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An examination of the empirical derivatives of the favourite-longshot bias in racetrack betting

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  • Russell Sobel
  • S. Travis Raines

Abstract

Market efficiency dictates it equally profitable to bet on any racing participant, including the favourite or longshot. However, a well-documented anomaly is that racetrack bettors tend to overbet longshots and underbet favourites. This study presents and tests two theoretical explanations for this favourite-longshot bias. The unparalleled richness of the data allows the exploration of how the bias changes with several key variables. This study finds the most popular current explanation for the bias, the risk preference model, cannot explain the data as well as an information-based model, in which the bias depends on bet complexity and the information possessed by bettors.

Suggested Citation

  • Russell Sobel & S. Travis Raines, 2003. "An examination of the empirical derivatives of the favourite-longshot bias in racetrack betting," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(4), pages 371-385.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:35:y:2003:i:4:p:371-385
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840110111176
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    2. Johnnie Johnson & Alistair Bruce & Jiejun Yu, 2010. "The ordinal efficiency of betting markets: an exploded logit approach," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(29), pages 3703-3709.
    3. Feess, Eberhard & Müller, Helge & Schumacher, Christoph, 2016. "Estimating risk preferences of bettors with different bet sizes," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 249(3), pages 1102-1112.
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    5. 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.
    6. Raphael Flepp & Stephan Nüesch & Egon Franck, 2013. "Liquidity, Market Efficiency and the Influence of Noise Traders: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from the Betting Industry," Working Papers 341, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    7. Lionel Page & Robert T. Clemen, 2013. "Do Prediction Markets Produce Well‐Calibrated Probability Forecasts?-super-," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123(568), pages 491-513, May.
    8. Vincenzo Candila & Antonio Scognamillo, 2019. "On the Longshot Bias in Tennis Betting Markets: The Casco Normalization," Working Papers 3_236, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche, Università degli Studi di Salerno.
    9. John Peirson, 2008. "Expert Analysis and Insider Information in Horse Race Betting: Regulating Informed Market Behaviour," Studies in Economics 0819, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    10. Eric Cardella & Carl Kitchens, 2017. "The impact of award uncertainty on settlement negotiations," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 20(2), pages 333-367, June.
    11. Maschke Mario & Schmidt Ulrich, 2011. "Das Wettmonopol in Deutschland: Status quo und Reformansätze," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 60(1), pages 110-124, April.
    12. M. Sung & J. E. V. Johnson, 2010. "Revealing Weak‐Form Inefficiency in a Market for State Contingent Claims: The Importance of Market Ecology, Modelling Procedures and Investment Strategies," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 77(305), pages 128-147, January.
    13. Lionel Page, 2012. "‘It ain’t over till it's over.’ Yogi Berra bias on prediction markets," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(1), pages 81-92, January.
    14. Philip W. S. Newall & Dominic Cortis, 2021. "Are Sports Bettors Biased toward Longshots, Favorites, or Both? A Literature Review," Risks, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(1), pages 1-9, January.
    15. Franke, Maximilian, 2020. "Do market participants misprice lottery-type assets? Evidence from the European soccer betting market," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 1-18.
    16. Marshall Gramm & Douglas Owens, 2005. "Determinants of betting market efficiency," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 181-185.
    17. Matti Koivuranta & Marko Korhonen, 2019. "Misperception explains favorite-longshot bias: evidence from the Finnish and Swedish harness horse race markets," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 57(6), pages 2149-2160, December.
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    19. Stefan Winter & Martin Kukuk, 2008. "Do horses like vodka and sponging? - On market manipulation and the favourite-longshot bias," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(1), pages 75-87.

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