Book Review — Sharp Sports Betting (October 2007)

SportsInsights is pleased to review a sports betting book classic, Stanford Wong’s “Sharp Sports Betting.”  Many sports bettors — as well as various sources and internet websites — refer to this book as the “Bible” of sports betting.  Previously, reviewed Michael Konik’s “Smart Money.”  SportsInsights also has an area where it lists recommended books.  Please send us a list of some of your favorite sports or investment books.  The information on this site is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Use of this information in violation of any federal, state, or local laws is prohibited.


The author, Stanford Wong, put himself through grad school by playing blackjack.  In this book, he applies his statistical and probabilistic background to the world of sports betting.  This book is most suited for beginning and intermediate sports bettors — although advanced sports investors will also be able to obtain some good statistics/charts from this book.

“Sharp Sports Betting” starts out with the basics so that novice sports bettors shouldn’t feel intimidated.  Beginning and intermediate sports investors can review the various types of bets — as well as obtain a better understanding of odds.  This is a thick book of almost 400 pages, so it is chock full of information.  In particular, Wong looks at sports gambling from a mathematical standpoint and focuses on football.

Sports Betting Info

What other “juice” can you squeeze from the “bible” of the industry?  Here are some highlights:

  • As we mentioned before, Wong starts with the basics.  You can review how to place bets, how to compute what you can win if your bet is correct — as well as other sports investing terminology.
  • Wong describes various types of bets ranging from: money lines and spreads, to totals (or over/unders), to teasers and parlays, and even thoughts on betting “half’s or quarters.”
  • One item of interest is Wong’s discussion of “trends” and how they often turn out to be “noise.”
  • “Sharp Sports Betting” goes over factors such as motivation, injuries and other handicapping techniques.
  • A highlight of the book are the charts and statistics that show the probabilities of various scores; the odds of pushing on sides/totals; win-loss charts at various spreads; etc.
  • Readers who enjoy probability and statistics will also enjoy the discussion about Poisson distributions and how probabilities of events can be analyzed to improve your results.
  • Many of these ideas and statistics can be applied to other sports.

“Sharp Sports Betting” belongs in the libraries of most sports bettors.  It is a “classic” chock full of info.

We do not guarantee that the trends and biases we’ve found will continue to exist. It is impossible to predict the future. Any serious academic research in the field of “market efficiencies” recognizes that inefficiencies may disappear over time. Once inefficiencies are discovered, it is only a matter of time before the market corrects itself.