BlackJack: Leagues Can’t Tolerate Finishes Like Iowa State-Oklahoma

BlackJack: Leagues Can’t Tolerate Finishes Like Iowa State-Oklahoma article feature image
Credit:

ESPN

  • Oklahoma (+3) covered the spread last night against Iowa State thanks to a last-second 3-pointer that shouldn't have counted.
  • BlackJack Fletcher argues that the NCAA and pro leagues need to be held accountable for incorrect calls like this that swing games.

I want to start by being clear that I had no action on the Iowa State at Oklahoma matchup last night. The outcome didn’t affect me one bit.

Having said that, I find it incredibly disturbing and unacceptable as a gambler. For those who may not know, Iowa State was leading by four with seconds to go when OU took the ball up court and hit a 3-pointer as time expired.

Iowa State was a 2.5 or 3-point favorite, depending on your book. The shot by Oklahoma did not change the outcome of the game, but it did change the outcome of most bets (including the total).

But the shot should not have counted. The red lights on the backboard and the game clock both indicated the game was over. Yet there was no review. The shot counted and the Sooners “covered.”

This may not matter to casual fans, or non-bettors, but the reality is that it does matter. A lot. Professional leagues and the NCAA have talked about wanting in on the gambling gold rush that is about to happen in the United States. They want “integrity fees,” or they are making multi-million dollar deals with casino operators to sell their data and form partnerships.

When you enter into those agreements, you owe a fiduciary duty to the customers of those platforms. Gamblers wagered their hard earned money on this game tonight and the outcome for them was most definitely changed, and nothing was done about it.

Just because the winner of the game was not changed does not mean the outcome was not changed for thousands of people.

We see this in horse racing all the time. If a jockey on the fifth-place horse makes an inquiry against the fourth-place finisher, and the winner of the race is not involved, the stewards will still review and make a determination. The person that stands to benefit by that decision is the holder of a superfecta ticket. The gambler. Because the gambler is what drives the industry.

The sooner the professional leagues and NCAA realize this, the better off they will be. I won’t usually be watching Hawks-Grizzlies in February, but if I have action on the game, you’re damn right I’m watching it. That means the NBA can charge more for TV deals, licensing fees with partners, etc. It means more profit. But I’m not betting on that game if the league doesn’t give a damn if I get screwed on the outcome.

We are entering a new age in the world of sports and gambling. The sooner leagues embrace not only the idea of gambling, but the needs of the gambler, the better off we will all be.