Romans who lost bets on chariot races probably screamed, “Fix!” and wondered whether Ben Hur had been bought. Little has changed since. Sonny Liston took a dive against Muhammad Ali. Kickers, who secretly have wagered millions, miss game-winning field-goals attempts to collect. Soccer referees have thrown World Cup matches. And we won’t even talk about how the Knicks ended up with Patrick Ewing. (It’s sarcasm, people.)
Heck, that opening kickoff return for a touchdown by the Buffalo Bills on the first play after Damar Hamlin’s cardiac arrest? Too feel-good. Obviously scripted.
For decades, sports fans have raised an eyebrow at anything controversial, convinced that the NFL — or MLB or the NBA or NHL — wanted certain teams to advance in the postseason ... you know, for sexier matchups, higher TV ratings and sky-high advertising revenue.
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And — oh, man — those questionable officiating calls late in the AFC Championship Game, won by the Kansas City Chiefs, had the conspiracy theorists out in force on social media, with #NFLRigged trending on Twitter.
Years ago, when the mafia was booking bets, fans just shrugged. Of course, games were fixed. They were crooks! Legalized sports betting has only thrown gasoline on sinister, smoldering, conspiracy theory embers.
Here’s the latest: Sunday’s Super Bowl 57 is fixed and we already know the score — thanks to an alleged screen shot of a leaked page from Pro Football Reference that had the Philadelphia Eagles beating the Chiefs, 37-34.
(This led to others jokingly weighing in with the real script.)
Will no one leak winning Powerball numbers? (Only to me, of course.)
But just in case the original leaked Super Bowl score was real, bettors aren’t taking any chances. The Action Network reports that at BetMGM, wagering on the final score is the fourth most bet prop on the board — and 37-34 is the final score most selected by bettors.
So, no, we don’t believe in fixes and scripts ... but why risk it?
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