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Does an Ex-Con Know the NBA Better Than LeBron?

Stashed in: Basketball, Gambling!, LeBron James

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Disgraced former NBA referee is back in the gambling business -- basing his bets on his knowledge of refereeing. Says he has been dismayed by the plethora of hard fouls not being called, especially in the last few minutes of the 2015 NBA finals.

Wow all the fouls he points out in that article are eye opening!

So it IS true refs give an accidental home field advantage:

“The NBA is entertainment, too, not sports,” he says. And the refs are the closest thing the league has to dramaturges. They can make a big difference, even when they don’t mean to: A few years ago, an academic study demonstrated that in the NBA, the referees confer an advantage on the home team. Particular refs respond in particular ways, of course, which is something that a veteran like Tim Donaghy knows. He also knows which refs have histories with which players and which coaches, and a pretty good sense of how those histories will play out on the court. He knows which coaches can bully refs and which can’t, and he knows which refs are especially likely to defer to superstars or to give an advantageous call to one team or player to make up for an earlier mistake. These are all small effects, but they add up, and, especially in the playoffs, when games tend to be tight, they can explain why one team advances while another goes home — and why some gamblers win while others don’t.

He gambled because he liked it, not for the money.

Donaghy had been an NBA referee for nine years when, in 2003, he began to place bets on NBA games — though he swore in an FBI lie-detector test, which he passed, that he never “fixed” a game with dubious calls. “I didn’t have to,” he says. “It was too easy using my insider’s knowledge.” After he resigned from the NBA and pleaded guilty in 2007, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison, lost what he describes as his $300,000 annual salary and his six-figure pension, and was ordered to pay $195,000 in restitution. His gambling exploits netted him only $100,000 in winning bets, he swears. “But I didn’t really do it for the money.”

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