Beat the Sportsbook: An Insider’s Guide to the NFL Review
This book contains twenty-one chapters that cover just about everything people who are interested in betting on the NFL need to know. This book reveals valuable tips that are useful for both complete beginners and pro bettors.
Many of the people who use the strategies provided in this book are impressed with how much more money they accumulate over the football season.
Some of the topics covered in this book include the various bets that can be placed in the NFL, how to use power ratings, and obstacles that bettors need to look out for.
This book also contains a variety of different charts that complement the concepts Gordon is trying to teach his readers. These charts are not only extremely detailed, but even readers with very little background knowledge can interpret them with ease.
Bettors who use the advice written within the pages in this book are guaranteed to be more successful bettors in the long run. In this fact alone, many bettors are intrigued by the potential profit this book has to offer.
Do not be dismayed though, as Gordon also explains how winning consistently takes a great deal of time, hard work, and dedication. For more information on what readers can expect to discover when reading this book, please take the time to read this extensive book review.
About the Book
Beat the Sportsbook
- Sports Bettors
- Dan Gordon
- 317 Pages
- Point of View
- First Person Narrative
- Cardoza Publishing
- Publishing Date
Brief Bio of Daniel Gordon
Before he published this book, Dan Gordon would spend the majority of his days recording football statistics and analyzing the data to see where he could make improvements on his bets. Over the course of just a few years, he made millions of dollars using various methods.
Soon, bookies stopped accepting bets from him because they knew he was a shoe-in to win. It was his father who suggested he put all of his sport’s knowledge into writing a strategy book.
We have his father to thank for making this book a reality and for making Gordon the established handicapper he is today.
Since the book was published, Gordon is often referred to one of the most successful handicappers in the world of sports betting. The ESPN, Inside Sports magazine, and the NBC have all asked him to be their main sports betting consultant.
He has advised all of them at different points in his career, but now he mainly writes his own betting columns that have been published in the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, the New York Daily News, and the San Francisco Examiner, to name a few of the more well-known newspapers.
Chapter Summaries & Thoughts
The introduction gives readers the necessary background knowledge they need to understand the National Football League’s betting lines. This chapter is short, sweet, and to the point.
However, we believe it was necessary to include because some readers may not have any background knowledge of sports betting at all; this chapter makes everything much clearer for those readers.
- Chapter 2: My Sports Betting Journey
In this chapter, readers get insight into Gordon’s past experiences with betting on the NFL, so that they can learn from his mistakes. He tells his readers about the old strategies he used that didn’t work, how discouraged he felt, and how he turned his situation around by using new methods that helped him start winning consistently.
“I now always base my handicapping on betting models and power ratings rather than feel or instinct… It is my hope that the information and handicapping models in this book for betting the NFL will help make you a winner as well.”
This chapter gives readers background information on some of the common concepts that are taught throughout the entire book. Some of the topics covered in chapter 3 are parlay cards, media coverage, sports services, touts, bookies, and more.
Gordon does this so that his readers will understand the general idea of these concepts before he covers them in more depth in the chapters to come.
- Chapter 4: How Pro Football Is Bet
Chapter 4 covers the most widely used bets that can be placed when it comes to betting on the NFL: betting the odds, betting the point spread, moving the line, and betting against the point spread.
We appreciate that because this chapter is slightly more intense than previous chapters, Gordon provided a couple definitions in the chapter. This may have been the first time he added definitions into his book, but it certainly won’t be the last.
- Chapter 5: Other NFL Wagers
Since readers have just been exposed to the typical bets that are found in NFL betting, Gordon decides to explain to his readers about the more obscure NFL wagers in chapter 5. Some of these wagers include over-under bets, parlays, reverses, and teasers.
Gordon also uses this chapter to give a brief overview of how the line is set by giving examples of games that took place in 1996. Using examples from 1996, is partially why there have been some complaints about this book being out of date.
- Chapter 6: Obstacles in the Bettor’s Path
One thing we truly appreciate about this book is that it doesn’t give readers unrealistic expectations about betting on their own. This chapter is dedicated to explaining the plethora of obstacles that readers will come across when betting in the future.
Some of the obstacles covered in this chapter include NFL touts, sucker bets, the media’s influence on bets, and much more. Gordon also gives his view on why he doesn’t believe the NFL could possibly be fixed, providing financial figures to back up his opinions.
Although this chapter isn’t the first time Gordon mentions NFL touts, this is the first time that he goes over them in great detail. He provided readers with a straightforward definition of what a tout is at the very beginning of the chapter, making sure all of his readers are on the same page.
