IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Do Gamblers Think That Teams Tank? Evidence from the NBA


  • Soebbing, Brian

    (University of Alberta, Physical Education and Recreation)

  • Humphreys, Brad

    () (University of Alberta, Department of Economics)


A growing body of literature indicates that sports teams face incentives to lose games at the end of the season. This incentive arises from league entry draft policy. We use data from betting markets to confirm the existence of tanking, or the perception of tanking, in the NBA. Results from a SUR model of point spreads and point differences in NBA games indicate that betting markets believe that tanking takes place in the NBA, even though the evidence that tanking actually exists is mixed. NBA policy changes also affect betting market outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Soebbing, Brian & Humphreys, Brad, 2010. "Do Gamblers Think That Teams Tank? Evidence from the NBA," Working Papers 2010-13, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2010_013

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Full text
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Colin Green & Fernando Lozano & Rob Simmons, 2015. "Rank-Order Tournaments, Probability of Winning and Investing in Talent: Evidence from Champions' League Qualifying Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 232(1), pages 30-40, May.
    2. Brad Humphreys & Candon Johnson, 2017. "The Effect of Superstar Players on Game Attendance: Evidence from the NBA," Working Papers 17-16, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    3. Brad R. Humphreys & Candon Johnson, 2020. "The Effect of Superstars on Game Attendance: Evidence From the NBA," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 21(2), pages 152-175, February.
    4. Arne Feddersen & Brad R. Humphreys & Brian P. Soebbing, 2018. "Sentiment Bias in National Basketball Association Betting," Journal of Sports Economics, , vol. 19(4), pages 455-472, May.
    5. Benjamin Waggoner & Daniel Wines & Brian P. Soebbing & Chad S. Seifried & Jean Michael Martinez, 2014. "“Hot Hand” in the National Basketball Association Point Spread Betting Market: A 34-Year Analysis," International Journal of Financial Studies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(4), pages 1-12, November.

    More about this item


    incentives; betting markets; tanking;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D49 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Other
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2010_013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Joseph Marchand). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.