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NFL bettor biases and price setting: further tests of the Levitt hypothesis of sportsbook behaviour

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  • Rodney Paul
  • Andrew Weinbach

Abstract

Empirical support for the Levitt hypothesis of sportsbook behaviour, where sportsbooks set prices to maximize profits, not to clear the market, is shown using data from actual sportsbooks. Betting percentages on favourites and underdogs (pointspread market) and overs and unders (totals market) were obtained using actual dollars bet (www.sportsbook.com) and percentage of bets made (www.sportsinsights.com). Both data sets reinforce the idea that sportsbooks are not setting prices to attract even betting dollars on both sides of the proposition. Big favourites, road favourites and overs on high totals are all shown to attract a significantly higher percentage of bets in both samples. Betting against public sentiment is shown to be statistically profitable for the National Football League pointspread market, but not in the market for totals.

Suggested Citation

  • Rodney Paul & Andrew Weinbach, 2011. "NFL bettor biases and price setting: further tests of the Levitt hypothesis of sportsbook behaviour," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(2), pages 193-197.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:apeclt:v:18:y:2011:i:2:p:193-197
    DOI: 10.1080/13504850903508242
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    Cited by:

    1. Igan, Deniz & Pinheiro, Marcelo & Smith, John, 2011. ""White men can't jump," but would you bet on it?," MPRA Paper 31469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Igan, Deniz & Pinheiro, Marcelo & Smith, John, 2015. "A study of a market anomaly: “White Men Can’t Jump”, but would you bet on it?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 13-25.
    3. Justin Davis & Andy Fodor & Luke McElfresh & Kevin Kreiger, 2015. "Exploiting Week 2 Bias in the NFL Betting Markets," Journal of Prediction Markets, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 9(1), pages 53-67.
    4. Jeremy Sandford & Paul Shea, 2013. "Optimal Setting of Point Spreads," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(317), pages 149-170, January.
    5. Andy Fodor, 2014. "Does Jet Lag Create A Profitable Opportunity For Nfl Bettors?," Journal of Gambling Business and Economics, University of Buckingham Press, vol. 8(1), pages 41-52.
    6. Andy Fodor & Michael DiFilippo & Kevin Krieger & Justin Davis, 2013. "Inefficient pricing from holdover bias in NFL point spread markets," Applied Financial Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(17), pages 1407-1418, September.
    7. Igan, Deniz & Pinheiro, Marcelo & Smith, John, 2012. "Racial biases and market outcomes: "White men can't jump," but would you bet on it?," MPRA Paper 36069, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Salaga, Steven & Tainsky, Scott, 2015. "Betting lines and college football television ratings," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 112-116.

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