Tuesday, October 6, 2015

College Football Is Fixed!

It’s gotta be right?

I’m going off topic here but at least this post came about due to some conversation at the poker table just the other day.  Besides, I’ve talked about sports betting before, even though that is one of the view bad habits I don’t really have.

My previous post, about my recent session at Player’s Casino (see here) got too long to include this non-poker part.  So I thought I’d do a separate post.

I mentioned the guy I named “Texas” who wasn’t afraid to put his chips in play. He three-bet with King-5 off and then called a $200 shove from a brand new player to the game with that hand.  And won.

Playing poker isn’t the only way he liked to gamble, it seems.

During the session he would periodically be checking his phone for updates on games.  I suspecedt he might have a wager or two on some of the games he was checking up on.

One game I know he had a wager on was the TCU-Texas game that was played earlier that day.  You see, he was pissing and moaning because that game cost him a 6-game parlay.  As he was telling the story, the game was a lock for him because it was 50-0, in favor of TCU, late in the game.  All he need was for the game to end that way and he’d hit his 6-team parlay.

Apparently, he had laid a boatload of points because when Texas scored a meaningless TD very late in the game, it ruined his parlay.  It wasn’t clear to me if he would have been ok with a Texas FG or not, I just know the TD ruined it for him.

Now, this was not a bit surprising, although you hear it a lot more in Vegas than in L.A.  If I had a nickel for every story I’ve heard at the poker table from some guy whining about how a single meaningless score in a single game cost him a big parlay, I’d be able to buy Microsoft.  Not shares of Microsoft—the entire company.

You don’t hear it as often in L.A. since sports betting isn’t legal here.  But amazingly enough, there are people who find ways to wager on the games anyway.  Shocking, I know.

Like I said, nothing unusual there.  But here’s the thing.  He then went on a rant about there being something fishy with that meaningless touchdown. He seemed to think it was impossible that Texas could have legitimately scored a meaningless touchdown on a pass play since they had been so inept offensively the entire game.  He said something to the effect, “They had like 22 yards passing all game and suddenly they complete a touchdown pass?  Doesn’t that sound fishy to you?  How could they complete a touchdown pass after being so pathetic for the entire game.”  Then he went on and on about how easy it would be to bribe some of these college kids to throw a game—or at least “shave points.”  “They’re young kids, they need money…..blah, blah, blah.”

Really sir, really?  Is that so?

I didn’t engage with the guy. What he was saying was too stupid to argue with.  But of course, I couldn’t stop thinking about how lame this was.

Where do I start?  Let’s acknowledge that it is at least possible games could be thrown, sure.  It’s happened before.  And it will likely happen again.

But seriously, I can think of a bunch or reasons how that TD got scored, without having watched the game, without having seen either team play this year.  Here’s one thought: if you play long enough, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Even a lousy team will score against a good team once in a while, right?

Or perhaps the TCU defense was guilty of taking it easy.  They knew there was no chance to lose the game, so perhaps they weren’t quite trying as hard as they were when the game was on the line.

Or maybe, just maybe, they had their second or third stringers in the game, and those bench warmers just weren’t good enough to stop the mighty Texas offense?  Especially since Texas would have been highly motivated to get on the scoreboard to avoid the embarrassment of a shutout.

But to hear this guy tell it, the only possible way to explain that meaningless score was that the fix was in.

But here’s a better question for the guy.  If you really think it was fixed, that someone on TCU got paid to let them score there, if you think that happens a lot (as he was implying), why would ever bet on college football?

Seriously, why would put real money on it in that case?  It would be like playing in a poker game where you knew the cards were marked?  Or against a guy who was a mechanic who could make the cards come off the deck in any order he wanted?  Why would you play that game?

You wouldn’t, so would you bet college football games if you thought the gamblers were paying the players to throw games or shave points? 


OK, maybe the guy was just blowing off steam because his 6-way parlay came thisclose to hitting.  It couldn’t have missed because he made a bad pick, right?  There had to be some nefarious reason he lost that bet.

That’s it, then.  College Football is fixed.

You hear some of the dumbest things at the poker table.  And a lot of it has nothing to do with poker.


  1. People get confused with the line ( points ) and the reason teams are playing. Some teams like Florida ( under Steve Spurrier ) like to run up the score to get higher rankings in the football polls. I would say some coaches even know what the line is. Once a game is safely in the win column they save their players for the next game or reward bench players by putting them in. Trying to hit five team parley bets are for suckers. Some people just can not admit what they are. Its like going to the crap table and betting the high/ low. Yeah you will hit once in a while but over time you lose money. Vegas loves people that want to take the worst of it on prop bets.

    1. Thanks, Ed, valid points all.

      I think they play those 5 or 6 team parlays hoping to hit it one time and freeroll their way to the rest of the season.

  2. That seems really strange with his TCU bet. I read in the Bleacher report the TCU was a 14.5 points favorite over Texas. I find it hard to believe he had a bet that needs TCU to cover >43 points. Who in the world would take that bet, in a 6 teams parlay. I can't imagine the payout for a parlay with such a long shot mixed in it.

    1. Thanks....someone on Twitter pointed out that the spread wasn't close to 50 points. I don't know what to say. He seemed genuinely upset by that score, and I know it's possible to buy extra points. It's possible he was full of shit and making it up, but I dunno why he would bring it up then. I agree...weird.

  3. In case my last post was unclear, I think that guy was full of crap. I don't think any bookie will let someone shift the line by >29.5 points. You can usually buy up to 3 points, but in this case, he was going the other way by a huge margin. Can someone who knows more about sports betting speak on this?

    1. Yeah, I kind of agree, I dunno he would make that up tho..

      I dunno if he didn't want the score cuz he had bet the under maybe, but I heard that the O/U was over 70 points. Did he buy it down to 50 maybe?