The Five Rules for Sports BettingPublished November 28, 2007 by OCR Editor
Sports betting is here and here to stay. Match-fixing allegations may stain its image. But we offer advice how we can cope with the situation.
The tennis world has great concerns over its head as the Davis Cup Final is about to get on its way. The best of five series between the USA and Russia will open on November 30, in Portland, Oregon.
It is the return of the classic finals match-up between the two teams, which have last met at this stage in 1995, in Moscow, when the USA has last won. Why is this anything other than a celebration?
This time around, there are allegations of match-fixing in the professional circuit. The Russian tennis player, ranked fourth in the world, Nikolay Davydenko, will play on the Russian team. Davydenko is also at the center of the investigation.
His match against Martin Vassallo Arguello of Argentina, which he lost, in August, has seen unusual bets that were in fact all voided by the betting site company, Betfair. Davydenko has since repeatedly denied any wrongdoing.
More Fraud Suspicions
If this wasn't enough, a new potential scandal has surfaced earlier this month. Italian tennis player Alessio Di Mauro has been suspended for nine months for betting on games of others. He was also fined $60,000.
The 124 ranked player, Di Mauro did not try to affect results, and believes his punishment is therefore too severe. It is true that the suspension and fine are harsh, perhaps for it being the first such penalty handed out under the ATP new rules. Di Mauro refuses to be singled out and is expected to appeal.
Tennis (Over) Reacts
The ATP and Betfair have agreed to share information on suspicious matches, such as the large volume Davydenko match, which saw over $7 million in wagers, mostly on the underdog Arguello.
"Do I believe we have a corruption problem? No, I don't," ATP president Etienne de Villiers said. "We will do anything we can to deal with this threat."
In light of this comment, it is peculiar that Di Mauro, who bet on 120 matches, none of them his own, sums between $15 and $22, is penalized so harshly.
What Can Bettors Do?
With all this in mind (and all over the Internet), it is time to revise the basics of sports betting.
The first thing to do - and we can congratulate the ATP for leading in this direction - is admit that there is a problem; at least a potential problem.
The second thing is to keep your hands - as a tennis player, surely, but also as a sports bettor - away from this mess.
This latter rule does not mean that you should stop betting on sports events. Hence the third rule we propose: do what you are free and legally allowed to do.
But do keep your eyes and ears open to any peculiar patterns. Sports betting is based on educated analysis. If the underdog is getting too much attention by bettors, pull out. If the player (or team) you view as favorites is not putting full effort, in your own eyes, then consider that in addition to any statistical or rank advantage.
Lastly, our fifth rule, is don't bet the house on one side. Always allow for surprises. Surely, that should not come as a surprise to you.