With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, the folks at ESPN are airing a 16-player NBA 2K Tournament and the first match that was broadcast featured the No. 1 seed Kevin Durant taking on the No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr. on Friday evening. Ultimately, Jones Jr. emerged victorious by a breezy margin, but an interesting subplot has emerged from the otherwise harmless event.
Reuters brings word that offshore bookmakers were prompted to suspend betting action on the event before it was officially set to begin because, well, the matches were prerecorded and, with particular regard for the match between Durant and Jones Jr., results may have gotten out before the broadcast.
“It became clear that somebody knew something, and that the results had been leaked,” said David Strauss, head oddsmaker at MyBookie.ag. “That’s a nightmare scenario for us. When a result is compromised, we close the lines and look for the info ourselves.”
Once this information became clear to MyBookie.ag, SportsBetting.ag and others, action was suspended on the match. According to the Reuters report, it became obvious that something amiss, as Durant (the installed favorite) wasn’t getting much attention on the market against the much less famous Jones Jr.
It is important to recognize that these offshore outlets are not sanctioned to operate in the United States because, if they were, the option to make lines on this particular event would not have been available. Still, offshore sites are attempting to make their living on action that is otherwise strange, simply because there aren’t a lot of live sports to book at the moment.
In the grand scheme, this isn’t something that will greatly impact the handicapping world around the NBA because, again, this would not have been an event sanctioned to take action in legal books around the country. Still, it is something very interesting to note in that the tournament is ongoing and the majority of people likely assume that the games are taking place live, whether the goal is entertainment or a little bit of offshore betting action.