Saturday, 4 May 2019

Treasure For Sale

The infamous Gadoon Kyrallos, aka Spanky tweeted:

I have a copy of that book, and actually re-read it after reading Spanky's recommendation thinking I may have overlooked something, but aside from some interesting background as to how money line and point-spread betting came about, and the role of a bookmaker, and the importance of finding the best prices (soft lines), but surely anyone who is reading this knows about the principle of only betting when you have value. There's little else of any value in it as you might expect from a book written before the Internet was in common use. I replied to the tweet:
I re-read this book a few weeks ago. It’s outdated and not worth 80 cents, never mind $800. Got some interesting historical references admittedly but won’t give you an edge in today’s markets.
Spanky's response: 
My success in sports betting is based on the underlying principles in that book. To each his own brother. One mans junk is another mans treasure.
The conversation continued:
Seriously, if anyone wants to offer me $750 for the book, it is yours, and I'll even pay the postage and insurance.

** Update 5th May 7am: I don't make a habit of editing posts, but I just now came across a 2007 review of the book in question on the Las Vegas Revealed web site, and thought I would post it in full:

Reviewed by Nick Christenson
July 18, 2007

I only rarely write reviews of out-of-print books, and then usually only for those books that have some sort of timeless significance, such as Mike Lee's Betting the Bases, or David Hayano's Poker Faces. Certainly, I can't say that Jack Moore's, The Complete Book of Sports Betting belongs in this elite company. In fact, I debated with myself as to whether I should write this review at all. I do think that Moore's book is interesting, though, and it deserves more attention than it has gotten. The reader will ultimately need to judge whether it is worth seeking out or not.

Moore offers a new, at least new at the time of its publication, strategy for winning at sports betting. As such, the principle target of the book are those who have tried other methods of winning at sports betting, and presumably failed. It is these folks who are in a position to appreciate the novelty of Moore's approach. The author does not take for granted prior knowledge of sports betting and its terminology, though. He provides a great deal of background aimed at equipping the novice with enough information to understand the the complex jargon of the bookmaker. Even just a decade after publication, some of the methods for quoting odds that Moore describes are no longer in common use, but the introductory material is good and devoid of the silliness that pervades many other books on sports betting.

About 60% of the way into the book, we finally learn Moore's secret to winning at sports betting. This method is simple enough to be described here, and since the book is now out of print, I don't feel bad about revealing its secret. The method Moore espouses is to assume that the consensus betting line is an accurate measure of the proper game line. Then look for shops with betting lines that differ significantly from that consensus, and then bet them. With this method there is no handicapping, and Moore calls it the "blindfold method". The author is not the only person who espouses this method as a component of a winning sports betting strategy. The well-known sports bettor who goes by the name of "Fezzik" uses a similar method as the cornerstone of the way he bets.

While I believe that Moore's strategy is fundamentally sound, I'm not as impressed with some of the details he provides. He states his opinion on how many points of deviation from the consensus line one needs in order to make bets of a given size, but these seem to be based on the author's intuition and experience rather than a careful examination of years of data from each sport. Also, in some sports, especially American football, not all points are created equal. Moore explains the value of the "3" and "7" in the NFL and college football earlier in his book, but in his betting method a line move between 2.5 and 3.5 should be considered the same as a line move between 4.5 and 5.5. Anyone who has studied football results will understand that this is absurd.

Consequently, I would say that Moore's "blindfold method" represents a reasonable beginning for a strategy that can be used to win at sports betting, but is incomplete as it stands. Some more number crunching, especially for sports such as football, will be necessary in order to turn this into a reliable winning method. Also, the author's recommendation that having three different "outs" at which one may bet is probably not sufficient to generate much betting volume. This is due to the efficiency with which information propagates these days, largely due to the Internet. On the other hand, the Internet makes it much easier to obtain access to multiple lines and efficiently compare them. The upshot of this is that one probably wants many more than three outs to successfully apply this method.

Moore's book is interesting, and if it were still in print (and accounted for the emergence of the information age), I would be happy to recommend it to those interested in sports betting. Because its methods aren't "sexy" and don't allow bettors to put money on their favorite teams more often than others, Moore may not have ever gained a large following. However, since his book is devoid of the sort of misinformation that fills so many other volumes, he deserves significant credit for accomplishing at least that much. I don't think it rises to the level of "must read", and in my opinion those who have made it this far into this review now know over half of what the book has to offer. Still, the book deserves some consideration by those who are interested in the subject of sports betting.


In the out of print book, The Complete Book of Sports Betting, Moore advocates a market-based approach to winning at sports betting. I believe the basis for his method is sound, although I don't believe the book contains everything the bettor needs in order to succeed with it. I wouldn't rate this book as a "must read", but since it is significantly better that the average book of this genre, and because it approaches sports betting from a novel vantage point, I certainly wouldn't discourage those interested in sports betting from seeking out a copy.

Again, if you would like my copy, please send offers, while bearing in mind the ebay price is currently just under $500. 

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