A great amount of effort is spent in forecasting the outcome of sporting events, but few papers have focused exclusively on the characteristics of sports forecasts. Rather, many papers have been written about the efficiency of sports betting markets. As it turns out, it is possible to derive considerable information about the forecasts and the forecasting process from the studies that tested the markets for economic efficiency. Moreover, the huge number of observations provided by betting markets makes it possible to obtain robust tests of various forecasting hypotheses. This paper is concerned with a number of forecasting topics in horse racing and several team sports. The first topic involves the type of forecast that is made: picking a winner or predicting whether a particular team beats the point spread. Different evaluation procedures will be examined and alternative forecasting methods (models, experts, and the market) will be compared. The paper also examines the evidence about the existence of biases in the forecasts and concludes with the applicability of these results to forecasting in general.
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