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The Favourite-Longshot Bias, Bookmaker Margins and Insider Trading in a Variety of Betting Markets


  • Michael Cain

    (University of Wales, Bangor and University of Wales, Cardiff)

  • David Law

    (University of Wales, Bangor and University of Wales, Cardiff)

  • David Peel

    (University of Wales, Bangor and University of Wales, Cardiff)


This paper verifies the existence of the favourite-longshot bias in a variety of sports betting markets where odds are set by bookmakers, but the precise pattern of the bias is not identical. Evidence is found to support a central prediction of the Shin (1993) model, which asserts that bookmakers are impelled to create a bias in their odds because of the presence of insider traders: that margins increase with the number of competitors. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd and the Board of Trustees of the Bulletin of Economic Research, 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Cain & David Law & David Peel, 2003. "The Favourite-Longshot Bias, Bookmaker Margins and Insider Trading in a Variety of Betting Markets," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 263-273, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:buecrs:v:55:y:2003:i:3:p:263-273

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jinook Jeong & Jee Young Kim & Yoon Jae Ro, 2017. "On the Efficiency of Racetrack Betting Market: A New Test for the Favorite-Longshot Bias," Working papers 2017rwp-106, Yonsei University, Yonsei Economics Research Institute.
    2. McAlvanah, Patrick & Moul, Charles C., 2013. "The house doesn’t always win: Evidence of anchoring among Australian bookies," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 87-99.
    3. Lahvicka, Jiri, 2013. "What Causes the Favorite-Longshot Bias? Further Evidence from Tennis," MPRA Paper 47905, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. William Hurley & Lawrence McDonough, 2007. "Imperfect Market-Maker Competition, Heterogeneous Expectations, and The Favourite-Longshot Bias in Wagering Markets," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(1), pages 3-12, February.
    5. Dominic Cortis, 2015. "Expected Values And Variances In Bookmaker Payouts: A Theoretical Approach Towards Setting Limits On Odds," Journal of Prediction Markets, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 9(1), pages 1-14.
    6. David Paton & Leighton Vaughan Williams, 2005. "Forecasting outcomes in spread betting markets: can bettors use 'quarbs' to beat the book?," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(2), pages 139-154.
    7. Michael A. Smith & David Paton & Leighton Vaughan-Williams, 2004. "Costs, biases and betting markets: new evidence," Working Papers 2004/5, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham Business School, Economics Division.
    8. Nikolaos Vlastakis & George Dotsis & Raphael N. Markellos, 2009. "How efficient is the European football betting market? Evidence from arbitrage and trading strategies," Journal of Forecasting, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 28(5), pages 426-444.
    9. Les Coleman, 2007. "Just How Serious is Insider Trading? An Evaluation using Thoroughbred Wagering Markets," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 1(1), pages 31-55, February.
    10. Charles Moul & Joseph Keller, 2014. "Time to Unbridle U.S. Thoroughbred Racetracks? Lessons from Australian Bookies," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 44(3), pages 211-239, May.
    11. Berkowitz, Jason P. & Depken, Craig A. & Gandar, John M., 2017. "A favorite-longshot bias in fixed-odds betting markets: Evidence from college basketball and college football," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 233-239.
    12. Hofer, Vera & Leitner, Johannes, 2017. "Relative pricing of binary options in live soccer betting markets," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 66-85.

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