He gave readers a general background on what touts are, before giving his opinion on how he truly feels about them.
- Chapter 8: Sucker Bets and Their Allure
Gordon starts the chapter off by saying,
“What makes these bets alluring is that they seem to pay bonuses that don’t exist on straight one-game-at-a-time bets. But in reality, those exotic bets usually cost you.”
He then spends the rest of the chapter explaining parlays, parlay cards, reverses, and other sucker bets to be on the lookout for.
- Chapter 9: The Winning Foundation
This chapter focuses on making sure readers have the right set of mind when they place their bets. Gordon warns readers that betting for the wrong reasons usually ends up in a financial disaster.
He provides a specific example from the past when he made some poor decisions in the 2002 season, as he highly overrated the St. Louis Rams. We love the authenticity he brings to the text by approaching examples in this way; he really knows how to connect to his readers on a more personal level.
- Chapter 10: Beating the Point Spread
This chapter may be the most important chapter of this book, and we aren’t just saying that because it’s one of the longest. This chapter is full of valuable advice on letter power ratings, projected power ratings, pre-season power ratings, number power ratings, and various examples of how power rating influences how readers should bet on the point spread.
Along the pages of this chapter, readers will stumble upon nine different reference charts that they can use as tools to better understand the concepts Gordon is teaching them.
He also ends the chapter by giving readers advice in knowing how to determine the amount of money they should wager based on the ratings.
- Chapter 11: The Pro Bettor’s Toolkit: Games 1-4
“When I bet the NFL, I divide the season into four segments: the first four games, games five through eight, the last eight regular season games, and the playoffs.”
This chapter covers everything players need to know about betting on the first four games of the NFL season, as this chapter alone gives readers eighteen pointers on the subject.
Some of the most important topics covered in this chapter are due ups and due downs, as he goes over these in length. This chapter also has a myriad of definitions, as there are many expressions in this chapter that Gordon is introducing for the first time.
- Chapter 12: The Pro Bettor’s Toolkit: Games 5-8
This chapter, although not as extensive, is also packed full of valuable tips that readers can use to place wagers on games 5 through 8 of the NFL season.
Specifically, players learn how to analyze revenge games, home field advantage, out-of-division favorites, team rivalries, sloppy wins, and much more. This chapter gives readers realistic expectations of how much thought and hard work goes into placing wise bets on the NFL.
- Chapter 13: The Pro Bettor’s Toolkit: Games 9-16
This chapter is very short, focusing mainly on spread range and undefeated at home teams. He explains how to handle these two obstacles by giving a few specific examples from the Raven’s 2002 season.
We appreciate all of his real-life examples and how he uses a variety of different teams in these examples instead of just one or two.
- Chapter 14: The Pro Bettor’s Toolkit: Betting the Playoffs
This chapter is another short and simple one that explains the changes players need to make to their wagers when it comes to the playoffs. Gordon gives a few examples from the 2002 season, but explains that he will go into greater detail in the later chapters of the book.
- Chapter 15: Other Types of Bets
This is the chapter of the book Gordon uses to explain other types of bets to his readers that he believes they need to understand. This chapter provides information on exhibition games, proposition wagers, and money lines.
This all might have been a little confusing had Gordon not provided Chart 11, which displays the correct moneyline for each point spread very clearly.
- Chapter 16: Keeping Records
Gordon emphasizes the importance of keeping records of team and player performances, along with records of all previous bets. He covers number power rating spread, spread range, emotional rating, character rating, offensive/ defensive rating so that players can record all the necessary information they need to make a profit.
We appreciate that Gordon doesn’t just teach his readers the importance of keeping records, but that he also provides detailed records of previous seasons so that they have a model to reference to.
- Chapter 17: More Winning Tips
This chapter is full of extra advice that Gordon feels his reader needs to know in order to make wiser wagers in the future. Chapter 17 includes information on using the media, approaching injuries, finding access to good places to bet, and money management. He leaves readers with this statement,
“But even for the most competent handicappers, losing seasons are an inevitable fact of life in wagering on the NFL.”
Although this tidbit may seem a little discouraging, we appreciate that he is being so honest with his readers.
- Chapter 18: Hard Work: A Week in the Life of a Professional Sports Bettor
We have mentioned before that Gordon doesn’t leave his readers with unrealistic expectation on what betting on the NFL entails, and this chapter focuses heavily on the subject.
Gordon uses this chapter to explain to his readers how much hard work and time goes in to being a successful sports bettor. He recorded his daily activities through one week in the regular NFL season, so readers can get a realistic understanding of what it takes to be a professional sports bettor.
