IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Point Shaving in NCAA Basketball: Corrupt Behavior or Statistical Artifact?

Listed author(s):
  • George Diemer


    (Department of Economics, Temple University)

  • Mike Leeds


    (Department of Economics, Temple University)

The possibility that college basketball teams shave points -- win games by less than the point spread established in gambling markets -- has generated heated controversy among researchers. Some claim to find clear evidence of point shaving, while others assert that the evidence is a statistical artifact. We use data from college basketball NCAA games from 1995-1996 through 2008-2009 to support the existence of point shaving. We identify two incentives to shave points and find as these incentives increase so too does the statistical evidence of point shaving. First we show that the distribution of the outcomes of games in which there is a heavy favorite differs from the distribution of outcomes of games that do not have a heavy favorite. Second we show that point shaving is not a significant factor in post-season games when the incentive to shave decreases.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: First version, 2010
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Department of Economics, Temple University in its series DETU Working Papers with number 1009.

in new window

Date of creation: Aug 2010
Handle: RePEc:tem:wpaper:1009
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Ritter Annex 877, Philadelphia, PA 19122

Phone: 215.204.8880
Fax: 215.204.8173
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:tem:wpaper:1009. 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: (Dimitrios Diamantaras)

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.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with 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 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.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.