Anthony Edwards Steal, Karl-Anthony Towns Rebound & the Prop Bets in Question From Warriors vs. Timberwolves
Photo by Kavin Mistry/Getty Images. Pictured: Anthony Edwards, Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Finch
The NBA has corrected the stat on Anthony Edwards from Thursday night. As a result, FanDuel has paid out bets on the over of his player prop of 0.5 steals.
Shops DraftKings — which originally hadn’t paid losers out after citing house rules — and Bet MGM also paid out.
Karl-Anthony Towns remains with 12 rebounds.
There were only two NBA games on Thursday night, but that was enough for questionable stat rulings to shake the player prop market.
The latest props in question come from the late night game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors and there are multiple gripes from the game.
The most glaring mistake appears to happen early in the first quarter. With just under 11 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Stephen Curry attempts a pass to teammate Kevon Looney cutting to the basket. The pass appears to fly past the arms of Karl-Anthony Towns and into the hands of the help defender: Anthony Edwards.
However, it was Towns who was officially awarded the steal on this play.
Anthony Edwards finished with no steals tonight in the box score 🤔 pic.twitter.com/txr2RBEt00
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 28, 2022
Here’s where this play gets tricky. According to Second Spectrum data provided to The Action Network, the ball was tipped by Towns. From Second Spectrum’s website: “Our player tracking system applies state-of-the-art machine learning and computer vision techniques to produce fast and accurate location data for basketball, association football and several other sports.”
Second Spectrum partners with both the NBA and the Premier League to use cameras and technology to track the ball and movements. It is supposed to observe the tiniest of movements, which allows us more information on situations like this.
Even if that’s the case and Towns did tip the ball, that doesn’t necessarily make it a steal.
According to the NBA rule book, “a steal is credited to a player that legally takes the ball away from an opponent, intercepts a pass, or otherwise obtains possession on the ball following an opponent’s turnover. If a player deflects a pass or dribble and controls his deflection either away from an opponent or towards a teammate resulting in an eventual possession for the defense, the player causing the deflection is credited with the steal.”
For Edwards not to get a steal on this play, it must be determined that Towns controlled his deflection toward Edwards. With his back to Edwards and the way he’s guarding Curry, calling that a deliberate deflection by Towns to his teammate is hard to understand.
Later in the game, Jaylen Nowell is credited with a steal with 2:34 left in the game after a pass seemed to be deflected by Edwards. In the video, you can see Nowell change his line for the ball after it’s in the air. The argument would be if Towns’ deflection to Edwards was ruled a steal, why wasn’t Edwards given a steal for this?
Edwards to record over 0.5 steals was +128 at FanDuel.
That wasn’t the only issue in the game.
With 46.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Curry throws a lob to Andrew Wiggins at the rim for an alley-oop. Wiggins gets his hand on it but isn’t able to corral it completely to finish the play. In comes Towns to secure the ball, which originally was marked his 13th rebound of the game. However, shortly after it was changed to a steal by Towns and turnover by Curry. Towns officially finished the game with 12 rebounds. His prop was 12.5.
Karl-Anthony Towns was initially credited with his 13th rebound on this play, but it was changed to a steal
Towns ended with 12 rebounds
Over 12.5 REB ❌ pic.twitter.com/apeVx8IVl5
— The Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 28, 2022
Rebounds have been the most subjective stat and biggest cause of confusion for bettors. Because oftentimes multiple players can get a hand on a ball, it comes down to judging intent. In this situation, the official scorer determines Wiggins did not attempt a shot and instead was trying to catch a pass from Curry. When he didn’t catch that pass, Towns gathered it and it became a steal.
Wiggins does get his hand on the ball and seemingly tips it toward the basket.
What is clear is the poor optics of originally ruling it a rebound only to take it away on a questionable decision.
Finally, bettors are wondering why this D’Angelo Russell save wasn’t ruled an assist, which would’ve given him six on the night. His prop was set at 5.5.
“An assist is credited to the player tossing the last pass leading directly to a made field goal, but only if the player scoring the goal demonstrates an immediate reaction toward the basket after receiving the pass,” the NBA rules state.
This is also subjective as the official scorer must determine an “immediate reaction.” In this play, Naz Reid gets the ball saved by Russell, faces up, takes a jab step one way and drives the other way with two dribbles for the layup.
Sportsbooks historically haven’t reversed graded bets even with later stat corrections. However, when there was no debate over an incorrect assist given to Chris Paul instead of Mikal Bridges, FanDuel paid out bets retroactively the following day. Read more about that situation here.
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