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The Impact of Visiting Team Travel on Game Outcome and Biases in NFL Betting Markets

Mark Nichols

Journal of Sports Economics, 2014, vol. 15, issue 1, 78-96

Abstract: Using data on regular season National Football League games from 1981-2004, this study examines the impact that travel has on game outcome and whether betting markets fully incorporate this information. A visiting team travelling west to east and crossing at least one time zone is shown to significantly increase the probability of the home team winning. This impact increases with distance, but at a decreasing rate. Evidence on whether betting markets fully account for this travel effect is mixed. While there is evidence that markets do not fully account for the impact of travel and that bettors underestimate the home team’s score whenever the visitor crosses a time zone, the model does not provide a profitable betting strategy out of sample. Thus, any bias is likely too small to profitably exploit.

Keywords: sports wagering; efficiency; travel; game outcome; NFL (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:15:y:2014:i:1:p:78-96