Since sports betting became legal, the topic of match-fixing has been on everyone’s mind. Making sports betting more widely available opens a door to match-fixing. With that in mind, here are three signs the game you are watching is fixed.
Sports betting has been passed in Maryland, and Marylanders can place bets in-person at a sportsbook. However, online sports betting has yet to be passed.
How is match-fixing being attacked?
Due to the nature of sports, anything can happen, so match-fixing sometimes goes undetected.
That’s why there are independent companies, such as SportsRadar and Genius Sport, that offer integrity services to various leagues. There are red flags integrity services look out for when trying to find potential match-fixing scandals.
Here are three signs the game you are watching is fixed:
1. The odds just don’t make sense
This one is a bit self-explanatory, but it’s true. Sometimes the biggest scandals are hiding in plain sight. If a team that should be heavily favored is only favored by a small margin – or isn’t favored at all – then that should set off an alarm.
Remember, this is all independent of any late developments concerning a team. If the favored team’s star player gets hurt, then odds changes make sense. However, if the game is set to be played as scheduled with no injuries, then changes to odds should raise a red flag.
2. Late odds shifts
This kind of goes hand in hand with the last sign, but it’s just a bit more focused. What often set off the alarms of those investigating game integrity are drastic, and late, line shifts. When the odds move on an event, it’s because more people are betting on one side than the other. So, if the odds of a significant favorite suddenly drop for seemingly no reason, something nefarious could be afoot.
U.S. Integrity, one of the lead match integrity services in the country, revealed a fixing scandal they uncovered during a recent bowl season. “We saw tens of millions of dollars come in overnight,” said Matthew Holt, the president of U.S. Integrity.
So much money came in that the team that was once favored became the underdog, just a day before kickoff. An equipment manager at the school had leaked news about of a number of players being ineligible to play due to COVID-19.
Late and sudden odds shifts are the primary red flags integrity companies look out for, so they should be high on your list as well.
3. A crazy upset in a low-level league
Alerts usually involve “some ninth-tier tennis or sub sport in some far-off country in some far-off land because that doesn’t offend their corporate partners,” Holt said, when asked about the frequency of match-fixing.
From 2017 to 2021, only 39 alerts of suspicious match-play were found in the United States. None were at the collegiate or professional level.
So, if you for some reason find yourself watching ninth-tier tennis and some crazy upset happens, it may be time to investigate further.