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Using Sports Wagering Markets to Evaluate and Compare Team Winning Streaks in Sports

DOI: 10.4236/ajor.2015.55029, PP. 357-366

Keywords: Winning Streaks, Sports Wagering Markets, Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey

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Abstract:

Point spreads and money lines from sports wagering markets are used to evaluate the impressiveness of team streaks. Sports wagering data have previously been useful in assessing competitive balance in sports. Our approach was motivated by the amount of media scrutiny that accompanied the winning streak of the NBA’s Miami Heat and the point streak of the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks which occurred simultaneously for the most part in 2013. The topic came to the forefront again with the 2014-2015 winning streak of the Atlanta Hawks. Three streaks are highlighted in our paper. The length of the streaks, the quality of the competition, injuries, and a variety of other factors were mentioned in the media but the discussion was limited to subjective opinions as no way of properly weighing relative influence of the factors was identified. Wagering markets provide an excellent source of information for making these judgments. Several complementary measures are described and the most impressive team streaks within and across professional baseball, basketball, football, and ice hockey are identified.

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