Yesterday, Yahoo's Charles Robinson reported that suspended Auburn point guard Varez Ward was under federal investigation for alleged point-shaving. Robinson mentioned two games that the feds were looking into—a 56-53 loss to Arkansas on Jan. 25 and a 68-50 loss to Alabama on Feb. 7. In the Jan. 25 game, Ward got injured 19 seconds after entering the game, leaving Auburn only one reserve point guard. In the Feb. 7 game, he shot atrociously and turned the ball over six times in 17 minutes. Does that mean he was point-shaving? Impossible to say. But RJ Bell at Pregame.com has added some interesting analysis to the mix.
Bell looked at the percentage of bets made on each team in both games and the movement of the odds in both games, which is where things got interesting:
Arkansas started as a 10.5-point favorite over Auburn, and closed as a 9.5-point favorite (implying lopsided action ON Auburn).
Alabama started as a 5-point favorite over Auburn, and closed as a 5-point favorite (implying even action).
Conclusion: Neither game had lopsided action against Auburn – and one game had exactly the opposite (i.e., lopsided action ON Auburn)
Second tendency of corrupt games . . .
2) The team paid to lose actually loses the game against the Vegas spread.
Betting against Auburn (and on Arkansas) LOST vs. the Vegas spread.
Betting against Auburn (and on Alabama) WON vs. the Vegas spread.
Conclusion: 1-1 record would have resulted in any point-shavers LOSING money overall (after accounting for sportsbook commissions)
That conclusion, of course, doesn't meant there's no scandal. All Bell is saying is that "Las Vegas data on the two specific games named in the Auburn investigation is inconsistent with point-shaving." Ward may have tried to recruit some of his teammates into the alleged scheme, according to Yahoo. He might not have succeeded. And he might not have succeeded in point shaving. In fact, he might not have done anything but play like crap.
Auburn Point-Shaving Examined... [Pregame.com]