Sports betting is the favorite entertainment of many people. However, bookmakers are reportedly more skilled at predicting game outcomes than bettors, and betting markets are therefore extraordinarily efficient. Betting shops’ wide spreads are an additional obstacle. This means that it is exceptionally hard to beat the house in this game.

But one remarkable academic study shows that there are inefficiencies in publicly listed soccer clubs’ stocks, which can be exploited. Investors systematically overvalue stocks before important matches as they believe in positive outcomes. Teams often draw or lose a game, and stocks incur negative returns. A complicated variant of this strategy (not stated in this version, but theoretically feasible) could be created by using booking shops to hedge equity market transactions.

Fundamental reason

The academic paper postulates that an important reason for the stock market’s apparent inefficient response to soccer game results is the systematic bias in investors’ beliefs about the probability distribution of match outcomes. Bookmaker odds are compiled by a small group of experts and do not reflect investors’ subjective beliefs, while equity prices do so.

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Markets Traded

Backtest period from source paper

Confidence in anomaly's validity
Moderately Strong

Indicative Performance

Notes to Confidence in Anomaly's Validity

Notes to Indicative Performance

per annum, estimated return based on data from table 4 – annualized (geometrically) daily return 0,88%, estimated 40 days in a year when matches are played

Period of Rebalancing

Estimated Volatility

Notes to Period of Rebalancing

Notes to Estimated Volatility

estimated from t-value from table 4

Number of Traded Instruments

Maximum Drawdown

Notes to Number of Traded Instruments

estimated number of stocks used for trading, actual number of stocks could differ as not all soccer clubs mentioned in the study are still listed on market and/or are liquid

Notes to Maximum drawdown

not stated

Complexity Evaluation
Moderately complex strategy

Sharpe Ratio

Notes to Complexity Evaluation


Financial instruments

Simple trading strategy

The investment universe consists of liquid soccer clubs’ stocks that are publicly traded. The investor then sells short stocks of clubs that play UEFA Championship matches (or other important matches) at the end of the business day before the match. Stocks are held for one day, and the portfolio of stocks is equally weighted (if there are multiple clubs with matches that day).

Hedge for stocks during bear markets

Yes - The short-selling strategy is a natural hedge/diversification to equity market factor during bear markets.

Source paper
Out-of-sample strategy's implementation/validation in QuantConnect's framework (chart+statistics+code)
Other papers

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