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Determinants of NFL Spread Pricing: Incorporation of Google Search Data Over the Course of the Gambling Week

By Shiv S. Gidumal and Roland D. Muench

We investigate the factors that Las Vegas incorporates into opening spreads for NFL matchups. We include a novel proxy measure for gambler sentiment constructed with Google search data. We then investigate whether changes in this proxy are reflected in the closing spreads for NFL matchups and find that they are incorporated. We also reveal bettors’ preferences for highly visible teams and teams performing well recently. Lastly, we show that the factors that matter in the actual outcome of a game are home field advantage, average points scored for and against, and, most interestingly, our proxy measure for gambler sentiment.

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Advisor: Michelle Connolly | JEL Codes: G14, G17

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Jennifer Becker
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Michelle P. Connolly
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