Source: NBA’s Advanced Officiating Data Not Part of MGM Partnership

Source: NBA’s Advanced Officiating Data Not Part of MGM Partnership article feature image

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Draymond Green and referee Marc Davis

  • Two separate stories on Monday revealed that the NBA admitted to missing 81 potential calls in last year's Western Conference Finals Game 7, according to a detailed officiated report distributed to both the Rockets and Warriors at the time.
  • This type of report is created for every NBA regular season and playoff game, but the findings are only sent to the two teams involved.
  • A source told The Action Network's Darren Rovell that MGM, the NBA's official gambling partner, does not have access to the data.

For years, gamblers and bookmakers alike have paid very close attention to NBA referee assignments.

Why? Foul volume and referee tendencies can have an outsized impact on the over/under, spread, player props and more.

But Monday’s stories, from both The Athletic and ESPN, about how the league admitted to missing 81 potential calls in Game 7 of last year’s Western Conference Finals between the Rockets and Warriors, bring up another set of data that bookmakers and gamblers would absolutely salivate over.

Many are aware that the NBA has a last two minutes report in which the league, in an attempt to be transparent under the leadership of Adam Silver, publicly announces good or bad calls that were made in the final two minutes of the previous night’s game.

But there’s a lot more that goes unpublished.

It turns out the NBA provides the two teams playing every regular season and playoff game with a detailed officiating report. The league has never published a full game report, and a source tells The Action Network that MGM, the league’s gambling partner, does not currently have access to the betting data, but that could change.

One issue at the moment is the aforementioned latency between when the games occur and when the detailed foul analysis can be completed. But if that process can be sped up, you can bet the league would be able to create a market for this data with MGM and beyond if it so chooses.

MGM could leverage the data to better set its odds, both pregame and in-game. And, in some blue-sky world where the data is made available to everyone, bettors could study how certain refs have historically treated certain players and certain teams.

How much more confident would they be with betting a LeBron points prop if they knew that two of the three officials called the most fouls of any officials in the league against players guarding LeBron?

Mining data is the 21st century version of mining gold. Gambling could turn the data business into a multi-billion dollar business for the leagues.

Monday’s story was about the Rockets saying the refs robbed them of a ring (even though they would’ve still had to beat LeBron and the Cavs). But the story behind the story was the tease, to gamblers and bookmakers, that good, impactful data is being produced and it’s only being served to a very select audience.

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