A Temperate Madness

Sorry for the rapid-fire updates, but I've now completely changed my mind again. On Friday, one of our commenters suggested that Donaghy would've been smarter to play the over/under. Now Darren Rovell's saying that, to avoid detection, Donaghy could only have been going that route. Ziller's got the hyper-complex breakdown of why this would be darkly advisable.

I think this only strengthens what I tried to argue about engineering margins in garbage time. Once the starters are gone and the win is in hand, no one's caring if the final score is 108-100 or 110-100. But the over/under would make it even easier to ensure success and secrecy, since it wouldn't even require consistently favoring one team. What's more, it really, really wouldn't make a difference. I can say that proudly and start to feel remotely fit in my indifference.

Of course, this option is so tempting, and so facile, that it might be harder to get out the stain. It takes a special man to do something brazen or stupid, but the over/under hustle would be like having the perfect crime fall into your lap. Then again, it's still illegal and camped out near ruin; let's not forget that, despite Donaghy and the league's subpar officiating, these are mostly professionals who value their jobs and lives.


At 7/23/2007 3:19 PM, Anonymous ryan said...

damn. i get where you're coming from w/ these two posts shoals (at least i think i do). if he was just betting the over/under, then this, while not completely trivial, certainly should reduce a bit of the hysteria.

At 7/23/2007 3:21 PM, Anonymous tom said...

I guess playing the over-under is a less blatant insult to cometitive integrity than point-shaving but calling a foul every 20 seconds means players could get fouled out in critical situations and does tend to fuck with the flow of the game. Every time the last two minutes of a game drag out for 15 minutes, you have to wonder why.

At 7/23/2007 3:54 PM, Blogger verbal said...

This is obviously going to be pretty interesting to watch shake out. But if it turns out Donaghy was in fact a very smart but very flawed guy, isn't is shaping-up to be the non-fiction book of the decade? Does anyone have Kurt Eichenwald's number?

At 7/23/2007 5:46 PM, Anonymous Aaron said...

3 posts on Donaughy and not one word about the Team USA scrimmage from last night (coming out party for Durant, game-winner from Mamba)? This is not the proper way to dismiss an over-sensationalized scandal, Shoals.

At 7/23/2007 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Darkofan: Everyone who loves the game has to be ready to ride out rumors.

It was heard from a usually serious source that Donaghy is now in the witness protection program and is telling stories about other refs and even players.

Disbelieve this stuff in its entirety.

Nonetheless, Joe Crawford's bizzare baiting and ejection of Duncan is now being examined in a new light .

The most reliable way to influence a game outcome would be by engineering such an ejection.

At 7/23/2007 7:18 PM, Anonymous Laphonso said...

I have to second Aaron on this one. Durant comes through, Kobe hits the game winner AND makes a post game comment about LeBron's "grown man body," and nothing from our favorite scribe?

Where does international ball fall on the FD radar right now? is rooting for Team USA the ultimate act of indiscriminate fandom? Or is it the last bastion of patriotism in which a liberal can currently feel comfortable participating? For me, I think it may the latter. (Kobe's comments about soldiers "fighting for our freedom" aside.) Fuck a crooked ref. Do you believe in miracles?

At 7/23/2007 9:34 PM, Anonymous personalmathgenius said...

how about LeBron gushing over getting to play with JKidd?

"This is a treat," James said of playing with Kidd, whom he calls the best point guard in the NBA. "I don't have that luxury on my team back in Cleveland. It's like a dream of mine."

Wow, it's like you can practically SEE the Goodyear marks on Boobie, Snowjob, and L.Hughes.

At 7/23/2007 9:53 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

Forget about Kidd; Lebron must have been thrilled enough just to have Mike Miller on his team.

Durant looked completely comfortable with all those guys. I'm almost expecting him to average 25 with the amount of opportunities he'll get on the Sonics.

At 7/24/2007 3:53 AM, Blogger T. said...

sirracha is a far superior compliment to pork products than either jerk or honey mustard.

At 7/24/2007 2:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love this blog, but I get the impression that Shoals has never actually placed a bet in his life.

You can just manipulate an over/under in garbage time. What if the game is 101 to 80 and the line is 201? Are you going to get 20 extra points on the board in the last five minutes without being completely obvious?

You have to start manipulating the score early, with the goal of getting maybe five extra points a quarter (or five less points, but I would think that a ref could really only add points via free throws). I would think that anyone can see how adding ten additional points in the first half can have a tremendous outcome on the final score.

I don't think one ref can have much say in who actually wins because you have to make the calls when they are available, otherwise they all look like the Ginobli call in Game 3. You could probably get away with such a ploy once, if that.

At 7/24/2007 2:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Can't" just manipulate an over/under, rather. Sorry. I will go back to not talking now.

At 7/24/2007 2:45 PM, Blogger Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

Just finished watching the SternBot in action at the press conference and I want that man for President. He absolutely must run before it's too late.

Seriously, what other commissioner in sport makes the true fans giddy when he stands up and puts the smack down? We need to see him doing the same with all things political.

