Journal of Risk and Uncertainty

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 51–64

Do bettors prefer long shots because they are risk-lovers, or are they just overconfident?

  • Joseph Golec
  • Maurry Tamarkin

DOI: 10.1007/BF01132730

Cite this article as:
Golec, J. & Tamarkin, M. J Risk Uncertainty (1995) 11: 51. doi:10.1007/BF01132730


This study examines whether bettors' risk preferences or overconfidence in choosing winners better explains their well documented preference for low-probability wagers. Although previous studies using racetrack data often suggest that risk-loving behavior explains long-shot preference, such data cannot distinguish between the alternative explanations. We use football betting data to make the comparison and find that overconfidence more closely fits the data. This result complements evidence of overconfidence from behavioral studies as well as stock-market models of overconfident noise traders.

Key words

overconfidence risk-lovers long shots football gambling 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Golec
    • 1
  • Maurry Tamarkin
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of ManagementClark UniversityWorcester

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