NBA Ref Scandal: Whole Story NOT Being Told!
Numbers make strong case that referee Tim Donaghy did more than he’s admitting.
The eye-popping research of Sports Betting Expert RJ Bell of Pregame.com on the NBA game fixing scandal has been featured by ESPN (Internet, TV, and radio), ABC Evening News, Nightline, the Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, and literally hundreds of other outlets.
Las Vegas, Nevada (8/15/07) – Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to two felony charges Wednesday, including providing “picks” on the outcome of games he officiated. There was no admission of “game-fixing” (i.e., affecting the outcome of games). An examination of the real numbers calls into extreme question whether the whole story is being told.
Fact #1: The first 15 games of the 2006-07 refereed by Tim Donaghy that had big enough betting to move the point spread by at least 1.5 points were PERFECT against Las Vegas – meaning that the big money gamblers won a 15 of 15 times on his games. The odds of that happening randomly are 32,768 to 1.
On one hand, Donaghy’s admissions are somewhat consistent with Fact #1, which does not offer evidence on HOW games were affected, rather only proving that the “Big Money” won an extreme amount of the time. “Big Money” historically wins about 50% of the time – and it’s possible that with inside information alone it could win 70% of the time or even a little more - though it’s statistically very unlikely that information alone could yield 15 straight winners.
Fact #2: Tim Donaghy officiating style statistically changed two years ago. In the two years prior (i.e., 3 and 4 years ago) he called less fouls than average (his games scoring more than Las Vegas expected only 44% of the time). During the last two seasons he called more fouls than average (his games scoring more than Las Vegas expected 57% of the time).
Now consider what we must believe in order to conclude that Tim Donaghy did not fix games: first, that a person troubled enough to provide inside information to criminals was able to referee games in which he had a financial interest in the outcome without any bias. We also must believe that information alone allowed big bettors to beat Las Vegas 15 straight times. And finally we must believe the fact that Donaghy become a much more active referee recently is a coincidence rather than evidence of an effort to increase his influence on games.
Keep in mind that a single call can affect the outcome of a game. Last season alone, 13 games refereed by Tim Donaghy fell within A SINGLE POINT of the Las Vegas point spread. In the last two seasons alone, the winner of 14 NBA games refereed by Tim Donaghy was decided by a single bucket or less. Over 50 BILLION dollars is gambled on the NBA each season. If not a single call was affected by Donaghy’s bets, then we have the whole story . . . but if calls were affected, the true story is one of game-fixing, and thus much bigger.
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