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Since Donaghy maintains he made 70 percent or better on his money while leveraging these kinds of biases, we turned to economist Joe Price and his colleague Henry Tappen, who have performed extensive research on referee bias in the NBA. Price used his data sets to examine Donaghy’s claim that Bavetta systematically kept games close.
The results: Far from making 70 percent, that strategy would have lost you 12 percent of your money. In other words, choosing at random would have given you a better chance at success.
Anyone who consistently bet the “big underdog” (a team receiving seven points or more in the closing betting line) in Bavetta refereed games between the beginning of the 2003-04 season (when Donaghy says he began betting on NBA games) to the conclusion of the 2006-07 games (soon after which Donaghy confessed his actions to the feds) would have lost his shirt.
When confronted with this statistic by Henry Abbott, Donaghy balked.
Yesterday, I told you Donaghy was a rat, and couldn’t be trusted under any circumstances. Today, statistics prove my completely un-evidenced claim. (Un-evidenced, that is, unless you consider a guy being a proven cheater, liar, and felon to be “evidence” he might be a rat. P.s. is un-evidenced even a word? I don’t even think so.)
Amazing, mind-boggling work by TrueHoop and its economist crew. Read the whole article, it’ll blow your mind.