Analyst cites ‘damning statistics’ against ref

Analyst cites ‘damning statistics’ against ref

Analyst cites ‘damning statistics’ against ref
By Jeff Haney

When point spreads shifted by certain amounts in games he officiated, bettors on the side of the move always won

Throughout the saga of disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy, Las Vegas sports betting analyst R.J. Bell has done a thorough job of examining the scandal from a point-spread perspective.

An investigation ordered by NBA Commissioner David Stern and released Thursday found no evidence Donaghy made any calls to influence the outcome of games. It also found no evidence of any illegal activity by refs other than Donaghy.

Donaghy is serving a 15-month sentence after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce.

The conclusions of the probe ordered by Stern run counter to “some extremely damning statistics” derived from studying point-spread moves, Bell claimed in his latest report on the controversy.

The first 15 games of the 2006-07 NBA season officiated by Donaghy that had point-spread moves of at least 1 1/2 points were undefeated in favor of the line move, meaning bettors on the side of the line move cashed all 15 times. The odds of that occurring randomly are greater than 32,000-1, Bell pointed out.

“To conclude Donaghy did not fix the games, you have to believe that a person troubled enough to provide inside information to criminals was able to referee games in which he had a financial interest without any bias,” according to Bell, proprietor of the locally based betting Web site Pregame.com.

Bell’s research also showed that 10 games officiated by referee Scott Foster during the period in question had moves in the betting line of 2 points or more. Again, in those 10 games, bettors on the side of the line move cashed every time.

Between the two of them, Donaghy and Foster were involved in games with significant point-spread moves 13 percent of the time, according to Bell.

When Bell took a random sample of the first 100 NBA games in December 2007, he found only 6 percent of the games had a line move of 2 points or more.

Although Bell’s figures provide no definitive proof of misbehavior, they certainly offer a fresh and thought-provoking perspective on the whole odious episode.

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