What Does Shaving Points Mean In Football? ( Get To Know More About This Illegal Activity In American Football! )

Last Updated on January 24, 2021 by

Point shaving is a kind of illegal match-fixing where the perpetrators stop the opposing team from getting a published point spread in standardized sports. It is different from other types of sports betting, point-shaving is motivated consistently by spread betting. When you talk about a point-shaving scheme, you talk about one or two players of a team favored to win a game and a sports gambler. In this case, the players involved in this illegal sports scheme normally agree to make sure that their team will never “cover the point spread”. Although, the player’s team that was bribed may or may not win the game but not with a big margin as predicted by bookmakers. The bribed team is then wagered by the gambler. Alternatively, the referee or probably one or two officials of the game may also be so that they could make few close calls against the team favored to win in favor of the underdog team.

How Point Shaving Works (Phases)Which Sports Is It Popular
Phase 1; Find a playerAmerican Football
Phase 2; Call in the fixBasketball
Phase 3; Hopefully, you don’t get caughtRugby

Point Shaving in Basketball

Shaving points scheme can easily be done in the game of basketball since a player can easily influence key events and because of the scoring tempo of the game. A corrupt basketball player can covertly ensure that his team fails to cover “the point spread” without having to lose the match by intentionally committing fouls or turnover, or probably missing shots. Truly and to be honest, the NCAA has tried all their best to sport illegal match-fixing with their adoption of a zero-tolerance policy to curb gambling activity by its players. But there are still a lot of critics that the NCAA somehow encourages point-shaving through the huge amount of money wagered in its matches and its strict regulation heeding amateurism. To stop players from this illegal activity, NCAA has made posters stating stern warning for players not to engage in “point shaving”.

In the 1950-51 season, there was a popular example of point-shaving with the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal. That’s not all, in 1961, the Dixie Classic scandal also became popular and the point-shaving scandal that happened in 1978-79 with the Boston College Basketball which was done by fugitive Jimmy Burke and Henry Hill. Like as if that’s enough, the University disbanded its sports programs for four years during the 1984-85 season after the Tulane men’s basketball point-shaving scandal. On 15th of August 2007, Tim Donaghy who was an NBA referee was found guilty after officiating a game that had two felonies related to wagering. He changed calls so that the two teams would score more than typically expected to avoid being viewed as biased.

How Shaving Points Work In The NFL?

We’ve got really interested in how point-shaving works in the NFL with the federal authorities accusing an ex-assistant coach and former basketball players of the University of Diego for trying to fix games. For the intro; unlike throwing away games, point-shaving doesn’t mean a team would let its opposing team win. It only means that a team would decide not to cover the pint spread, or make a bad pass here or there, miss layup, or even make a blanket free throw at the end of regulation. In 1950, despite having involved in shaving points, CCNY still won the national championship. The only problem here is that any NCAA athlete who gets involved in the activity “point shaving” is said to have committed a federal crime.

Phase One: Find A player

Gamblers constantly target players that they know are in need of extra spending money. John Williams was reported by a 1985 Sports Illustrated to be a central figure which led to the dismissal of the school’s yearly basketball program. For ensuring that Tulane missed covering the 10-point spread, it was reported that Williams received $900, which was later favored over Southern Mississippi. Furthermore, it was reported that he later collected $4,500 to help make sure that the team loses the game that was played on the 20th of February, to Memphis State with a more than a 7-point spread. It will become much easier to recruit other players once you’ve got one player.

 It was stated by the Associated Press that the scandal of the Arizona State point-shaving that happened in the mid-1990s all started as a result of one team player helping the other out. In 1944, it all started when Isaac Burton Jr. was asked by his Arizona State teammate, Stevin Smith to help him moss some free throws against Oregon State. This small illegal activity started what was regarded as the worst sports betting scandals in United States history. It was sad to know that the two players involved in the scandal were both handed jail time.

