Circumstantial, as it may be, there is a lot to be uncovered in these NBA referee scandals when it comes to the action that Las Vegas receives on particular games. Obviously, the 130 phone calls from Tim Donaghy to Scott Foster are in and of themselves very bad news. Donaghy = guilty, and those swell-piece hits define "by association".
As R.J. Bell of Pregame points out, there might be a lot more to the Foster business than just the phone calls too.
During the 2006-07 period under investigation, seven games refereed by Scott Foster had lopsided enough betting on one team to move the point spread by at least 2 points; those seven teams were undefeated against Vegas – meaning that the big-money gamblers won a 7 of 7 times on Foster's games; the odds of that happening randomly are less than 1%.
Statistics alone cannot convict, but it's certainly noteworthy that seven times in Foster's games one team was bet extremely heavily, and all seven times that team won," said RJ Bell of Pregame.com.
Two of those seven games stand out:
On January 19, 2007 the Kings opened as a 1.5 favorites at Boston; betting on Sacramento moved the line to -4.5. Kings won by 5, shooting 25 free throws, versus only 14 free throws for the home team Celtics. On March 20, 2007 the Nuggets opened as 2.5 point underdogs at New Jersey. Denver was bet so heavily, they closed as 1 point favorites. Denver won by 4, shooting 32 free throws versus only 22 for the home team Nets.The point that RJ is making here is pretty simple -- generally speaking, lines can shift, but when a certain set of games shift heavily and Vegas loses all of those games, well, something ain't stirring the Kool-Aid.
Again, statistics can't convict. Nothing short of testimony from the referees and gamblers involved can actually prove anything; conviction is in reality an entirely different issue if we're speaking in legalese.
And furthermore, none of these do anything to prove that the NBA is is fixed, in the sense of a conspiracy from top to bottom. (Although the NBA scrambling to deny the ridiculous number of phone calls doesn't help.)
Yes, it would be absolutely horrible news for the L (obviously) because it means that more than one referee's games were compromised and suddenly, things from that period look much darker.
Again, there's a long way to go on this investigation, particularly considering we are working on circumstantial evidence at this point, but it's a pretty safe bet you can count on some subpoenas and other less friendly legally-related documents heading Foster's way.
At least we know Donaghy won't mind talking! Sigh.