An Analysis of the Last Hour of Betting in the NFL, pp. 307-316

Rodney J. Paul
Andrew P. Weinbach

The last hour of betting for the wagering market in the National Football League (NFL) was examined. In a sample of offshore sportsbooks, nearly a quarter of all bets on NFL games occured in the last hour before kickoff. Bets were shown not to be balanced between each side of the betting proposition. When the betting percentage on the favorite increases in the last hour of betting, there is a simple strategy that has shown to earn statistically significant profits: betting against the public by wagering on the underdog. Unlike horse racing, in which informed bettors are assumed to wager late (near post time), money wagered near the kickoff of NFL action does not appear to be the actions of informed agents, but rather they are recreational bettors behaving simply as consumers.