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

Authors: Tobias J. Moskowitz & L. Jon Wertheim

Published: 2011, Crown Archetype, New York

ISBN: 978-0-307-59179-1

About the Authors

Tobias J. Moskowitz Currently works as an economics professor at Yale University. And won the American Finance Association Fisher Black awarded to the leading finance scholar under the age of 40.

L. Jon Wertheim Is an executive editor with Sports Illustrated. He has covered sports such as the NBA, MMA and primarily Tennis.

Who is it for?

This book is primarily for an American audience and would be interesting for a broad audience of sports fans. It is an interesting read as a sport analyst but I wouldn’t describe it as useful if you were looking to improve your sports analyst abilities.

What is it about?

This book lays out some commonly held myths and challenges them with statistics. It takes a look at what actually contributes to home teams winning more often, the hot hand in basketball and also broader issues such as discrimination in hiring of NFL coaches and how that has changed. As well as many more issues.

Often, books can hit the same point over and over again through out chapters. Sprawlball (review|buy) would be an example of this. Each chapter in this book is a belief challenged and that provides it with an enjoyable variety.

What did I take from it?

Where referee’s biases come from was interesting. Probably the thing I took most from it was the sensitivity analysis around the Chicago Cubs fans. They analysed the crowd reaction to winning/losing seasons and found they show up win, lose or draw. Hence, from an economic perspective it is less important for them to win than other teams.

As mentioned, more of an enjoyable read than a learning experience.

Should I buy it?

Yes, I think so. If you want a light, entertaining read of a sports analysis book. I think some of their methods and reasoning behind their measurements are flawed at times but it doesn’t make the book any less interesting.

If you’re looking to improve your sports analysis skills as a professional or a coach – then this isn’t the book for you right now in my opinion.