The Wisdom of No Crowds: The Reaction of Betting Markets to Lockdown Soccer Games

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Tadgh Hegarty
Karl Whelan


The support of home spectators is one of the contributing factors to the home advantage effect in sports matches. The COVID-19 pandemic led to European soccer matches being played without spectators. Contrary to previous findings in the literature, we show that betting markets adjusted promptly to account for a reduced home advantage in both goal difference and the probability of a win. These adjustments proved accurate over a large sample of soccer matches subsequently played without spectators, even though the earliest games appeared to suggest a much bigger change in home advantage.

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