Much of Durham’s research examines behavior patterns of sports betting, considering how emotions, behavioral biases or sentiment toward a team can cause a point spread to change. He points out that because point spread betting markets are similar to the stock market, Durham uses that knowledge to conduct multiple studies. In both markets, he explains, people can be impaired by behavioral biases, such as perceiving a trend in a pattern that’s actually random.

“Ideally, you shouldn’t let sentiment impair your betting decisions or your investing decisions. You should make decisions based on a fundamental analysis of the stocks or bets.”

Durham says you should come into a betting wager armed with analysis and information – rather than following your emotions. He adds, bettors often believe they can come up with a winning strategy, but his research has shown that’s not usually the case.

Durham’s research points to the point spread as a good predictor of how the game will end.

“In betting, although game outcomes are finite and uncertain, we find bettors still place bets in a relatively predictable way.”

Greg Durham, clinical associate professor of finance