Sporting chances

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

The sports world is probably responsible for half of the world’s clichés. Fans, athletes, and coaches just love to boil everything down to one catch phrase out of fear that our feeble minds are only capable of processing things muttered in one huddled breath (which admittedly may very well be the case with Mike Tyson). The question is, when you look at these accepted “facts” through a statistical lens, are they really true? That’s exactly the question authors Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim have asked in Scorecasting ($15) and the results are both entertaining and surprising. Jordan may have famously said that “defense wins championships!” but the data shows offense is just as decisive. Away teams bitterly complain of home field refs acting more favorably and historical numbers show this isn’t too far from the truth. It’s reasons like this why Mark Cuban says, “I love this book. If I told you why, the NBA would fine me again.” Now if that isn’t a reason to read it, we don’t know what is.

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