Alone in the Corner

If his lips are moving…

11th June 2010

So this blog is quickly becoming all Tim Donaghy all the time and I assure you this was never my intention. Unfortunately the Tim Donaghy publicity tour continues, and I really want to set the record straight on some of his claims.

Consider the following excerpt from Donaghy’s work of fiction “Personal Foul”.;

Minnesota at Charlotte

This was a New Year’s Day game and I was in Charlotte for a matchup between the Bobcats and the TImberwolves. 

Before the game, I spoke with my group supervisor Jim Wishner. Jim mentioned that Minnesota’s star forward Kevin Garnett had been getting away with a lot of traveling violations and that no one was paying attention to his footwork. Jim expected us to keep an eye on Garnett and to start enforcing the rule.

he goes on to write;

In addition to the anticipated crackdown on Garnett, I liked the way Charlotte coach Bernie Bickerstaff had his squad playing high-energy basketball most nights. I called Tommy and told him to bet Charlotte.

The Bobcats played well early but fell part during the second half, getting outscored 34-18 in the fourth quarter. Garnett played exceptionally well for Minnesota, while Charlotte’s players were arguing amongst themselves all night. Much of the angst was directed at the Bobcat’s Adam Morrison, who took several off-balanced, ill-advised shots down the stretch in what had been a fairly tight contest.

Minnesota kept its composure and pulled out the road win 102-96. It was a loss for me, Tommy, and Ba Ba, and once again there were no apples coming my way. 

What if I told you that they didn’t bet Charlotte as Donaghy claims?

I have mentioned before that shortly after news of the Donaghy scandal broke, I was able to procure a list of games that Donaghy’s money movers Jimmy Battista and Tommy Martino had purportedly bet.

In addition to my list there is a book coming out that will tell the story of Jim Battista, and among other things list the games that Battista and his crew bet for Tim Donaghy. I fully expect that the book will detail that Minnesota was the side they bet in this particular game.

Now I don’t expect you to take me at my word. So lets consider some of the evidence.

In my database I have the betting line opening at Minnesota -2.5 and closing at Minnesota -4 - Absent of any injury or late breaking information this usually means that an imbalance in Minnesota wagers forced the linesmakers to move the line to -3.5 or higher.

Or to put it more bluntly, someone bet the shit out of Minnesota - Now the opening and closing lines don’t always tell the story its much better to look at the actual line history of a few books that take big limits.

Pinnacle Sportbook Line History

Cris Sportsbook LIne History

People who are involved in the sportsbetting industry will be able to appreciate just how extreme Pinnacles movement of the juice is - Cris actually moved the game to -4.5 at one point. These are not normal line movements. 

Donaghy writes in his book that Battista was really stepping out betting 50k or more on some of Donaghy’s games.  How likely is it that someone could bet 50k or more  on a game and see the line move 2.5 points AGAINST THEM?

Extremely unlikely if not impossible.

I’d like to add that the actual amount that was wagered was probably closer to 4 or 5x  the amount Donaghy mentions.  Especially when you think about all the followers and others that may or may not have been aware of these games). The guys betting these games were not treading lightly, and the lines were moving quite a bit.  It is very likely that the very books that were taking bets on these games,  were going out and betting these games for themselves. This says nothing of the periphery of movers and agents that Battista might have enlisted to help them get down. 

Aside from a large volume of one sided action the only other thing that could have caused such abrupt line movement was an injury or some kind of alert of that sort. There was no such information or key injury in this game.

How can we then reconcile Donaghy claiming that this game brought “no apples” as the crew bet on Charlotte and lost? 

I alluded to Donaghy’s book as a work of fiction,  and I truly feel that much of what he writes is a very special kind of fiction. I believe that Donaghy writes things to purposely deflect and divert people from the truth. So when Donaghy offhandedly mentions a flaw in their system;

Sometimes Tommy was so stoned when I phoned in my picks that he passed on the wrong information to Ba Ba (Battista). At times, I thought that Tommy might be pulling a double cross and filling his own wallet. But no, that wasn’t his style;

It strikes me as odd. I don’t know anything about Tommy, if he was a stoner or wasn’t a stoner - lets call him a stoner. Based on the way these guys conducted themselves in this operation, and the fact that Battista actually did a stint in rehab during the 2007 season it’s very likely that Donaghy is telling the truth.

So while its possible that Donaghy told Martino and Battista to bet Charlotte and they mistakenly bet Minnesota. The fact that Donaghy mentions that this game was a loss and it was their 3rd straight loss in a row leads me to believe that this wouldn’t be the case as I am sure he’d have gotten his “apples” after they won and mistakenly tried to pay him. But lets discount that for a second and take a look at how Donaghy called this game;

Tim Donaghy foul+violation details;

Calls favoring CHA 0

Calls favoring MIN 17

No that is not a typo, Tim Donaghy made 17 fouls+violation calls in this game and all 17 times the call favored Minnesota. Why did Donaghy call this game so egregiously? If you look at the score of the game - When Donaghy makes his 4th call MIN is already trailing by 7 points. By his 7th call they are trailing by 20 - Desperate times call for desperate measures especially as Apples are at stake.

Note that the largest call margin game Donaghy game had a similar pattern. That particular game featured 32 Donaghy calls, 26 favored the team he bet who was also trailing for most of the game.

What then is more likely;

Donaghy told Battista and Martino to bet Charlotte, they mistakenly bet Minnesota. Donaghy didn’t get paid for this game (the man says no apples). 

Donaghy happened to call the game very one-sided against the side he thought he bet.


Donaghy told Battista and Martno to bet on Minnesota, they bet on Minnesota. The line moved 1.5 or more points. Minnesota was trailing, Donaghy gave them a little 17-0 call margin help. Minnesota comes back and wins and everyone rejoices in victory (apples for all).

I don’t even think its close.

Which brings me to this, Aside from the fact that Donaghy may or may not be a pathological liar, why Donaghy would go to such lengths to lie about this particular game?

I’ll answer this in my next post. 

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