As more of former referee Tim Donaghy’s claims are published, I’ll try to post them here. Today’s news cycle is pre-occupied with a matter of primacy, namely Donaghy’s repeated claim that he did not influence the outcomes of games to advance his betting propositions. According to the New York Times, Donaghy states in his book:
“The big question on everyone’s mind is, ‘Did Tim Donaghy fix games?’ The answer is no. I didn’t need to fix them. I usually knew which team was going to win based on which referees had been assigned to the game, their personalities, and the relationships they had with the players and coaches of the teams involved.”
If this is true, Donaghy should immediately open up one of those “1-900” tout lines which charge a fee for betting insights and “sure winners!”. After all, if his intimate knowledge of referee behavior – ALONE – accounted for his outrageous betting success (winning approx. 79% of his wagers), this insight would still be invaluable and the former referee could earn quite a living.
It is unlikely we’ll ever see a Donaghy tout service, however. As Donaghy’s co-conspirator, former pro gambler Jimmy Battista, explained to Bryant Gumbel recently, the referee’s “unheard of” betting win rate applied only to games Donaghy, himself, officiated. According to Battista, Donaghy’s bets on NBA games he didn’t referee were so bad that the gambler ultimately stopped taking them.