why you should read this book it to realize that trading does work on Betfair, but it is not worth the risk to reward ratio. It takes a lot of time and effort to reach a level of skill and experience where you can actually start making regular profit. And even when you are at that level, you are chained to the computer screen like a city-trader stressing out on looking for the next entry and exit points in the race. This book illustrates well why Betaminic’s value-finding big data strategies are much easier to use than exchange trading in terms of time and effort, since daily bets can easily be done in less than 30 minutes per day. A value betting system aims to be less time-consuming than a trading system.

 

 

So there we have it, 6 books worth reading to give you more knowledge on betting. (And before you buy, you can even check out if your library will order them in for you, particularly the more expensive academic ones.)

 

Recommended Betting Books

Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks: The Science, Psychology & Philosophy Of Gambling by Joseph BuchdahlThe Logic Of Sports Betting by Ed MillerStatistical Sports Models in Excel by Andrew MackInformation Efficiency in Financial and Betting Markets By Prof. Leighton Williams (And other academic articles)The Mental Game Of Poker by Jared TendlerThe Staking Plans Book by Tom Whitaker

 

 

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