Skip to main content
Totals Markets as Evidence Against Widespread Point Shaving
Journal of Predication Markets (2010)
  • Rodney Paul, Syracuse University
  • Richard Borghesi, University of Florida
  • Andrew P Weinbach
Wolfers (2006) suggests that NCAA basketball is marred by widespread gambling corruption. We examine totals wagers in a variety of sports betting markets to determine whether observed outcomes are symmetric around closing lines, an important assumption Wolfers makes in his analysis. Our results show that totals wagers result in just under outcomes more frequently than they result in just over outcomes. This occurs because gamblers strongly prefer to take the over in totals betting, and profit-seeking bookmakers capitalize by shading totals lines upwards. Likewise, prior work shows that gamblers in point spread markets strongly prefer to bet on favorites, so it is not surprising that win/no cover outcomes occur more frequently that do win/cover outcomes. We conclude that the critical but erroneous symmetric-distribution assumption is responsible for creating the illusion of widespread point shaving.
Publication Date
Publisher Statement
Copyright 2010 Journal of Predication Markets. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and Journal of Predication Markets. The article may be found at
Citation Information
Rodney Paul, Richard Borghesi and Andrew P Weinbach. "Totals Markets as Evidence Against Widespread Point Shaving" Journal of Predication Markets Vol. 4 Iss. 2 (2010)
Available at: