More than one-third of college athletes admitted in a survey to violating NCAA rules by gambling on either college or professional sports. An actual NCAA study on collegiate wagering had 2.3 percent of NCAA Division I football players actually admit they'd been asked at some point to influence the outcome of a game because of gambling debts.
The internet is buzzing with rumors of possible "point shaving" by South Carolina QB Stephen Garcia. I want to first be clear in no way does Pregame.com claim any of these accusations to be true, but rather feel it is important look into the questioned games. In doing this analysis we not only broke down the games in question but contacted bookmakers in both Las Vegas and offshore on whether they had any "unusual action" or heard of any rumors "after the fact". So far this season South Carolina has seen major line-movement in two games (East Carolina, Navy), minor movement in two (Auburn, Kentucky) and no movement in the remaining games (Vanderbilt, Georgia).
September 3, 2011- East Carolina (Won 56-37): The line opened up at -15.0 and with action from 60% of the betting public and also hammered by sharp bettors the line moved five whole points all the way up to -20.0. The money is all on South Carolina and Garcia comes off the bench to save the day going 7-15 for 110 yards and a touchdown as the Gamecocks cash for the majority of bettors.
Rumors Garcia was point shaving for S Carolina? I'd look carefully at the Navy game where the line CRASHED down from 17 to 14.5...on sat am
-Professional Gambler Steve Fezzik
September 17, 2011-Navy (Won 24-21): With close to 70% of all the action on South Carolina, the line plummets off the opener of -18.0 all the way down to -15.0. CBSSports.com wire in their game recap noted, "Garcia appeared to have an off night, overthrowing several receivers." Stats wise the numbers do not look bad on paper, but they were mainly made up of short dump passes and Steve Spurrier was quoted after the game saying, "I'm trying to get our passing game in a little bit better shape. We seem to be struggling a bit throwing."
Garcia (South Carolina) point-shaving rumor gaining steam, but 2 Vegas sportsbooks tell me NO ABNORMAL ACTION on any games.
-Owner of Pregame.com RJ Bell via twitter (@RJinVegas)
From what we hear, he's a good-time party boy. a 2.5 pt move on a high double digit spread in college is not unheard of, someone may have heard he was less than 100% due to booze and drugs. There was nothing to indicate from that game on any play he was looking at throwing points. Sharp action drove the line down IMO, not any perception he'd been bought. No one is asserting there's a smoking gun out there, with the attention on NCAA, if he had, someone would've blown the whistle with proof by now.
-Offshore Bookmaker Sports Interaction
We didn’t notice anything weird. Think it’s a BS rumor
-Offshore Bookmaker Bet Online
October 1, 2011-Auburn (Lost 13-16): Betting action was almost split on this one, but South Carolina went from a -11.5 favorite down to -10.5 by the time the game kicked off. Garcia again was very inconsistent and despite playing against a defense ranked last in the SEC was only 9 of 23 for 160 yards and two interceptions.
October 8, 2011-Kentucky (Won 54-3): The public was all over South Carolina by a 74% margin and the line went from -19.5 to 20.5. Connor Shaw was given the start over Garcia and went on to throw for four touchdowns behind 26 of 39 passing and 311 yards. The Gamecocks did not disappoint bettors and had their biggest margin of victory in the SEC since joining in 1992.
Back in 2007 despite investigators claiming there was no evidence of any fixing going on in the NBA ref scandal, RJ Bell from Pregame.com broke down all the moves and found powerful evidence of "point shaving" (see video from ESPN Special). Even though it would be exciting to once again claim or find reasoning that "the fix was in", we do not feel that is the case in this situation. Yes, we are aware that his quarterback coach G.A. Mangus was suspended due to a gambling scandal at the University of Florida, but there were zero allegations of "point shaving". In the end there is no giant gambling conspiracy but rather a college student who dealt with the death of his grandfather the week of the Auburn game, was put through "hell" according to team insiders by the athletic program in the off-season and took partying and "acting a fool" more serious over football. The case file is closed on this one and instead of stories involving mobsters and bookies we just have a kid who could not live up to expectations and is just another sad tale in the world of college football.
Sports Betting - Is It Fixed?
Pregame's own Johnny Detroit discusses with Vegas Runner the past situations where sports betting was fixed and also discuss the inevitable question of "Is Sports Betting Fixed?"