- Chapter 19: Following a Team Through the Year
In this Chapter, Gordon takes his readers up north to analyze the Buffalo Bills’ 2004 season; Gordon covered every game they played, explaining why he would have placed certain wagers. He discussed the exact moments in the season that influenced the bets he would have made in the future.
This chapter is very thorough, but it can be a little confusing for readers that don’t fully understand why the opposing teams were given the ratings they were.
“In summary, with power ratings, it’s important to try to be objective in observing each game and comparing each result to other games the team has played. It is almost always a mistake to overreact to one game.”
- Chapter 20: A Full Season of NFL Bets
This chapter is a complete account of Gordon’s betting decisions over the entire 2004 seasons. It covers everything from pre-season evaluations, to the play offs, and finally to the Super Bowl.
Players get to see how he organized and ranked each team, giving examples of events that happened in the season that had an impact on his decisions. For those who may have confused after reading the previous chapter will have a much better understanding this time around.
- Chapter 21: The Final Word
In this final chapter, Gordon gives some last advice for his readers to guarantee that they’ll be ready to make more educated bets on their own. One of his final pieces of advice that he deemed to be very important was,
“The only reason to bet NFL games is to make money. Let others be the showoffs and be the ones who bet for their egos or for the thrill of being in action. In the long run, these bettors will be indirectly be the ones paying you your winnings.”
This bold statement was a great way to sum up this book.
What Others Are Saying
“Gordon’s winning advice is brutally honest and profitable and shows how the real lines are set, how to establish your own betting lines and power ratings, and how to separate performance from perception. You’ll learn to beat the point spreads and money lines, and how to bet underdogs, propositions, parlays, futures, and more.”
“Every once in a while, a book comes along that you realize is a seminal work, a treatise so sweeping in its scope that it is designed to become an instant classic in the field…[This book is] by far the best.”
“Dan Gordon, who is widely regarded as one of the three best football handicappers in the world, shares his inside tips and strategies on making big money betting on NFL football. Much of the information here is available nowhere else.”
“A must read for any beginner or experienced player of one of the most street-smart theorists and bettors of this generation.”
Daniel Gordon’s NFL Handicapping Software
For those who have read this book and are ready to take their knowledge to the next level can purchase the necessary software to help them accomplish this.
The software automatically calculates number power rankings, letter power rankings, projected lines, and win percentages.
It updates weekly during the regular NFL season, according to how teams are performing. This is an added resource that will ensure that bettors are reaching their full potential.
Our Rating and Why We Recommend It
One reason why this novel received such a high rating is that it was written in a simple and easy to understand language. When Gordon introduces new terminology that he realizes many people may not be familiar with, he’ll define the word right there on the pages.
The new vocabulary word will also be boldfaced so that readers won’t be able to overlook it. Gordon goes out of his way to ensure that his readers are truly grasping the message he is trying to get across, and it’s very refreshing to see that.
Another great element of this book is the fact that it’s packed full of quality information that’s backed up by years of research. Gordon is a very qualified handicapper who has dedicated years of his life to finding ways to improve his betting techniques.
He doesn’t simply tell his readers to do something without first explaining how he realized that was the best approach to take.
He uses real football seasons and real teams to further explain his advice.
Chapter 19 is actually dedicated to studying the Bills 2002 Football season to determine which bets should be placed and when.
He’s not biased towards any specific teams, as he actually usually examples from almost every team in the NFL throughout the book. Readers shouldn’t be surprised if their favorite teams are mentioned or analyzed.
Using football teams we all know and love makes it much easier to connect to his stories and truly grasp the concepts he is explaining. To make his concepts even more clear, he has provided supplemental charts where necessary.
The only downside we truly see and the only reason why it didn’t receive a full five stars is that in order to get his point a crossed, Gordon tends to repeat himself quite a bit; some readers don’t like to read the same things more than once.
Another common complaint we often hear about this book is that it’s already becoming outdated, as it was written nearly a decade ago now.
Although we cannot argue that betting techniques change over the years, we don’t believe that it changes too drastically in that short amount of time. Currently, we wouldn’t consider the year this book was written in to negatively impact the effectiveness of its content.
Dan Gordon did an excellent job in writing this book because he is upfront with his readers and doesn’t give them unrealistic expectations.
Despite this books having a few minor flaws, we highly recommend reading this if you’re interesting in becoming a professional sports bettor or if you just want to learn more about placing wagers in the NFL.