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Pro Sports Bettors Debate Angle Shooting Ethics in the Wake of Draymond Green Props Controversy

Written by:
Alejandro Botticelli
Published on:
Jan/14/2022

In the wake of the Draymond Green props bet controversy that had DraftKings bowing to public pressure to pay winners, pro gamblers Jack Andrews and Rufus Peabody examined the limits to one's advantage as a sports bettor AND as a bookmaker.

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First, let's take a look at what transpired on January 9 in a game featuring the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Golden State Warriors Public Relationstweeted just prior to the game: “Draymond Green will be on the court for the opening tip-off to honor Klay Thompson but will not participate in the remainder of the game due to left calf tightness he experienced during his pregame warmup.” 

Savvy sports bettors jumped all over the UNDERs including: UNDER 7.5 number of points scored and UNDER 8.5 rebounds.  These were sure wins for the bettors.

Taking advantage of errors in lines or information accessed prior to a bookmaker reacting is referred to as "angle shooting". 

Green managed to commit one foul in the seven seconds he played.

"The Draymond Green situation was unique, but our trading team keeps an eye on the games and news reports," Kevin Hennessy, director of publicity for FanDuel, told ESPN.

Some bettors parlayed multiple wagers on Green, resulting in long odds and payouts of six figures, Purdum reports.

While FanDuel promptly paid out, DraftKings initially resisted.

DraftKings released a statement Monday night saying bets on Green in the Cavaliers-Warriors game were "under review and bet settlements are currently on hold pending an investigation."

Professional sports bettor Gadoon “Spanky” Kryollos commented via Twitter:

"No respected bookmaker would be this vulnerable. Any competent bookmaker would detect this after one bet and move the line."

One follower of Spanky's noted: "It’s offering a product you don’t have the tech to properly manage. It’s like having the nukes but no failsafe."

In the world of prop betting, most bets have action if the listed player plays any portion of the game.  And that's exactly what transpired on January 9.

Some books were swift about removing the prop bets from the board, others were not.  DraftKings left some ancillary up.  These included the Same Game Parlays (SGP) market.  That's called "neglect".

The losses across the board were said to be in the millions.

Andrews and Peabody write:

Central to this issue is the same-game parlay. SGPs create a ton of surface area for operators to defend. They are hard to price properly, have a high hold, and are aggressively marketed to recreational bettors. They create lots of opportunities for savvy sharp bettors as well, as modeling the various correlations between different player and game outcomes is extremely tricky. SGPs can be beatable but most bettors lack the skills to do so. 

Recreational bettors love SGPs for the same reason they love parlays in general – lottery payouts. SGPs come with bells and whistles, appeal to the fantasy football crowd, and allow a massive parlay sweat on a standalone game. They have very high theoretical holds which are well-disguised because most bettors don’t understand how correlated or uncorrelated the outcomes are.

Sportsbooks love Same Game Parlays as they are extremely profitable, but there is sometimes a price to pay with the fragility element. 

For operators to take advantage of the lottery mentality of many rec bettors, they must offer large payouts. They also can’t manage risk in the same way they can for traditional markets; there’s no way to balance action. So inevitably books can become very exposed to a particular outcome or outcomes.

With the SGPs there was massive liability on Green for DraftKings.

Many people have argued that DraftKings just simply dropped the ball and that their traders should have caught this. But mistakes can, do, and will continue to happen. That’s life. There is a systemic issue with SGPs. Sportsbook tech stacks are generally not sophisticated enough to handle these types of situations reliably quickly, and (clearly) risk management systems are not adequate to safeguard them.

If operators continue to offer SGPs in the same manner, situations where they react slowly to news and leave themselves massively overexposed will continue to occur. 

The only defense for sportsbooks is to impose limits on bettors taking advantage of these types of mistakes, clearly not optimal for an operator to regularly take such an action.

Andrews and Peabody point out that angle shooting exists in a "spectrum of grey".  

To be clear, angle shooting is not exclusive to betting on sporting events. Poker player Chance Kornuth was accused of angle shooting in a hand during the 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.  Fellow player Chris Brewer contended there should be penalties for intentionally moving chips in a way to make your opponent believe you are calling/raising for reads.

So when is it opportune to pull the trigger on angle shooting?

Do so only "if you feel like your lifetime value at a book is limited and it is a situation where you feel a regulator would back you up on getting paid, your risk matrix may lean towards shooting that shot."  In other words, do not risk your relationship with a book you do business with and respect. 

A line that is slow to move based on information in the market is not nearly the same thing as a line that is terribly mispriced. However, don’t be surprised if a bookmaker takes offense to both. There are some bookmakers out there who have very low tolerance for anyone that gets the best of them. They are quick to wield their hammer. The ombudsman won’t help you there. They tend to let operators set limits as they see fit.

- Alejandro Botticelli, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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