James”Jimmy””Bah-Bah””The Sheep” Battista was a stressed-out, obese, Oxy-addicted 41-year-old, in the pit to some underground gamblers for sums he had kind of lost track of, even when he settled in to watch an NBA game for which he believed he would just put in the correct. It was January 2007. A month or so ago, not long before Christmas, he had done something audacious: He had sat down and cut a deal with an NBA referee. He feared that the scheme had become overly obvious.
“You wanna get paid?” Battista had stated to the ref. “Then you gotta cover the f–ing spread.” The bribe was only two dimes, $2,000 per match — an outrageous deal. If the pick won, the ref got his two dimes. If the pick missed, then the ref owed nothing; Battista would eat the loss. A”free roll,” as they call it. However, this referee didn’t lose much. His picks were winning in an 88% clip, entirely unheard of sports betting for any sustained period of time. They’re now entering the first week of the plot — what you could call a sustained time period.
Battista had understood the ref, Timmy Donaghy, for 25 decades. They’d gone to the same parochial high school in the suburban areas of Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia — Delco, since it is sometimes called — in which the sports pubs are abundant, where a certain easy familiarity with forms of gambling prevails, where guys have bookies like they have got dentists.
Battista was a creature of that planet. He was what’s known as a mover. Strictly speaking, movers are gamblers nor bookmakers. They are a species of agent that supplies solutions to sports bettors, putting down wagers on their customers’ behalf with bookmakers of various types around the world, legal and not. Battista was positioned well enough in that world that, without Donaghy’s understanding but predicated on Donaghy’s selections, he had helped set up a sort of loose, disorderly hedge fund. Several individuals from the sports-betting underworld had, in effect, staked Battista a basketball — a fund that he was now having to bet on games officiated by this one NBA referee. 1 member of this group called it”the ticket” and”the company.”
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