Betting to Win
Prof L V Williams.

This one was sent to me by someone I corresponded with over the internet not too long ago - so I never had to hand over any filthy lucre for the privilege of reading it. Just as well really; when it was first published in 2002, the hardback edition had a retail price of twenty five quid, and even now the lowest priced option on Amazon is the Kindle edition which is offered up at £12.80. Really? For a fourteen year old publication? Ouch! Having seen these price tags before even opening the covers, I expected to be holding something of outstanding wisdom and profound benefit in my hands, and as such was keen to get stuck into it. Were my expectations met? Regrettably not.

As another reviewer has written on Amazon, although it has a tag line of "A professional guide to profitable betting", it's more a collection of observations and study findings than a blueprint for developing your own betting strategies aimed at coming out in front. The opening paragraph of the introduction caused me to let out a groan; "If ever there was a golden age of betting this is it . . . and at last the betting man or woman has a real chance of earning money . . . "

The 240 pages found between the covers comprise around 50 chapters (although the last 22 pages are dedicated to appendices and a lengthy bibliography of studies referred to), the majority of which look back on historic market data - prices offered, how they moved and why, and who won what - and past studies of market behaviour across a wide range of sports betting events. Some end with conclusions that are mildly helpful (ie in horseracing longer odds prospects tend to be overpriced to a greater degree than their shorter odds and favourite counterparts), although far too many don't and finish without anything constructive as a summary and pointer to consider for your own betting - and you're left thinking "and . . .?". A good example is chapter 30, Cricket Betting - it ends with this profound piece of wisdom; ". . . whoever wins at the cricket, there should be only one winner in the battle between sophisticated bettor and bookmaker. And that winner should be you.". No shit Sherlock?

There's not really much more to say. This is a title that, for me, promised a lot and delivered very little, and I certainly wouldn't recommend anyone goes out and parts company with any money for it. The person who sent it to me made it clear they didn't want it back, and I won't be hanging on to it as a reference work for use in the future either. I can understand why it never went to a reprint. Sorry Prof - this one only qualifies for a borderline third in my book.

January 2016.