Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won

by Tobias Moskowitz, L. Jon Wertheim
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Overview

Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won by Tobias Moskowitz, L. Jon Wertheim

In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost.

Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships;  the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.

Among the insights that Scorecasting reveals:

  • Why Tiger Woods is prone to the same mistake in high-pressure putting situations that you and I are
  • Why professional teams routinely overvalue draft picks
  • The myth of momentum  or the "hot hand" in sports, and why so many fans, coaches, and broadcasters fervently subscribe to it
  • Why NFL coaches rarely go for a first down on fourth-down situations--even when their reluctance to do so reduces their chances of winning.
  • In an engaging narrative that takes us from the putting greens of Augusta to the grid iron of a small parochial high school in Arkansas, Sportscasting will forever change how you view the game, whatever your favorite sport might be.

    Product Details

    ISBN-13: 9780307591791
    Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
    Publication date: 01/25/2011
    Pages: 288
    Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

    About the Author

    TOBIAS MOSKOWITZ is the Fama Family Chaired Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago.  He is the winner of the 2007 Fischer Black Prize, which honors the top finance scholar in the world under the age of 40.

    L. JON WERTHEIM
    is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a recent Ferris Professor at Princeton, and the author of five books, including Strokes of Genius:  Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played.
     
    For more information go to scorecasting.com

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    Scorecasting 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 72 reviews.
    Rob_Ballister More than 1 year ago
    As both an engineer geek and a football fanatic, this book immediately appealed to me. It aims to tackle several sports myths using statistical analysis pulled from years of professional sports data, and while that sounds boring, it is truly anything but. The authors do an excellent job of using statistics to break down all types of sports myths. "Defense wins championships?" Maybe, maybe not. Punt on fourth and a mile? Not always. The Chicago Cubs are cursed? Troubled maybe, but probably not cursed. Each myth is discussed in detail, and set up using anecdotal evidence from across the major sports world. Then the analysis is described in layman's terms, and the results range from entertaining (yes, there is a home field advantage, but not for the reasons you think) to almost shocking (what do you mean don't EVER punt?). As an engineer, I am a numbers guy, but the book is written in such a way that any sports enthusiast will appreciate it, even if he or she never got past algebra. It's easy to understand and easy to retain, and I have already used the book to spark debates at work, in my carpool, and with my father (a fellow sports guy) over the phone. You might not agree with all the conclusions, but this book will certainly make an impression. Great gift for sports nuts, especially from football, basketball, soccer, and hockey. I am already looking forward to the sequel.
    Anonymous More than 1 year ago
    If a fan of stats, you will love it... if not a number fan, then its not for you. Very interesting read
    AbbyWebb More than 1 year ago
    Moskowitz and Wertheim presented, “Scorecasting: The Hidden Influences Behind How Sports Are Played and Games Are Won,” in a way that was very intriguing and eye opening to the reader. Despite the non-sequential manner of chapters, the statistics given were not too overwhelming. It wasn’t necessary to try and remember all of the statistical numbers and/or percentages either. This is because they provided a deep analysis, along with multiple examples that explained each scenario or rebutted a “rule.” Perhaps another reason for this is due to the fact that this book was published within the last five years and the examples used were up-to-date and still relevant in the world of sports. For example, it was shown that home team advantage certainly does exist, as most sports fans would conclude as well. Different reasons as to why this was probable were analyzed. These included whether it was due to the home crowd, the rigor of travel for away teams, the gentler schedule for home teams, or the unique home characteristics (including referees). A copious amount of diverse percentages were given to prove which factor prevailed. Many psychological phenomena were also pin pointed, as they were present in a number of illustrations. One of the remarkable aspects of this book included the way the authors answered a collective amount of underlying sports questions or myths. Just some of the topics included loss aversion in coaches and players, the competitiveness of sports, the importance of rounding numbers, the statement of, “There’s no I in team,” or “Having a hot hand,” and the luckiness behind being unlucky. The authors did a fantastic job at providing multiple statistical analyses with each myth and often multiple sports. While some chapters did seem rather lengthy and the main points were constantly being drilled in, the next advanced to introduce a brand new topic to consider. The charts and tables also provided good breaking points to stop and look at the data in a simpler way. However, some of the graphical depictions could have been organized in a better or clearer way. It took some time to analyze what exactly the graph or table was trying to portray. In the end, I can certainly say this book changed the way I think about sports. Particularly, the way referees and industries are viewed. It doesn’t only pertain to the sports talked about such as football, basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, and soccer, but really any sport you can think of. I would recommend this book to any sports fan or athlete out there. It would be a tough read if you are not familiar with the rules of football, baseball, or basketball, but no statistical background is necessary. It would also be a good read for anyone interested in how to think critically and analyze deeper into statistical data. Overall, the authors provided a great and entertaining read for the way overarching sports illusions were unfolded!
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