Data Debunks Tim Donaghy’s Game Fixing Denial

It isn’t as if Tim Donaghy has any credibility left to begin with, but just in case you’re inexplicably prone to believe him about anything in the future, you might want to check in on a blog run by statistical analyst and pro sports gambler Haralabos Voulgaris.

Tim Donaghy

If you’re like me, you’ve the time nor inclination to spend more than a few seconds examining Donaghy’s repeated game-fixing denials. But Voulgaris has one small statistical example proving just how dubious those denials are.

New Year’s Day, 2007, Charlotte at Minnesota. Donaghy working the game.

Donaghy claimed in his book that he told his mob buddies to bet Charlotte and take the points (+4). His supposed reasoning for the Bobcat wager:

In addition to the anticipated crackdown on Garnett, I liked the way Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff had his squad playing high-energy basketball most nights. I called Tommy and told him to bet Charlotte.

The Bobcats played well early but fell part during the second half, getting outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter. Garnett played exceptionally well for Minnesota, while Charlotte’s players were arguing amongst themselves all night. Much of the angst was directed at the Bobcat’s Adam Morrison, who took several off-balanced, ill-advised shots down the stretch in what had been a fairly tight contest.

Minnesota kept its composure and pulled out the road win 102-96. It was a loss for me, Tommy, and Ba Ba, and once again there were no apples coming my way.

Again, Donaghy claimed that because he and his cohorts bet Charlotte +4, they lost.

Unfortunately for Donaghy, Voulgaris has since discovered an extremely rare betting line move due to heavy betting on … wait for it … Minnesota.

In my database I have the betting line opening at Minnesota -2.5 and closing at Minnesota -4 - Absent of any injury or late breaking information this usually means that an imbalance in Minnesota wagers forced the linesmakers to move the line to -3.5 or higher.

Or to put it more bluntly, someone bet the sh– out of Minnesota.

Voulgaris also cites wild, similar moves at two other sportsbooks.

Much, much more convincing though is Voulgaris’ call-by-call breakdown by Donaghy that night. It’s nothing short of unbelievable.

Tim Donaghy foul+violation details:

(Donaghy) Calls favoring CHA 0

(Donaghy) Calls favoring MIN 17

No that is not a typo, Tim Donaghy made 17 fouls+violation calls in this game and all 17 times the call favored Minnesota. Why did Donaghy call this game so egregiously? If you look at the score of the game - When Donaghy makes his 4th call MIN is already trailing by 7 points. By his 7th call they are trailing by 20 - Desperate times call for desperate measures especially as Apples are at stake. (Minnesota outscored Charlotte 34-18 in the fourth quarter to cover by a single basket.)

So Donaghy said in his book that he and his business associates took Charlotte plus the points and lost. Yet every single one of Donaghy’s calls that night favored Minnesota.

I’m done.