Sports Betting Over/Under Analysis

“Market Efficiency and a Profitable Betting Rule”
Rodney Paul & Andrew Weinbach
2002

The following is a brief summary of a 2002 “Over/Under” (Totals) study conducted by two economist, Rodney Paul and Andrew Weinbach. They uncover and interesting Over/Under patterns Their paper entitle, “Market Efficiency and a Profitable Betting Rule,” appeared in The Journal of Sports Economics. This 2002 study focuses on “total” bets, wagers on the total # of points scored by the home and visiting team. They look at all the total bets from 1979-2000 (4,589 Games). The authors  theorizes that people enjoy rooting for scoring so the total should be artificially inflated in games that have higher than average total. Mostly games that feature two high scoring teams. As the table below demonstrates, they found interesting and profitable results.

THE “UNDER” IN THE NFL 1979-200 (4,589 Games)

“Under” Win %
All games (average pre-game total = 40.3) 51.0%
Games with pre-game total of 45.5 or higher 55.1%
Games with pre-game total of 46.5 or higher 57.0%
Games with pre-game total of 47.5 or higher 58.7%

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