Point shaving in college basketball: A cautionary tale for forensic economics

Dan Bernhardt, Steven Heston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Point shaving is the practice by favored teams of attempting to win by less than the point spread to yield profits for gamblers who bet on the underdog. Consistent with point shaving, strong favorites are anomalously likely to win by less than the spread. To distinguish between innocent and criminal explanations, we (1) exploit information in line movements and (2) isolate games without betting lines to identify games where point shaving is implausible and document similar patterns. The data are better explained by strategic efforts to maximize the probability of winning. These findings highlight the importance of methodology design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalEconomic Inquiry
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics

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