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.
"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
"Winston has an uncanny knack for bringing the game alive through the fascinating mathematical questions he explores. He gets inside professional sports like no other writer I know. Mathletics is like a seat at courtside."--Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks
"Wayne Winston's Mathletics combines rigorous analytical methodologies with a very inquisitive approach. This should be a required starting point for anyone desiring to use mathematics in the world of sports."--KC Joyner, author of Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle Is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts
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