Football Match Fixing

Detecting fixed football (soccer) games.

There is a certain buzz of expectation, because Oscar, one of the fraud analysts, has spotted a game he is sure has been fixed.

"We've been watching this for a couple of weeks now," he says.

"The odds have gone to a very suspicious level. We believe that this game will finish in an away victory. Usually an away team would have around a 30% chance of winning, but at the current odds this team is about 85% likely to win."

[...]

Often news of the fix will leak so that gamblers jump on the bandwagon. The game we are watching falls, it seems, into the second category.

Oscar monitors the betting at half-time. He is especially interested in money being laid not on the result itself, but on the number of goals that are going to be scored.

"The most likely score lines are 2-1 or 3-1," he announces.

This is interesting:

Oscar is also interested in the activity of a club manager - but his modus operandi is somewhat different. He does not throw games. He wins them.

[...]

"The reason he's so important is because he has relationships with all his previous clubs. He has managed at least three or four of the teams he is now buying wins against. He has also managed a lot of players from the opposition, who are being told to lose these matches."

I always think of fixing a game as meaning losing it on purpose, not winning it by paying the other team to lose.

Posted on December 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM • 13 Comments

Comments

PhillipDecember 3, 2010 12:45 PM

"The odds have gone to a very suspicious level. We believe that this game will finish in an away victory. Usually an away team would have around a 30% chance of winning, but at the current odds this team is about 85% likely to win."

They away team must be playing the Detroit Lions -- at home. The Lions can't beat anyone, home or away.

prometheefeuDecember 3, 2010 1:12 PM

What would it take to leak fake information on games being fixed? Probably not much... Then bet against your own leaks being true at much better odds.

kangarooDecember 3, 2010 1:50 PM

I don't think the Lions would do any better if they were playing the round ball version.

TFBWDecember 3, 2010 7:46 PM

"I always think of fixing a game as meaning losing it on purpose, not winning it by paying the other team to lose."

Losing on purpose is "throwing the game", whereas "fixing" is any activity which fixes the outcome of the game a priori. Paying someone to throw the game is one way to fix it.

KTCDecember 4, 2010 1:52 AM

"I always think of fixing a game as meaning losing it on purpose, not winning it by paying the other team to lose."

Ah, but the other team(s) *is* being paid to lose on purpose. You're just looking at it from the other side than usual.

FrisbeeDecember 4, 2010 2:42 PM

When the NBA ref was caught fixing games, he wasn't necessarily affecting the outcome of the game. He called a lot of fouls, which changed the over/under line, and could easily be bet against.

bobDecember 4, 2010 3:52 PM

@jgreco

Actually it's "PansiesStandingAroundDoingVeryLittleInBodyArmourHandEgg".

As opposed to Rugby.

Sometimes they even play it indoors!

Tom LeDecember 5, 2010 5:39 PM

There are many other better ways to fix a game if the purpose is to wager on the game to make money. A coach that decides to change the style of play, such as a style that leads to much higher probability of scoring more or scoring less, can give bettors a huge advantage. Points shaving is a form of this type of fixing, though a bit more detectable than fixing from a coach's perspective via play calling.

Dirk PraetDecember 7, 2010 5:15 PM

Game fixing happens in about every sport as soon as there is enough money or other interests involved. This is not about football, but about detecting the mechanics behind game fixing, in this case football. Which makes it an interesting read.

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