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Re-examining the betting market on Major League Baseball games: is there a reverse favourite–longshot bias?

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A recent study of the fixed-odds betting market on baseball games, while finding that the betting market is generally efficient, also found evidence of an underbetting on underdog teams. This article examines the evidence for this new anomaly. It corrects Woodland and Woodland's estimates of the commission, subjective win probabilities and test statistics. The efficiency null hypothesis cannot be rejected for all of their tests when revised test statistics are calculated for their sample period (however, like them, it was found that slight underdogs are underbet). It is also shown that their bias is not simply a bias involving favourites and underdogs. Whether underdogs are playing at home or away also seems to matter in their sample period. As well a positive relationship between returns and subjective probabilities was found for underdogs and favourites, a relationship suggestive of a favourite-longshot bias rather than its reverse. It is concluded that there is insufficient evidence to claim that this bias is a 'true market inefficiency'.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2002-07-10

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