Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football
How math can be used to improve performance and predict outcomes in professional sports Mathletics is a remarkably entertaining book that shows readers how to use simple mathematics to analyze a range of statistical and probability-related questions in professional baseball, basketball, and football, and in sports gambling. How does professional baseball evaluate hitters? Is a singles hitter like Wade Boggs more valuable than a power hitter like David Ortiz? Should NFL teams pass or run more often on first downs? Could professional basketball have used statistics to expose the crooked referee Tim Donaghy? Does money buy performance in professional sports? In Mathletics , Wayne Winston describes the mathematical methods that top coaches and managers use to evaluate players and improve team performance, and gives math enthusiasts the practical tools they need to enhance their understanding and enjoyment of their favorite sports--and maybe even gain the outside edge to winning bets. Mathletics blends fun math problems with sports stories of actual games, teams, and players, along with personal anecdotes from Winston's work as a sports consultant. Winston uses easy-to-read tables and illustrations to illuminate the techniques and ideas he presents, and all the necessary math concepts--such as arithmetic, basic statistics and probability, and Monte Carlo simulations--are fully explained in the examples. After reading Mathletics , you will understand why baseball teams should almost never bunt, why football overtime systems are unfair, why points, rebounds, and assists aren't enough to determine who's the NBA's best player--and much, much more. In a new epilogue, Winston discusses the stats and numerical analysis behind some recent sporting events, such as how the Dallas Mavericks used analytics to become the 2011 NBA champions.
From the Back Cover Winston has an uncanny knack for bringing the game alive through the fascinating mathematical questions he explores. He gets inside professional sports like no other writer I know. Mathletics is like a seat at courtside. --Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks Wayne Winston's Mathletics combines rigorous analytical methodologies with a very inquisitive approach. This should be a required starting point for anyone desiring to use mathematics in the world of sports. --KC Joyner, author of Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle Is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts People who want the details on the analysis of baseball need to read Mathletics . This book provides the statistics behind Moneyball . --Pete Palmer, coeditor of The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia and The ESPN Pro Football Encyclopedia Winston has brought together the latest thinking on sports mathematics in one comprehensive place. This volume is perfect for someone seeking a general overview or who wants to dive into advanced thinking on the latest sports-analytics topics. --Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets Mathletics offers insights into the mathematical analysis of three major sports and sports gambling. The basketball and sports bookies sections are particularly interesting and loaded with in-depth examples and analysis. The author's passion seems to jump right off the page. --Michael Huber, Muhlenberg College I really enjoyed this unique book, as will anyone who is a serious sports fan with some interest in mathematics. Winston is very knowledgeable about baseball, basketball, and football, and about the mathematical techniques needed to analyze a multitude of questions that arise in them. He does a very good job of explaining complex mathematical ideas in a simple way. --George L. Nemhauser, Georgia Institute of Technology