Review of Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting

Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting

Good books on sports gambling are rather rare, but that's what King Yao delivers in the follow-up to his acclaimed Weighing the Odds in Hold 'em Poker. If a sports gambling book helps bettors avoid one losing wager or points them to one winning bet they may have otherwise passed, it will pay for itself many times over. It's impossible to come away from reading this book without that happening.

A brief Q & A with the author appears on page two.


One of the best things about Weighing the Odds in Sports Betting is that King Yao manages to pack plenty of information into just 254 pages. There is something for sports bettors of all experience levels and even veteran bettors will enjoy reading some of the material for less experienced bettors. It's presented in an easy-to-digest manner and filled with valuable pointers.

The early chapters give a solid foundation of a mathematical perspective of sports betting, which is really at the heart of the matter. Winning sports bettors don't always wager on the teams they believe are going to win, but wager on the teams where they perceive there is good value for the money. This book will make the job of determining which teams those are a bit easier.

Scalping, Middling, and Hedging

The real strength of the book, in my opinion, are the three chapters that deal with scalping, middling, and hedging.

Yao presents a solid analysis of how to determine if scalping or hedging is worthwhile in particular situations, something many sports bettors don't take into consideration when placing an additional bet. For a brief description of hedging and scalping click here.

Any bettor who places halftime wagers or places bets early in the week during football season with the expectation of betting the other way late in the week is sure to benefit from the book and its description of looking at them from an Expected Value perspective.

Many Topics Covered

Another strong point in the book's favor is that Yao covers a multitude of sports and include tips on first half betting in the NFL, baseball totals and first halves, along with ideas on March Madness, Super Bowl propositions, office pools, futures and a lot more. There are plenty of charts and tables presented for readers, which make some of the concepts easier to follow, although none of them are too complicated.

It's difficult to try and mention everything Yao covers in the book, as he does a solid and thorough job detailing numerous topics that are of interest to sports bettors.


The best way to view this book is like a road map towards your ultimate goal of becoming a winning sports bettor. Just as a map can only point you in the right direction - you still have to do the actual work of getting to that destination - this book will point you in the right direction of becoming a winning sports bettor, but you still have to do the work yourself.

No sports gambling book will be like a book of recipes, where all you have to do is follow the instructions and you'll become an instant winner. It takes plenty of effort and tools such as this book will make that goal more obtainable.

Author Question and Answer

Mr. Yao was kind enough to answer several questions for readers. How did you get interested in gambling and at what point did you decide to view it as a serious endeavor?
Mr. Yao: I've been interested in sports betting and card playing since middle school. It was something I always enjoyed.
When I graduated college in 1992, I went to work for a equity options trading company called Susquehanna Partners.

They were market makers in equity options and equity index options in the stock exchanges. My job was to trade for the proprietary position in specific products. I view the mindset of successful gambling as very similar to the mindset of successful trading. To answer your question, my first job out of college was really a serious endeavor in gambling for an edge. What is the most common mistake made you notice from the average bettor?
Mr. Yao: The average bettor thinks about who they think will win the game, and then they bet on that team. They ignore the odds may already reflect a high chance of the team winning already. This is why teams are often overbet in the point spread when they are large favorites. Conversely, large underdogs do well against the point spread since the line is often inflated by the betting action of the average bettor. In the last few years, there has been an influx of big money from sharp bettors in the market, so this is not as simple as it used to be.

Q & A Session Continued Since Weighing the Odds in Hold 'Em Poker was released first, do you view yourself as more of a sports bettor or a poker player? Is there anything you can take from one form of betting to the other?
Mr. Yao: After I wrote Weighing the Odds in Hold'em Poker, I started to focus on sports betting.

I definitely view myself more as a sports bettor now, I rarely play poker these days. There are some similarities between the two. The broadest way to say it is you need to think sharply when analyzing a hand or a sports bet. Do you have more books planned in the future?
Mr. Yao: I may write another book on sports betting, but I am not sure yet. I write monthly articles for the Two Plus Two Internet Magazine. I have been thinking of converting some of those articles into a full length book along with some new material. If there was one thing people would take away from your book what would it be?
Mr. Yao: That sports betting can be beat if you are intelligent, work hard and are creative. The phrase of "the house always wins" is true for most people, but not for everyone.