Sports Betting Controversy: Scoring Error in Illinois State Basketball Game

Sunday was an epic day in sports betting as the public crushed sportsbooks while favorites covered in almost every game. However, a big story emerged from the day that had to do with a much less wagered upon sport in college basketball. Illinois State defeated Chicago State by a final score of 80-71 in a reasonably routine outcome. Many bettors saw the final result and chalked it up as just another bad beat as the closing line for the game had Illinois State as a 9.5 or 10-point favorite depending on the sportsbook where the bet was placed. However, Captain Jack Andrews, a professional sports bettor with an excellent Twitter account, noticed a discrepancy in the game’s final score.

Why Was the Finals Score Wrong?

Evidently, with Illinois State leading late in the game by 75-67, Josiah Strong stepped to the free-throw line to help expand his team’s lead. Strong sank both free throws that he attempted, but the scoreboard only increased Illinois State’s lead by one point to bring it to 76-67. The team should have had another point added to their score, and that additional point would have given the favored team the cover. Official play-by-play data shows Strong missing the first free throw, but the replay included in Andrews’s Twitter thread clearly shows him making both shots.

Foul Play or an Honest Mistake?

Integrity in sports is obviously of the utmost importance, but that’s especially true now that sports betting is growing in popularity. It’s commonplace on Twitter and other social media platforms to see individuals crying foul when a team gets a couple of bad calls to cost them the game. Still, in reality, it’s unlikely these instances are preordained. Jim Benson, a reporter for the Pantagraph, told Sports Handle that there had been several scoring issues throughout this particular game, including one instance where Strong had made six three-pointers in the second half and was credited with just four points on the live stats.

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How Does it Work with the Sportsbooks?

Individuals who placed a wager on Illinois State to cover ATS and later understood exactly what had happened in the game were reasonably upset to have lost their bets. However, at the time of this writing, the NCAA and its exclusive data provider, Genius Sports, have not acknowledged this mistake. ESPN’s David Purdum reported that the Chicago State athletic department is working with the NCAA to correct the error, but no official statement has been made.

Sportsbooks automatically grade action based on the game’s final score, and most have a policy that the final score dictates the result of the bets, not including any corrections that take place at a later time. According to Purdum, PointsBet has announced it will be grading bets on what should have been the correct score of the game. Caesars Sportsbook will be honoring bets on both sides of the spread.

Not all sportsbooks were as generous. According to Action Network, BetMGM cited house rules that the “winner of an event or game will be determined on the date of the event’s conclusion,” stating it will grade bets based on the initial results. Meanwhile, we have yet to hear official statements from DraftKings, FanDuel, and WynnBET when this article’s publishing.

Why is This Story so Important?

It’s unlikely that this game generated a significant betting handle, mainly as Illinois does not allow sports bettors to place wagers on in-state collegiate teams. College basketball is typically less popular for casual bettors on Sundays when the NFL reigns supreme. However, if the NCAA and Genius Sports cannot reach a responsible conclusion to this controversy, there could be longer-lasting questions of trust and integrity.

Sportsbooks risk alienating bettors and losing customers to other platforms when they take the stance that they will not remedy a situation such as this one. Meanwhile, individuals in states that are legalizing sports betting will not be as excited if they cannot trust the tracking of their bets to be appropriately handled. No party is truly at fault in this situation, but sports bettors will undoubtedly be upset if this situation is not resolved correctly.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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