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Using Betting Market Odds to Measure the Uncertainty of Outcome in Major League Baseball


  • Rodney J. Paul

    () (St. Bonaventure University)

  • Andrew P. Weinbach

    () (Coastal Carolina University)

  • Richard Borghesi

    () (University of South Florida – Sarasota)

  • Mark Wilson

    () (St. Bonaventure University)


Betting market odds for Major League Baseball are used to examine the level of uncertainty of outcome, an ex-ante form of competitive balance. The efficient markets hypothesis cannot be rejected for the years 1990-2006 in Major League Baseball. Therefore, the odds provide an ex-ante measure of the uncertainty of outcome of baseball games in the minds of fans and bettors. The odds for both the American and National Leagues were shown to increase during the 1990s, implying more certainty in the expected outcome of the game. Bettors and fans believed favorites in Major League Baseball were more likely to win during this time frame. Differences in the average odds, formed ex-ante, compared to win percentages, formed ex-post, help to explain the dichotomy found in Schmidt and Berri (2001) in relation to public belief in less competitiveness compared to economic findings of relatively high levels of competitive balance.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney J. Paul & Andrew P. Weinbach & Richard Borghesi & Mark Wilson, 2009. "Using Betting Market Odds to Measure the Uncertainty of Outcome in Major League Baseball," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 4(4), pages 255-263, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:4:y:2009:i:4:p:255-263

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arne Feddersen & Wolfgang Maennig, 2005. "Trends in Competitive Balance: Is there Evidence for Growing Imbalance in Professional Sport Leagues?," Working Papers 0012005, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    2. Wolfgang Maennig & Florian Schwarthoff, 2006. "Stadium Architecture and regional economic development: International experience and the plans of Durban," Working Papers 200604, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
    3. Arne Feddersen, 2006. "Economic Consequences of the UEFA Champions League for National Championships - The Case of Germany," Working Papers 0012006, Chair for Economic Policy, University of Hamburg.
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    Cited by:

    1. David Alan Peel, 2013. "On the Implications of the Markowitz Model of Utility embodying Gain Seeking Preferences for Odds on Betting and Bookmakers choice of Spread or Odds Betting," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(2), pages 1420-1428.
    2. Caruso, Raul & Addesa, Francesco & Di Domizio, Marco, 2016. "The Determinants Of The TV Demand Of Soccer: Empirical Evidence On Italian Serie A For The Period 2008-2015," MPRA Paper 70189, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    uncertainty of outcome; market efficiency; economics; baseball;

    JEL classification:

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


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