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

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

by Wayne L. Winston
     
 

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ISBN-10: 069113913X

ISBN-13: 9780691139135

Pub. Date: 09/08/2009

Publisher: Princeton University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691139135
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
09/08/2009
Pages:
376
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

List of Abbreviations xv

Part I. Baseball 1

Chapter 1: Baseball's Pythagorean Theorem 3

Chapter 2: Who Had a Better Year, Nomar Garciaparra or Ichiro Suzuki? 11

The Runs- Created Approach

Chapter 3: Evaluating Hitters by Linear Weights 17

Chapter 4: Evaluating Hitters by Monte Carlo Simulation 30

Chapter 5: Evaluating Baseball Pitchers and Forecasting Future Pitcher Performance 41

Chapter 6: Baseball Decision- Making 52

Chapter 7: Evaluating Fielders 64

Sabermetrics' Last Frontier

Chapter 8: Player Win Averages 71

Chapter 9: The Value of Replacement Players 79

Evaluating Trades and Fair Salary

Chapter 10: Park Factors 84

Chapter 11: Streakiness in Sports 87

Chapter 12: The Platoon Effect 102

Chapter 13: Was Tony Perez a Great Clutch Hitter? 106

Chapter 14: Pitch Count and Pitcher Effectiveness 110

Chapter 15: Would Ted Williams Hit .406 Today? 113

Chapter 16: Was Joe DiMaggio's 56- Game Hitting Streak the Greatest Sports Record of All Time? 116

Chapter 17: Major League Equivalents 123

Part II. Football 125

Chapter 18: What Makes NFL Teams Win? 127

Chapter 19: Who's Better, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? 132

Chapter 20: Football States and Values 138

Chapter 21: Football Decision- Making 101 143

Chapter 22: A State and Value Analysis of the 2006 Super Bowl 151

Champion Colts

Chapter 23: If Passing Is Better Than Running, Why Don't 158

Teams Always Pass?

Chapter 24: Should We Go for a One- Point or Two- Point Conversion? 165

Chapter 25: To Give Up the Ball Is Better Than to Receive 172

The Case of College Football Overtime

Chapter 26: Why Is the NFL's Overtime System Fatally Flawed? 175

Chapter 27: How Valuable Are High Draft Picks in the NFL? 180

Part III. Basketball 185

Chapter 28: Basketball Statistics 101 187

The Four- Factor Model

Chapter 29: Linear Weights for Evaluating NBA Players 195

Chapter 30: Adjusted_/_Player Ratings 202

Chapter 31: NBA Lineup Analysis 224

Chapter 32: Analyzing Team and Individual Matchups 228

Chapter 33: NBA Players' Salaries and the Draft 233

Chapter 34: Are NBA Officials Prejudiced? 237

Chapter 35: Are College Basketball Games Fixed? 242

Chapter 36: Did Tim Donaghy Fix NBA Games? 244

Chapter 37: End- Game Basketball Strategy 248

Part IV. Playing with Money, and Other Topics for Serious Sports Fans 253

Chapter 38: Sports Gambling 101 255

Chapter 39: Freakonomics Meets the Bookmaker 262

Chapter 40: Rating Sports Teams 266

Chapter 41: Which League Has Greater Parity, The NFL or the NBA? 283

Chapter 42: The Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) 287

Chapter 43: From Point Ratings to Probabilities 290

Chapter 44: Optimal Money Management 298

The Kelly Growth Criteria

Chapter 45: Ranking Great Sports Collapses 303

Chapter 46: Can Money Buy Success? 311

Chapter 47: Does Joey Crawford Hate the Spurs? 319

Chapter 48: Does Fatigue Make Cowards of Us All? 321

The Case of NBA Back- to- Back Games and NFL Bye Weeks

Chapter 49: Can the Bowl Championship Series Be Saved? 324

Chapter 50: Comparing Players from Different Eras 331

Chapter 51: Conclusions 335

Index of Databases 341

Annotated Bibliography 343

Index 353

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