Sportsbook Ceases all Action on ESPY Awards
Every year, there are certain events throughout the sporting world that tend to draw the heaviest action from bettors. Online sportsbooks get particularly busy during things like March Madness, the Super Bowl, the race for the MLB Pennant, Triple Crown horse races, etc. This year, out of the blue, the ESPY Awards became incredibly popular at one online sportsbook; so much so that management has decided to cease taking any bets on the upcoming athletic award ceremony.
The ESPYs, an abbreviation of ‘Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly’ Awards, are held annually by the sporting network, ESPN. The accolades are bestowed upon the best individual athletes and teams based on their achievements throughout the year. ESPN choses the most appropriate candidates, but it is the fans who cast their votes via the internet to determine the winners.
According to oddsmaker Mike Perry of Sportsbook.com, a conspicuous amount of betting activity began taking place on Tuesday. The odds had been available for quite some time, with no distinct patterns in betting taking place, but on Tuesday, the amount of wagers coming in on LeBron James (best male athlete) and Miami Heat (best team) became markedly suspicious. Not only were the amount of wagers drawing a great deal of attention, but the size of those wagers, as well.
“We had one customer from Hartford [Connecticut] earlier today asking for ‘over the bet limit’ ($500 max bet) on both,” said Perry. “We hardly got any action then all off a sudden Tuesday morning we got these multiple max limit bets.” He went on to say that he and his fellow personnel at Sportsbook.com “thought it was weird” that a single bettor would be “so keen on making an over the limit bet on LeBron at 3/2 odds when Adrian Peterson was a co-favorite and Miguel Cabrera offered a much better payout.”
The increased activity appears to be coming from two primary locations, Connecticut, where ESPN is headquartered in the city of Bristol, and from New York City. Perry stated that there “definitely appears to be a leak.” He explained that the online sportsbook has not offered odds on the ESPY Awards in the last four to five years for the same reason.
The sportsbook had set odds on the Miami Heat at 4/1, the third favorite to win the ‘best team’ ESPY behind the US Women’s Gymnastics team, listed at 2/1, and the 2013 NFL Super Bowl Winning Baltimore Ravens, priced at 3/1. LeBron James had been set to pay 3/2, tied on the top of the favorite list with Adrian Peterson. When an unusual amount of bettors started placing wagers on the Heat, their odds were moved from 4/1 to 5/2 before being removed from the list altogether.
Sportsbook.com has assured all bettors who placed wagers on the ESPY Awards before the cessation of action on Friday will have their bets honored. However, no future bets are being taken at the online sportsbook on any ESPY categories. Although no comment was given on the subject, in all likelihood, Sportsbook.com will no longer present odds on future ESPY Awards either.