Expectations and Voting in the NCAA Football Polls: The Wisdom of Point Spread Markets

Rodney J. Paul, Andrew P. Weinbach, Patrick Coate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A week-to-week voting model for college football using voting points from the ESPN/USA Today and Associated Press polls is specified. The point spread differential, the score differential of the most recent game minus the point spread, is shown to have a positive and highly significant effect on votes in both polls. A team that covers the point spread will receive an increase in votes in both polls. A team that wins but does not cover the point spread will lose votes. This result shows the role of expectations in this market. If a team performs better than expected, it will receive more votes in the polls and possibly move up in the rankings. Television coverage is also examined, and voter reaction to team performance is found to be greater for those games that are televised, which could be due to the television exposure itself or the fact that televised coverage is a proxy for important games.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-424
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Sports Economics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • efficient markets
  • sports
  • voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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