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College Football Rankings and Market Efficiency

  • Ray Fair
  • John Oster
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    The results in this paper show that various college football ranking systems have useful independent information for predicting the outcomes of games. Optimal weights for the systems are estimated, and the use of these weights produces a predictive system that is more accurate than any of the individual systems. The results also provide a fairly precise estimate of the size of the home field advantage. These results may be of interest to the Bowl Championship Series in choosing which teams to play in the national championship game. The results also show, however, that none of the systems, including the optimal combination, contains any useful information that is not in the final Las Vegas point spread. It is argued in the paper that this is a fairly strong test of the efficiency of the college football betting market.

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    File URL: http://icfpub.som.yale.edu/publications/2377
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Yale School of Management in its series Yale School of Management Working Papers with number amz2377.

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    Date of creation: 01 Oct 2002
    Date of revision: 01 Aug 2007
    Handle: RePEc:ysm:somwrk:amz2377
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://icf.som.yale.edu/

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    1. Avery, Christopher & Chevalier, Judith, 1999. "Identifying Investor Sentiment from Price Paths: The Case of Football Betting," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 72(4), pages 493-521, October.
    2. Woodland, Linda M & Woodland, Bill M, 1994. " Market Efficiency and the Favorite-Longshot Bias: The Baseball Betting Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 49(1), pages 269-79, March.
    3. Gray, Philip K & Gray, Stephen F, 1997. " Testing Market Efficiency: Evidence from the NFL Sports Betting Market," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 52(4), pages 1725-37, September.
    4. Camerer, Colin F, 1989. "Does the Basketball Market Believe in the 'Hot Hand'?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1257-61, December.
    5. Sauer, Raymond D, et al, 1988. "Hold Your Bets: Another Look at the Efficiency of the Gambling Market for National Football League Games: Comment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(1), pages 206-13, February.
    6. Fair, Ray C & Shiller, Robert J, 1990. "Comparing Information in Forecasts from Econometric Models," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 375-89, June.
    7. John M. Gandar & William H. Dare & Craig R. Brown & Richard A. Zuber, 1998. "Informed Traders and Price Variations in the Betting Market for Professional Basketball Games," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(1), pages 385-401, 02.
    8. Dare, William H. & MacDonald, S. Scott, 1996. "A generalized model for testing the home and favorite team advantage in point spread markets," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 295-318, February.
    9. Lyn D. Pankoff, 1968. "Market Efficiency and Football Betting," The Journal of Business, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41, pages 203.
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