All books below are rated 4 stars (out of 5) or above. Rather than assign star ratings to each book, we'll only include write ups on books we feel are worth reading.
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"The Logic of Sports Betting" by Ed Miller and Matthew Davidow: Miller has written other books on poker and gambling, and Davidow is a sports modeler. They team up to provide a great overview of how sports books work and get into strategies that make anyone from a novice to pro think hard about their next move. The guys get into middling, synthetic holds, and the vig (or juice) that bookmakers take with each bet. With sports betting legal now in many states, this is one of the best sports betting books for the recreational gambler and would be at the top of my recommendations.
"A Man For All Markets" by Edward O. Thorp: This is a book about gambling; make no doubts about it. Thorp's mathematical brain is one of a kind, but he also had a tremendous appetite for risk. Risk not in a mathematical way, but in the fact that he could've easily been arrested and thrown in a jail cell. We write more about Thorp here in our blog. If you want to learn more about gambling mathematics, you'll enjoy this book.
"Then One Day" by Chris Andrews: To really understand anything, it's wise to see both sides of the coin. Chris Andrews writes a fantastic memoir about his life as a bookmaker. With big money on the line, Andrews tells several memorable stories about running a sports book in Las Vegas and the larger-than-life personalities that go with it. One of the best books on sports betting.
"Trading Bases" by Joe Peta: I love real life stories, and Peta's is a pretty remarkable one. He leaves Wall St. to form a baseball "hedge fund," betting on MLB games and generating big returns doing so. Peta's ability to share his love for the game of major league baseball with his instincts and skills as a trader make this a Moneyball type of read and arguably one of my favorites when it comes to baseball betting books.
"The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told" by Mark Paul: Similar to Trading Bases, author Mark Paul tells a true story about 1988 Kentucky Derby champion, Winning Colors, who became only the third filly in history to win the Kentucky Derby. If you enjoy true stories about sports, betting the ponies, and/or trips to horse track, you'll love this book.
"The Everything Guide to Sport Betting" by Josh Applebaum: This is a tactical book with strategies on how to identify better bets, how to think about the different types of bets, and when to walk away. Some of the books in this list are stories; this is truly a guide for the beginner sports gambler.
"The Man With the $100,000 Breasts" by Michael Konik: This is a compilation of both sports betting success stories and what can happen on the other side to degenerate gamblers. The stories are bizarre in some cases but extremely entertaining, highlighting how far some individuals are willing to go to be on the winning side of a wager.
"Statistical Sports Models In Excel" by Andrew Mack: Sports gambling is about math. To do math at scale, you need to be able to model your data in a way that helps you easily identify the edge needed to confidently place a bet. This is a book for sports statisticians, analysts, and everyday joes that want to take sports statistics and have them speak to you in a unique way. There's power in data, and Mack's angle is helping you leverage that to take your game to a new level. Sure, there are other books on sports betting models, but if I'm picking one to jumpstart my learning, it's this one.
"Playing Off The Rail" by David McCumber: This is a fun book about the author traveling around the United States and Canada as the "financial backer" for a young pool shark named Tony Annigoni. For those that grew up in a small town, the scenes, smells, and people that McCumber describes are reminiscent of younger years and simpler times.
"Smart Sports Betting" by Matt Rudnitsky: One of the great human truths is that others know things that we don't. For $15, Rudnitsky shares what he knows: knowledge obtained from making several thousand dollars and then losing it all. This book makes several lists of best sports gambling books because of it's honesty. Rudnitsky wrote a second book a couple years after this one titled You Are An Author: So Write Your Book Already.
"Picking NFL Winners" by Masaru Kanemoto: This book dives deep into how to be a better NFL sports bettor. From how much an injury is worth to the time in the season when you're betting, this book will make you think about all of the factors that sports books use and how to counter them. The 2023 Super Bowl had more than 50 million adults place bets on it for more than $16 billion! If you're looking for a football betting book, this is a must read.
"Thinking Fast and Slow" by Daniel Kahneman: This book is less about sports betting and more about how we think. A lot of the concepts in this book can be applied to sports betting when it comes to our intuition vs. logic. Kahneman won the 2002 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences and is a professor at Princeton University. A fascinating read.
"Investing In College Basketball " by Larry R. Seidel: Seidel teaches you how to bet on college basketball by using his own performance from the 2003-2004 season betting on Atlantic 10 Conference games. Unlike some books which talk more high-level strategies, Seidel shows you exactly what he did and shares the results: a 71% win rate and a return on his original bankroll exceeding 300%. One of the best ways to improve performance is learning off of someone else's mistakes (and money).
"Squares & Sharps, Suckers & Sharks" by Joseph Buchdahl: A lot of the books previously mentioned are sports betting books at their core. This book is all about why human beings are so drawn to gambling. Put very simply, we all crave control. When we win a bet, we have a sense of control over uncertainty. The book explores the irrationality of human beings and why the process matters more than the outcome. A fascinating read for deep thinkers that care about the "why" behind what we do. This book could easily occupy a spot in our Sports Psychology section.
