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DOES JET LAG CREATE A PROFITABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR NFL BETTORS?

Andy Fodor

Abstract


Traveling across multiple time zones, especially from east-to-west so that hours are “lost”, has documented negative effects on athletic performance. Nichols (2012) finds mixed evidence that sports betting markets fail to account for these effects. We reconsider, for the 2005-2010 NFL regular seasons, the “jet lag” hypothesis with more direct methods. We find that closing lines of NFL contests are set irrationally such that the jet lag effect is not appreciated. More importantly, we are the first to document that betting against potential jet lag teams proves to be markedly profitable. This profitability is statistically significant, which is a standard very rarely encountered throughout the literature. Consistent with our conjectures, we find these results to be even stronger when only afternoon games are kept in the sample and when division games are omitted from the sample.


Keywords


NFL; Sports wagering; Jet-lag effect; Gambling market inefficiency

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5750/jgbe.v8i1.621

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