Las Vegas bookie Circa Sports, the first to surpass total points scored in the game, opened it to 248.5. An hour before the match started, the total was 195.5.
The 53-point move was the biggest change many seasoned bookies can remember, and it wasn’t caused by an attempted bribery or a rush for big bets. Instead, it was simply a mistake from a bettor who was running out of time.
Around 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Matt Metcalf, director of sports betting for Circa Sports, saw an opportunity to release the WNBA All-Star Game’s first total to the betting market, he told ESPN. He had a morning meeting at 9 a.m. and still needed to shower and dress for work. Rushing, Metcalf said he looked at the total points scored in previous All-Star Games and landed 248.5 as the opening number for this year’s game.
“At worst, I don’t think there is more than 15 points behind. It’s as bad as I think it could be, ”said Metcalf. “I didn’t think it would be the worst number ever. “
Metcalf said he did not take into account the fact that the WNBA All-Stars were facing the United States Women’s National Team, which is preparing for the Olympics and should take the game more seriously than the traditional high scoring All-Star Games that are often played. with reduced intensity and nonchalant defense.
“It’s very different from a [typical] All-Star Game, ”Las Vegas Aces coach Bill Laimbeer told Sports Illustrated. “Normally everyone messes up. This is not what USA Basketball wants. USAB wants a very competitive game. “
The opening number of 248.5 was up for a few hours at Circa before the first bet came in, and it was on top of a respected account that pushed the total to 252.5. Metcalf said he believed the over bet was designed to “fake” the market, a tactic used by professional bettors to deceive bookmakers as to how they are going to bet.
At this point, sports betting in the United States and around the world started showing higher / lower totals similar or identical to the Circa number. With more sports bets having the total on the board, bettors started betting the least, and the line started to crumble.
“I’ve been watching this stuff since 2004, 2005,” said Rex Beyers, SuperBook risk manager at Westgate Las Vegas, “and, head on, I can’t think of a bigger move. It is certainly in the top five. “
The SuperBook opened at 251 and moved the number 32 times before settling at 197. Beyers said they didn’t take any limit bets on the minus but were just trying to stay in line with the market.
“We have more money on the top than on the bottom,” Beyers told ESPN hours before the 7 p.m. ET announcement.
In the past, when some bookmakers posted bad point spreads or totals resulting from a typo or error, sports betting canceled bets on these numbers, claiming a “palpable error”. Metcalf pointed out that this was not the case with his WNBA total: “I made a horrible number, I suspended it and I took bets,” he said.
Metcalf reckons Circa only took six to ten limited bets on the less, which brought down the line so significantly. The opening limit was $ 2,000 and was then reduced to $ 500.
Circa, which caters to professional bettors, has carved out a reputation in the industry for its lines and net totals.
“I always say a bad number is better than no number,” said Metcalf. “I think we’ve gained some confidence from the numbers we’ve posted in the past – sure, maybe we blew it up today.
“I think the market is meeting our numbers for the most part, but we’re not perfect. We are going to make bad numbers. Having said that, I would never expect us to put a number 50 points lower out of a total. ”