A Method for Determining Widespread Point Shaving Applied to College Basketball

33 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2016 Last revised: 22 Mar 2017

See all articles by Jason P. Berkowitz

Jason P. Berkowitz

St. John's University - Department of Economics and Finance

Craig A. Depken

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - The Belk College of Business Administration - Department of Economics

John Gandar

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte

Date Written: March 21, 2017

Abstract

This paper extends and corrects previous methodology used to investigate the potential for point shaving in NCAA men’s college basketball. We incorporate information from additional betting markets, including second-half betting markets, which allows us to dramatically reduce the unexpected number of heavy favorites that win but do not cover the points spread by the end of the game. After considering the various incentives facing heavy favorites and the status of the game at half time, a dramatically smaller proportion of games are actually conducive to point shaving. This, in turn, suggests that the practice is unlikely to be widespread in men’s college basketball. Our methodology can be applied to other sports in which heavy favorites are common.

Keywords: corruption, sports, cheating, college sports

JEL Classification: L83, Z22

Suggested Citation

Berkowitz, Jason P. and Depken, Craig A. and Gandar, John, A Method for Determining Widespread Point Shaving Applied to College Basketball (March 21, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2842760 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2842760

Jason P. Berkowitz

St. John's University - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Jamaica, NY 11439
United States

Craig A. Depken (Contact Author)

University of North Carolina at Charlotte - The Belk College of Business Administration - Department of Economics ( email )

Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

John Gandar

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte ( email )

9201 University City Boulevard
Charlotte, NC 28223
United States

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