"Gambling Wizards" by Richard W. Munchkin: We've suggested several books that explore sports betting strategies and how the brain works. This book is more pure entertainment. Munchkin talks to eight of the world's best gamblers (listed below), which leads to incredibly stories about millions of dollars won and lost. Billy Walters--sports bettor Chip Reese--poker player Tommy Hyland--blackjack card counter Mike Svobodny--backgammon player Stan Tomchin--sports bettor Cathy Hulbert--blackjack/poker player Alan Woods--horse bettor Doyle Brunson--poker player
"Conquering Risk" by Elihu D. Feustel and George S. Howard: This is a great book for anyone looking to go from good to great in sports betting and/or investing. The authors dive deep into various models to measure risk and probabilities and better understand sports handicapping. If you don't like math, this book isn't for you. But, if you want to learn, it's a fantastic resource and one of the top sports betting books for a reason.
"The Theory of Poker" by David Sklansky: This isn't a "sports betting" book per se, but it's a tremendous book. There are some higher-level concepts in here, so I wouldn't recommend it for a beginner. Similar to Conquering Risk, if you're an intermediate poker player looking to raise your game, I'd read this book.
"20/20 Sports Betting" by Logan Fields: The author left his job in 1999 to be a professional sports gambler. What I love about this book that he takes you through what he did, where he found success, and where he stumbled. Fields bets on horses, NASCAR, baseball, golf, football, hockey, soccer, and several other sports. This book isn't about math or complex calculations. Rather, it's a real look into someone's life that gambles on sports for a living.
"Betting with an Edge" by Mike Maloney: Maloney bets on horses 300+ days out of the year and shares is process to create "ability" figures using trainers and jockey statistics, track biases, and more. Back in the day, his wager amounts got him a free office at Keeneland in Kentucky. Reading this, I quickly realized I don't have the time to do what Maloney does. But, it certainly gave me a better appreciation for what it takes to succeed in horse betting.
"Thinking in Bets" by Annie Duke: Duke won the World Series of Poker in 2004. While she's shifted her career to focus on business consulting, this is one of those books that really makes you think. I'm not going to venture too far from the core aspect of this list, which is sports betting, but I read this book and was able to apply several concepts to business and betting. In the spirit of sharing what I've found valuable, I think you'll find value in it too.
"The Complete Guide to Sports Betting" by Kevin Dolan: Dolan is a native Irishman and wrote a fantastic book about sports betting for beginners. To be blunt, don't read this if you have experience sports betting. This is truly a beginner's guide (and a very good one at that). Dolan does a great job breaking down how to manage your bank roll, introduce simply math concepts into your strategy, and look for trends as you identify your wagers. For more on Kevin, check out this short interview.
"Mathletics" by Wayne L. Winston, Scott Nestler, and Konstantinos Pelechrinis: Some of you may not like math: you're going to have to go into this book with an open mind, otherwise you're you'll be lost early. Winston has his master's degree from MIT and knows a bit or two about his applying probabilities to outcomes. He applies that in this book to sports. What are the odds that a team will score zero or one goals in their game tomorrow? Winston and team teach you how to easily measure the probability of each. If you asked me today: "How do I increase my odds?" While there are some tremendous books on this list, I'd probably tell you to get this one and spend some serious time with it. For a short intro, check out this video (and excuse the background noise).
"Sharp Sports Betting" by Stanford Wong: Wong, which is a pen name (his real name is John Ferguson) is one of the OG's in betting literature. He wrote Professional Blackjack in 1975 and has written many other books on subjects such as poker, dice, craps, and other games. This book has everything a beginner to intermediate needs to be successful. The book contains analyses of parlays, teasers, and props and also provides several invaluable charts that will save you time (and headaches). For example, odds charts for Poisson distributions for 1 and 2 variables. While this book was published in 2001, it is just as valuable today as the day it came out.
"Good Teams Win Great Teams Cover" by Pat Hagerty: This falls into that category of raw, authentic stories that I greatly appreciate as a reader. Hagerty blends betting advice with his own personal stories, many of which will make you a crack a smile. While some sports betting books are more academic in nature, this is truly a "tale" as the author puts it, and a good one at that.
"Gaming The Game" by Sean Patrick Griffin: Griffin is a former Philadelphia police officer turned professor and author. He digs deep into the Tim Donaghy NBA gambling scandal that rocked the league (and the public) back in 2007. Netflix recently produced a documentary as a part of their UNTOLD series that features Donaghy and his co-conspirators, Jimmy Battista and Tommy Martino. It's really well done and leaves a questions, despite the fact that the case was closed several years ago.
"Gambler" by Billy Walters: Walters may be the most famous gambler of all time. On a typical weekend, he'll wager $10 million across a slate of games like you or I taking our kids to soccer practice. Walters opens up about his complicated relationship with Phil Mickelson, and that gets the headlines. But, this is an autobiography, and he goes back to growing up dirt poor in Kentucky and talks readers through his strategies, often pointing out variables that people take for granted. This book is brand new, but it's been a long time coming for the sports bettor who claims to have a consecutive winning streak of 36 straight years.