The place to go for info on this NBA betting scandal is the folks who are embedded in the off-shore gambling world. That’s where all of the big money wagering took place after someone got to Tim Donaghy. After speaking with lots of these moles, here’s our theory on what happened, including guesses at some of the fixed games.Most of this flies in the face of the general media’s theories.Donaghy’s was not threatened. He wasn’t forced into doing this. He was not a degenerate gambler who got in too deep. That may be a nice Sopranos story line but things in the real world of the mob are much more subtle. It was a straight payoff deal for big money. Maybe in the $500,000 range. We know from new reports the Gambino Crime family is involved. Word is it’s a super high level, sophisticated gambler/handicapper who reputation is well known. The person may have ties all the way back to John Gotti.

Everyone is on the wrong path on trying to target fixed games. We’ll never know which games were arranged unless Donaghy flips or someone in custody turned state’s evidence. All the late game foul/cover examples and over/under stats are ridiculous. These guys are too smart. The whole point was to make it impossible to detect.

The fixer is high level gambler. There is a crew of the world’s best gamblers who hit in the 57-60% range on a regular basis. The names are well known. Read the book “The Smart Money” by Michael Konik.

Their best plays (based on angles/trends) hit at 60+ %. In theory, Donaghy was only brought in as insurance on the other four games, the gambler may lose. If things went as planned, Donaghy would have to do nothing. He was there to insure the victory, with or without making calls.

Don’t bother looking at the opening/closing lines. The evidence is more likely found with the action between the open and close. A tel-tale sign for the off-shore books is when they see one of their big names betting a game at -6 then -7 then -8. Sophisicated winners don’t do that. That raises eyebrows. If you looked at the opening and closing lines you may see, opened -6….steamed up to -8.5…then closed -6.5. You miss it by looking at just the beginning and the end.  

I think Donaghy’s arrangement was for around 15 games. The goal was hit to roughly 12-of-15.

Here’s our best guess at some of the games. Again, in some cases nothing happened. Donaghy was only an insurance policy.

11/16 – DETROIT 90, N.J NETS 82

The action on this game was curious. The fixed side here was Detroit. Richard Jefferson added some drama. He was iffy for the game. Donaghy’s partner and the public pound the line up to -3, -3.5. Right before the game, it’s announced Jefferson will play. Line goes back down to -1 and then it’s pounded again towards -3 again. It settles around -1.5. Jefferson scores 11 and there are a couple of instances in the final minute where calls on Detroit fouls aren’t made. Pistons cover easily. How could you tell the fix was in? Line opened -1 and closed at -1.5.


You could never tell in this one because Donaghy didn’t have to lift a finger. The Cavs were the side laying six. Cleveland blew out to a 20-point halftime lead.  It got as close as eight to start the 4th but the Cavs pulled away safely for the cover. Game opened -5 and finished -6. Again, nothing obvious.

Here’s the interesting scuttlebutt going around. Off-shore betting site Pinnacle was a good spot to work this deal because it’s limits on NBA sides were very at $100,000. If you remember Pinnacle ceased U.S. operations on 1/11. The theory is that this hamstrung the efforts to get huge money down and there wasn’t another Donaghy game for a while, roughly two months.  

The crazy thing is roughly five or six games in (all wins) everyone off-shore has some idea something is happening. Vegas has no clue. But instead of alerting anyone, the off-shore sites, simply get in on the action. But so do most of the huge name bettors around the world. Reports that Donaghy’s fixer did go 10-for-10 has been confirmed multiple times.

Now when did it end? Here’s the best guess. Donaghy is there as insurance, plus the guy who set it up is a great sports gambler. It would be shocking if the gambler is way off on game. This doesn’t work if he’s some hack who need Donaghy to make 8-to-10 calls to fix his misread on a game.  Sometimes circumstances are beyond control.


Everyone remembers this game but they would never put it together with the Donaghy scam. The side is Boston. The line opens -1.5 and closes -2. It’s coming in at the half, once again Donaghy has to do nothing. Then Doc Rivers steps in and tanks the game. Yup, the much discussed game where he took all his starters out with an 18-point lead. It was an avalanche by Philly, nothing Donaghy could do without making it obvious. Philly wins outright and the Donaghy fixer’s streak ends here. All the talk revolves Rivers tanking the game to help the Celts in the draft lottery. Since many of the big bettors were onto the fix, it was absolute destruction for the players off-shore that night. Everyone was on Boston.  

There are a lot folks who said there was one playoff game fixed. It was New Jersey-Toronto game 6. But there’s talk of double-crossing in this case. The line exploded from N.J. -5 to -8.5. The Nets won by one point. The thought is, the fixer had had enough with everyone jumping on his deal and set them up to lose with the phony side being Nets to cover.

The theories could be wrong. But make sure if the details/games affected come out, check back and see how accurate this was.

Explore posts in the same categories: NBA Betting Scandal


  1. […] sure you go back and read our original story on the Donaghy betting scandal. It’s funny how our account more closely resembles the news that came out over the last six […]

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