Phase Two: Call In The fix

Back then, we heard about players who to do what gamblers want, don’t just have to play. For example, according to USA Today, one of the University of Toledo football players was offered $10,000 not to participate in a football game, while others were given mere electronics, clothes, and groceries to do exactly the same thing. We thank God for the scrutiny attached to line movements which helps to reduce the illegal activities, if bit for that, gamblers could have been calling in the fix every single night. Just to influence four consecutive games of the mob’s choosing, Smith was offered $20,000 in the Arizona State case.

Most popular gambling sites observe multiple unusual patterns if we look back at the line movements before San Diego match against UC Riverside that held in 2009. Not only was Riverside, by tipoff, was favored by at most one point at most books, but there was also rapid line movement at all the recorded 11 offshore sportsbooks after we all knew that this same team started with 2-point underdogs. According to the interview made by the Sports Illustrated, the main subject OD Goodfellas, Mobster Henry Hill said he organized the point-shaving at the Boston College during the basketball season of 1978-79.  

Phase Three: Hopefully, You Don’t Get Caught!

When an NCAA athlete participates in point-shaving, it is a federal crime with rigid sentences. For instance, because Kuhn was involved in the BC fix he was sentenced to almost three years. Also, one of the stars on the CCNY team, Sherman White was sentenced to Riker’s Island to serve 12 months.

Point Shaving Properly Explained

When players or a player does everything he could to limit how much he scores in a game to affect the point spread, to make sure the gamblers who had placed bets on that team involved in a game make huge money. One player or probably more players from the team involved and a sports gambler are the two factors required for a point-shaving scheme. The players involved in this illegal sports activity usually do anything to stop their teams from covering the set point spread in the game. Although in most cases, the same team might win the game it won’t be as it was predicted by the bookmakers.

Which Sports Is It Popular?

Point shaving has been very popular in professional sports and college sports, however, as stated above, basketball is the easiest sport with a straightforward effort to do point-shaving because it is very easy for a player to affect a game and secondly because of the tempo of scoring. Most of these players involved in this match-fixing do these things in a way that does not make people suspicious like intentionally missing shots, turning the ball over in clutch moments to avoid coming to the spread or even making fouls on certain players. The gamblers would now have to bet against that team. Referees are rarely involved in point-shaving, but when they are involved, they either run their own scheme or they are directly involved in a gambler’s scheme to help run phantom fouls and the likes. Even it is rare, American football is also a subject to point shaving. Point shaving does happen in American football, that’s when you’d see a quarterback making interceptions or poor passes on purpose. The officials can also call plays incorrectly in the game.

Is It More Popular Between Professional Sports Or College Sports?

College players who are attending college on a full-ride scholarship of some kind are typically involved in a point-shaving scandal, but without everyday money to support a family- or sometimes themselves- to allow themselves to have necessities. Thus motivating them to take bribes to influence the outcomes of their games. In the state of Nevada, there’s approximately $2.5 billion being bet legally annually. This particular amount is dwarfed by the 80 billion to 380 billion dollars (this includes bets made not interested in fixed events or matches) being bet illegally on sporting events. This will give tiny time bookies huge income from point-shaving schemes which are easy periods.

To find out under what circumstances point-shaving was very probable to happen, a report was conducted by two males. They learned more than 35,000 games with 15 years (1995-2009) to evaluate the theory of theirs; which- Positive Many Meanings- teams tend to be more apt to undertake it in the regular season along with double digit point spreads. What they discovered was it wasn’t easily created by those individuals that was found, but by a great deal of teams on a smaller scale.

Is Point Shaving A Federal Offense?

Since individuals are betting on these games and also might earn more cash or even drop money, right now there are consequences on fixing these games. It’s a federal offense to take part; when found players are usually brought up on charges which are available out of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of helping & fraud to affect the results of games, conspiracy to commit sports bribery, abetting criminal activity, conspiracy, based on whether the individuals required have journeyed across state lines or perhaps not,  and unlawful book making, interstate traveling with the intention to commit bribery. The offenders might face as many as 20 years in jail when found guilty.


We’ve come to the end of this lengthy article. We hope you found resources in your quest to know what shaving points mean in football. If you have any related questions or comments, do not hesitate to let us know. Enjoy!

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