9 February 2022

Tanking Doesn't Have A Future In A Legalized Sports Betting World

 I always had a problem with teams losing a game on purpose, let alone a series of games on purpose.  I've always believed that you always try your best to win, no matter what.  Somehow some way it has become acceptable for a team to lose as many games as it can for the reward of potential future star via a top draft pick that may or may not pan out.

Last I looked, fans pay top dollar to watch their teams play.  But now, legalized gamblers have entered the picture too.  Yes, gamblers can take into account that certain teams want to lose a game, but think about, how silly does it sound?  And what about integrity?  Are passes dropped on purpose?  Are run plays called when a team needs to pass?  Are shots missed on purpose?  Is taking a fall acceptable in 2022?

The revelations that Brian Flores was offered $100,000 for each game he threw isn't unbelievable.  We saw first hand the Toronto Raptors tank on purpose last year in order to get a high draft pick.  Was Nick Nurse, who coaches like he never wants to lose any game anytime given a bonus to not play several of his starters as the season winded down? I hate to think he was, I hate to think he made decisions during the game to ensure a loss.  But it was clear as day what the Raptors were up to, and it was completely accepted, even by the majority of the fans.

Can it be acceptable anymore?  Not in the NFL, that is for sure, now that the genie is out of the bottle thanks to the allegations by Flores.  

The NBA may take a little more time to catch up.  They let players rest.  Having to rest players, sometimes 4 or 5 at a time, is an admission that your season is too long.  Fans paying good money to see stars, many times don't see them.  But now with sports betting entering the picture, odds fluctuations caused by late scratches and late rest announcements are going to give gamblers too much to complain about.  They got away with resting this year because of Covid, next year, I don't think so.

Currently, the NBA has to let teams like Portland and Oklahoma tank this year because their draft lottery rules are already in place.  So maybe the Commish will step in and change the rules next year.  

I expect to see the NFL do away with their current rules where the worst team gets the first pick ASAP.

The best way to keep fans and gamblers happy is to put all the teams that don't make the playoffs into a hat, and give them all an equal shot at the first through 20 picks in the NFL and first 14 picks in the NBA. As for the teams that make the playoffs, let them have an equal chance at the rest, or even a lottery, because I'd like to think that a team in the playoffs won't look to throw a game or a series for a better lottery pick.

Since this is mostly a horse racing blog, I feel like giving a horse racing angle to this.  Back in  the day when horses were magically able to run 20 or 30 times a year, it was often felt that the odd horse was stiffed to get better odds next time out.  Probably doesn't happen much in thoroughbred anymore.  The good old days when you drugged a horse to make it run slower.  It wasn't accepted by the masses then, but we accepted the Raptors tanking last year like it was part of the game.  This is gonna end.

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