At 7/24/2007 3:02 PM, Blogger salt_bagel said...

The Stern Effect rang true to me when, after the whole talk, the first thing out of reporters' mouths was not talking about the case, but how good a job he did.

However, you could still tell when the questions were encroaching on info that he couldn't reveal. Thank God Rachael Nichols was there to give him a breather.

Anon 2:37, the key is to get the teams into the bonus early. Then it's partially hidden because you don't have to make all the extra calls going down the stretch--everybody's calls put a guy on the line.

And if the game is coming down to the fourth quarter and it's 20 points under, you just give up. Of course you would get caught if you did that. Also, that's going to happen as often as it goes the other way and the score is way over, in which case you wouldn't have to try, and your mob friends would still make the money.

ESPN put up a nice interview with a big-time bettor who explains how it could be done.

At 7/24/2007 4:39 PM, Blogger C-los said...

salt bagel is exactly right....extra free throws here, an early bonus for this team, and next thing you know....game has gone over the total...you could concievably fix an outcome but it would be too risky...the whole point of fixing a game is to minimize the risk and it's not worth having to rely on the Grizz to stay withing 12.5 of the Spurs...The craziest part about the whole thing to me is not how but why he got caught...I read someone a mob guy turned him in...Why the hell would they do that...They probably would hit about 70-80% of their overs with a ref in the pocket

At 7/24/2007 5:05 PM, Blogger William said...

I'm worried that this whole incident will become a "how to break the rules" lesson for morally shaky refs from lower levels of play. Do people bet on D-League games?

Would a reffing crew consisting entirely of former nba'ers be more or less likely to bend the rules? To make bad calls?

At 7/24/2007 5:23 PM, Anonymous ryan said...

will-i've never seen a line for a D-League game, so i'd say no.

At 7/24/2007 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sriracha is nice, but when it comes to pork, jerk > rooster sauce. You have a real argument when it comes to chicken though.

At 7/24/2007 6:11 PM, Anonymous The Gong said...

Davis Stern is about 750 times better than any commissioner in any other sport.
I'd compare him to some other person who is extraordinary in their field but I don't know if there is such a comparison.
It would be like if a guy came along and ran the 100m in 4 seconds.

At 7/25/2007 12:28 AM, Blogger stopmikelupica said...

There has to be some monetary incentive to fix a game for the mob. D-League games don't justify it.

Secondly, Tim Donaghy wasn't "brought"... you can't buy a $200,000/yr ref; cost benefit analysis. Paying a $200,000 ref enough to justify him jeopardizing his career (not to mention jail time) would cost at least, say, $250,000. No matter how many games he fixes, that probably won't justify it for a regular sized mafia racket. Who are they placing bets with? Vegas. And who in Vegas isn't going to get suspicious when people are placing $500,000 on the over in a meaningless NBA game? Extreme example, but you provide me details, with actually dollar amounts, that disprove my theory.

Point being the only reason Donaghy is involved in this mess is because he owed money to people, big money he couldn't pay, from gambling debts. Not because he was "brought". A NBA ref can't be brought by a mafia unless they have millions of dollars to spend on gambling alone; Vegas can't buy a referee because it doesn't help them any... who are they going to bet with, Monaco?!?

At 7/25/2007 8:38 PM, Anonymous Matt said...

Kobe at the olympics is gonna be something, I just get the feeling. Imagine how much international fans would hate him, given how they throw chairs and shit at Vanterpool?

At 7/26/2007 2:28 AM, Blogger T. said...

matt - nah, I don't buy it. the rape allegations are underreported over here, and his surliness/asshole off the court attitude isn't really much of a detriment (in face, you could argue that some Chinese fans like him MORE because of that). He's pretty much the favorite player of a sizeable population of basketball fans in China.*

*Yes, there are more Yao fans, but what you don't know is for those Yao fans, Yao Ming IS NBA basketball. If Yao isn't playing, they're not watching. Those are people like my Uncle Xia Bing or the guy who I buy my watermelons from. They LOVE Yao, but they don't really care much for NBA basketball.

At 7/26/2007 7:52 AM, Anonymous padraig said...

yeah, matt, I don't really know what you're talking about. I might be making this up, but doesn't Kobe sell the most jerseys and/or merch in general in China of any NBA player besides Yao? either way, it's not as if the 2008 Olympics are going to be played in front of a bunch of rabid Greeks or Spaniards-surely T. knows a great deal more about this than I do, but rowdiness in Beijing seems extremely unlikely, at least inside the arena.

Besides, I think Kobe will be a fantastic addition to the National Team. You know he'll be motivated to play with Kidd, LeBron etc. Also, b/c he won't have to pour so much energy into being the only primary offensive option he'll probably be the US' best on-ball defender whenever they're not playing zone.

T: Just out of curiosity, what do you think Yao will wind up doing when his basketball career is over? Seriously, the dude just seems so beloved. If China wasn't set up the way it is you'd figure him to go into politics or something. Also, have you heard any insider stuff recently about the Yi saga?


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