Temple investigating unusual betting before UAB game

Published 1:51 pm Friday, March 8, 2024

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Temple University will review reports that show at least one game involving its men’s basketball team has been flagged by gambling watchdog company U.S. Integrity for unusual betting activity.

The betting line for Thursday night’s game between Temple and UAB surged from the Blazers opening as a two-point favorite to reaching as high as eight points, per tracking website Covers.com. UAB covered the spread with a 100-72 win at Temple.

“We are aware of the media reports regarding last night’s men’s basketball game,” Temple said Friday in a statement. “We will review the reports thoroughly in accordance with university and NCAA policies. While we can’t comment any further at this time, we take this matter very seriously.”

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The Owls are members of the American Athletic Conference, which confirmed it is a client of U.S. Integrity and had no additional comment. U.S. Integrity said it was in the “very early stages of acquiring information” but otherwise declined to comment on an ongoing investigation. A UAB spokesman declined comment, adding “this does not apply to us.”

The Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board said it “received the alert and are reviewing the matter to see if there’s any impact in Pennsylvania.”

The point spread can dramatically shift when sportsbooks are taking in money on one side of a game. The line could be suspicious if, for example, an overwhelming amount of money came in on UAB — unusual in an otherwise meaningless college basketball game without major injuries or suspensions to key players.

The Owls were outrebound by UAB 41-19, the worst margin since it was outrebounded by 26 against Cincinnati in January 2019.

Temple is just 11-19 in coach Adam Fisher’s first season and plays the regular-season finale Sunday in San Antonio against UTSA. The Owls open the conference tournament next week in Fort Worth, Texas.

The growth of legal sports betting in the U.S., especially among college-aged people, has prompted concerns about increased stress on athletes and raised the potential for wrongdoing. NCAA President Charlie Baker said earlier this year the NCAA is trying to modify “draconian” penalties college athletes face for breaking rules regarding betting on sports.

The topic drew headlines last year in two prominent cases: About two dozen Iowa State and Iowa athletes were criminally charged after a state investigation into illegal sports wagering; some charges were dropped after investigators were found to have misused tracking software that detected open mobile betting apps in Iowa State athletic facilities.

That happened not long after Alabama fired its baseball coach amid an investigation into suspicious bets involving a Crimson Tide game at LSU; Brad Bohannon was accused of providing information to a gambler who used it to make illegal wagers against the Crimson Tide.

U.S Integrity last May launched a tip line to help athletes, coaches and staff to anonymously report suspicions about gambling activity to regulators and law enforcement.