Football Betting Trends

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Schaefer, Sam
Statistics and Probability
thesis / dissertation description
This thesis examines multiple aspects of sports betting within the NFL. The purpose of this thesis was to determine whether or not a statistical advantage existed between general betting trends and whether or not these trends yielded favorable outcomes in the long run. In this thesis all of the NFL games from the 2009 season are placed into three ranges according to their corresponding point spreads. This thesis then uses a binomial test to check whether advantages existed by betting on the favorite or underdog. Money-line bets are also examined and the competitiveness of these games is based on the previously created point spread ranges. Within these money-line bets this thesis tests for statistical advantages by betting on either the favorite or the underdog from one point spread range to another. It also tests whether or not any of these bets would prove to be beneficial in the long run. In addition, this thesis examines the probabilities of coming out even by making a select few bets in a particular range. From these tests the results show that there was very little difference from one betting trend to another, and that most of them resulted in a net loss. However, the results suggest that in order to turn a profit gambling, more sophisticated trends must be used as well as focusing time and attention on the less obvious aspects of sports betting.