Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football (New in Paper)

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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. 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.

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Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Sports fans will learn much from probability theory and statistical models as they abandon empty clichés (time to throw momentum out of the informed fan's lexicon) and confront institutionalized injustices (such as those built into the protocols for selecting a national champion in college football and for seeding the NCAA's basketball tournament). A rare fusion of sports enthusiasm and numerical acumen.
CBSSports.com
Who is Wayne Winston? Maybe we should begin by telling you who he is not. He is not some barstool fan or uninformed sportswriter who fuels his opinions with information gleaned from SportsCenter highlights or newspaper box scores. He is a professor of decision sciences at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, and until this year was the statistical guru for the Dallas Mavericks. He is author of the book Mathletics, which explains what statistics really tell us about sports.
— Ken Berger
Reading the Markets blog
[A] terrific read for anyone trying to model markets statistically and make trading decisions based on statistical data. . . . Reading Winston's book is a mind-opening experience.
— Brenda Jubin
CBSSports.com - Ken Berger
Who is Wayne Winston? Maybe we should begin by telling you who he is not. He is not some barstool fan or uninformed sportswriter who fuels his opinions with information gleaned from SportsCenter highlights or newspaper box scores. He is a professor of decision sciences at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, and until this year was the statistical guru for the Dallas Mavericks. He is author of the book Mathletics, which explains what statistics really tell us about sports.
Reading the Markets blog - Brenda Jubin
[A] terrific read for anyone trying to model markets statistically and make trading decisions based on statistical data. . . . Reading Winston's book is a mind-opening experience.
From the Publisher

"Sports fans will learn much from probability theory and statistical models as they abandon empty clichés (time to throw momentum out of the informed fan's lexicon) and confront institutionalized injustices (such as those built into the protocols for selecting a national champion in college football and for seeding the NCAA's basketball tournament). A rare fusion of sports enthusiasm and numerical acumen."--Booklist

"Who is Wayne Winston? Maybe we should begin by telling you who he is not. He is not some barstool fan or uninformed sportswriter who fuels his opinions with information gleaned from SportsCenter highlights or newspaper box scores. He is a professor of decision sciences at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business, and until this year was the statistical guru for the Dallas Mavericks. He is author of the book Mathletics, which explains what statistics really tell us about sports."--Ken Berger, CBSSports.com

"[A] terrific read for anyone trying to model markets statistically and make trading decisions based on statistical data. . . . Reading Winston's book is a mind-opening experience."--Brenda Jubin, Reading the Markets blog

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691154589
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2012
  • Edition description: New in Paper
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 585,376
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Wayne L. Winston is the John and Esther Reese Professor of Decision Sciences at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. His many books include "Operations Research: Applications and Algorithms". He has been a consultant to major corporate and sports organizations, including USA Diving and the Dallas Mavericks.
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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

Epilogue to the Paperback Edition 341
Index of Databases 355
Annotated Bibliography 357
Index 367

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