The Economics of Sports Betting
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The Economics of Sports Betting

Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Brad R. Humphreys and Robert Simmons

This unique book delves into a number of intriguing issues and addresses several pertinent questions including, should gambling markets be privatized? Is the ‘hot hand’ hypothesis real or a myth? Are the ‘many’ smarter than the ‘few’ in estimating betting odds? How are prices set in fixed odds betting markets? The book also explores the informational efficiency of betting markets and the prevalence of corruption and illegal betting in sports.
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Chapter 5: Forecasting football match results: are the many smarter than the few?*

Jaume García, Levi Pérez and Plácido Rodríguez

Abstract

In this chapter the authors pose the fundamental question of whether bookmaker probabilities offer superior predictions of match outcomes to bettors themselves. Their test case is Spanish football and the comparison gamblers are football pools bettors who play a game where they forecast match outcomes. The authors find, first, that there is a favourite-longshot bias in Spanish fixed-odds football results betting and second, bookmakers’ predictions outperform those of football pools bettors.

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