# Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football

## Synopsis

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.

## Excerpt

If you have picked up this book you surely love sports and you probably like math. You may have read Michael Lewis's great book Moneyball, which describes how the Oakland A's used mathematical analysis to help them compete successfully with the New York Yankees even though the average annual payroll for the A's is less than 40 percent of that of the Yankees. After reading Moneyball, you might have been curious about how the math models described in the book actually work. You may have heard how a former night watchman, Bill James, revolutionized the way baseball professionals evaluate players. You probably want to know exactly how James and other “sabermetricians” used mathematics to change the way hitters, pitchers, and fielders are evaluated. You might have heard about the analysis of Berkeley economic professor David Romer that showed that NFL teams should rarely punt on fourth down. How did Romer use mathematics to come up with his controversial conclusion? You might have heard how Mark Cuban used math models (and his incredible business savvy) to revitalize the moribund Dallas Mavericks franchise. What mathematical models does Cuban use to evaluate NBA players and lineups? Maybe you bet once in a while on NFL games and wonder whether math can help you do better financially. How can math determine the true probability of a team winning a game, winning the NCAA tournament, or just covering the point spread? Maybe you think the NBA could have used math to spot Tim Donaghy's game fixing before being informed about it by the FBI. This book will show you how a statistical analysis would have “red flagged” Donaghy as a potential fixer.

If Moneyball or day- to- day sports viewing has piqued your interest in how mathematics is used (or can be used) to make decisions in sports and sports gambling, this book is for you. I hope when you finish reading the book you will love math almost as much as you love sports.

To date there has been no book that explains how the people running Major League Baseball, basketball, and football teams and Las Vegas sports bookies use math. The goal of Mathletics is to demonstrate how simple . . .

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