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The Impact of Sentiment on Point Spreads in the College Football Wagering Market


  • Greg Durham
  • Tod Perry


This paper investigates whether sentimental bettors affect the point-spread-formation process in the college football wagering market, as well as whether this market is efficient. Following Avery and Chevalier (1999), this study focuses solely on sources of sentiment that have natural analogues in the stock market, such as predictions of so-called experts, momentum in teams' performances, teams that are highly visible, and teams with high fan avidity. Sentiment relating to expert picks, even though the picks are uninformative, nonetheless is related to intraweek changes in spreads. Also, bettors' sentiment for recent performance against the spread, for teams in major conferences, and for teams with high fan avidity appears to be related to spreads moving during the week. However, betting strategies designed to exploit any anticipated sentimental betting are marginally profitable at best, suggesting that rational arbitrageurs serve to correct most biases in spreads.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Durham & Tod Perry, 2008. "The Impact of Sentiment on Point Spreads in the College Football Wagering Market," Journal of Prediction Markets, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-27, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:buc:jpredm:v:2:y:2008:i:1:p:1-27

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    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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