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

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Crown, Jan 17, 2012 - Sports & Recreation - 288 pages
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In Scorecasting, University of Chicago behavioral economist Tobias Moskowitz teams up with veteran Sports Illustrated writer L. Jon Wertheim to overturn some of the most cherished truisms of sports, and reveal the hidden forces that shape how basketball, baseball, football, and hockey games are played, won and lost.

Drawing from Moskowitz's original research, as well as studies from fellow economists such as bestselling author Richard Thaler, the authors look at: the influence home-field advantage has on the outcomes of games in all sports and why it exists; the surprising truth about the universally accepted axiom that defense wins championships;  the subtle biases that umpires exhibit in calling balls and strikes in key situations; the unintended consequences of referees' tendencies in every sport to "swallow the whistle," and more.

Among the insights that Scorecasting reveals:

   • Why Tiger Woods is prone to the same mistake in high-pressure putting situations that you and I are
   • Why professional teams routinely overvalue draft picks
   • The myth of momentum  or the "hot hand" in sports, and why so many fans, coaches, and broadcasters fervently subscribe to it
   • Why NFL coaches rarely go for a first down on fourth-down situations--even when their reluctance to do so reduces their chances of winning.

In an engaging narrative that takes us from the putting greens of Augusta to the grid iron of a small parochial high school in Arkansas, Scorecasting will forever change how you view the game, whatever your favorite sport might be.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MartinBodek - LibraryThing

Freakonomics x sports (here's the irony) steroids. This book was delicious for a stat-geek like me. Much of this stuff I had long suspected, but now I have a book to back me up. There's a Gladwellian ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Brainannex - LibraryThing

I am a fan of some sports but not all. However, if you are interested in any sport, this book is worth a look. After I got the gist of the book (a few chapters in) I admit I skipped to the sections ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
Whistle Swallowing
7
Moore Jack 136137
11
University of Michigan basketball
24
Cincinnati Bengals 108
27
Abraham John 189
40
How Competitive Are Competitive Sports?
59
Basketball
62
Off the Chart
173
Nelson Sheffield
175
King Peter 51
179
Eckersley Dennis 242
189
How a Coin Toss Trumps All
192
Dorais Charlie Gus 47
198
Beckett Josh 120
212
The Myth of the Hot Hand
215

Yale football team 7980
69
Rafferty Kevin
80
Offense Wins Championships Too
81
Yao Ming 8687
86
Rounding First
92
Clinton Bill 175
97
Cochran Johnnie Jr
106
Cricket 112
112
Cuban Mark 13n 20
130
James LeBron 170217
170
Bezos Jeff 13
223
Knight Bob
229
Damned Statistics
230
Halladay Roy 231232
231
Baltimore Orioles
234
Sabol Steve 9
240
Epilogue
253
Baseball
272
Oakland As 5354
277
Copyright

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About the author (2012)

TOBIAS MOSKOWITZ is the Fama Family Chaired Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago.  He is the winner of the 2007 Fischer Black Prize, which honors the top finance scholar in the world under the age of 40.

L. JON WERTHEIM
is a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, a recent Ferris Professor at Princeton, and the author of five books, including Strokes of Genius:  Federer, Nadal, and the Greatest Match Ever Played.
 
For more information go to scorecasting.com

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