Book Review: The Odds by Chad Millman

The Odds is a look at the world of sports betting. ESPN columnist, Chad Millman spent the winter of 1999-2000 in Vegas doing investigative journalism into this culture. This book is a result of the time he spent there. Millman captures the positive and negative aspects of sports betting, and presents his findings impartially.

The book is written as a profile of three different players in the Vegas world, and what they represent. The main character is Alan Boston, a professional sports handicapper, known as a wiseguy. Alan is an eccentric Ivy League grad, who has a very unique view of the world. I admire Alan a lot, he is a great stud player (Full Tilt Red Pro) and a world-class college basketball handicapper. I actually heard him interviewed several times on the 2p2 Pokercast, one of my favorite podcasts, and he is one of their best all-time guests. Next, up is the bookmakers Joe Lupo and Bob Scucci of the Stardust casino. They are regarded throughout the industry as some of the best handicappers in the business. Finally Rodney Bosnich, a 23 year old kid, who believes he has a knack for betting sports, and decides to move to Vegas to bet full-time. The book captures the lows and highs for each of these characters based on the professions they have chosen.

The book covers the Superbowl, the biggest single day of sports betting, through March Madness, the end of the college basketball season. Throughout these various events, we see the different aspects each of the players is affects and is affected by. Additionally a number of issues that affect the sports betting industry are touched upon, the legality of sports betting, fixing of games, the offshore, Caribbean sportsbooks, betting emotionally, the high roller lifestyle, the affect sports betting has on relationships based on it's solitary nature, are all covered extensively.

In conclusion, the book is a little dated, however most of the issues are still relevant right now. As I have gotten into sports betting, although for much more nominal figures than anyone in the book, this interests me a lot. I highly recommend picking up a copy on Amazon.

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