College Football Game Under Investigation Following Suspicious Betting Activity

Officials in multiple states are reportedly investigating suspicious betting activity in advance of a college football game between UNLV and New Mexico. [Image:]

Suspicious behavior A college football game involving the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the University of New Mexico is under investigation in numerous states due to suspicious betting activity. UNLV won the November 4 game, 56-14.

The Rebels had been a 10.5-point favorite about a week before the matchup, with the spread extending to 16.5 points by kickoff after a flurry of bets. Four of the first five scores by UNLV came after mistakes by New Mexico players.

independent integrity monitoring service issued an alert

An independent integrity monitoring service issued an alert in the hours leading up to the start of the game about suspicious betting activity. A major US sportsbook had initially observed the irregular pattern. Action Network reported that the creation of new accounts just to place wagers on the game was one of the red flags.

No obvious indications of match-fixing The game in question was not high-profile, so the large sums of money people were placing raised suspicions. A typical non-marquee college football game might have a betting handle of up to $20,000 with a given sportsbook.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last month that one bettor wagered $200,000 on UNLV to beat a 13-point spread against New Mexico. This netted him a profit of $181,000 through the BetMGM sportsbook in the Bellagio. The Mirage Sportsbook Manager Scott Shelton remarked this was the largest UNLV bet he has ever seen.

didn’t notice anything suspicious in the performance of their players

New Mexico Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez confirmed that US Integrity informed him of the betting activity a week after the contest. He immediately told his staff about the matter and none of them knew about any potential wrongdoing. They also didn’t notice anything suspicious in the performance of their players despite the heavy defeat. Nuñez fired the team’s head coach following the poor season, but he maintained that this decision was not linked to the betting investigation.

Concerns over betting in colleges One of the big topics of discussion since the federal ban on sports betting in the US came to an end has been the protection of college sports. These games are big business despite the majority of players not getting properly compensated. This could increase the temptation for players to potentially engage in match-fixing.

UNLV finished the year with a winning record for the first time since 2013 and will play Kansas in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl in Phoenix on December 26.

The NCAA has worked hard to make sure that betting-related issues do not arise. Despite these efforts, there have been numerous scandals in the college sports space over the past year. Alabama fired its baseball head coach after he gave information about the injury status of his expected starting pitcher before a game to someone who then tried to place a six-figure bet on the game. Many athletes across Iowa colleges also were investigated for betting violations.