What Does Point Shaving Mean In Football

Point shaving in football is the action of intentionally altering the score in a game in order to win a bet. These bets are based on the spread and not the winner of the game.

This means the players will not necessarily have to cause their team to lose the game. But rather they will play the game with the intention of only winning by a certain score.

Here is an example for those of you that aren’t familiar with sports gambling. Say the line is set that the Buffalo Bills will win by their next game by 7 points.

This means you can bet they will win by more than seven points or you can bet they will win by less than seven points.

When point-shaving a player will take the bet that they will win the game by fewer than seven points. This way they can intentionally alter the score in order to win their bet.

Essentially shaving points means intentionally altering the score in order to win a bet on your own team.

How It Works

So how exactly does point-shaving work? If you do not know already players cannot simply head to their local sportsbook and place a bet.

Since these players are not allowed to bet on their own games there is usually civilians that place the bet.

This is most commonly organized crime members such as mobs or gangs as it is of course illegal to engage in this sort of gambling.

These people willing to make the bet typically have quite a bit of money which is what allows them to make large wagers on the point shave games.

Those looking to make this crooked bet will look for athletes that they can convince to join their scheme. The athletes will get paid for their efforts in helping with the point-shaving. This is how they are usually convinced to join the scheme.

They will then choose a game to bet on, those placing the bet will do so prior to the game starting. The player will then play out the game hoping to alter the game to win the bet.

Once the game is complete the player and those who made the bet will be paid if the game went how they intended.

Most Famous Cases Of Point Shaving

Boston College Basketball Scandal

This point-shaving scandal occurred in the 1978-1979 college basketball season. This involved a the mob working with many different college basketball players as well as an asisstant coach in order to shave points.

The players were paid out $2500 per game in which points were shaved. It is estimated the mob was able to make around one hundred thousand dollars throughout running this points shaving scandal for eight months.

Tulane Mens Basketball

The Tulane mens basketball team is another great example of point shaving in sports. This occurred in the 1984-1985 season and resulted in the Tulane basketball program being banned for four seasons.

The Longest Yard

The movie the longest yard is one of the most well-known examples of point shaving. In the movie Paul Crew the quarterback was kicked out of the league for point shaving. This means he was attempting to change the score of his games in order to win money gambling.

Which Positions Point Shave In Football

Technically any player on a football team could be responsible for point shaving. But since only a few positions are able to regularly score points some positions are better useful than others.


Quarterback is the position that could sway the score the most in a football game. The quarterback is the player most responsible for earning his team’s points on offense.

A quarterback could also throw an interception or intentionally fumble the ball if he wants the opposing team to score.

Aside from the center the quarterback is the only position in football that touches the ball every play. If one position was able to influence the score of the game it is going to be the quarterback.


Another position that is capable of shaving points in football is the kicker. If you look up the list of all-time point scorers in football you will realize the leaders are kickers.

These players are able to score a large number of points and due to this fact are able to manipulate the score.

Additionally, kicks are missed quite often in football games which mean a kicker would be able to miss a field goal without batting an eye.

That all being said the kicker has no way of determining whether or not a field goal is going to determine whether or not a team wins a game.

This makes it difficult for a kicker to participate in this kind of scheme in football.

Why is point shaving so frowned upon?

There are two main reasons that point shaving in sports is so frowned upon. The first is that you are actively working against your team. When point-shaving in order to win by a smaller defecit you are actively trying to hurt your team.

As a professional athlete, there are many people who are committing their lives to help the team succeed. The coaches, players, and other staff members are all working to make these teams be the best they can be.

This makes the action of point-shaving quite a betrayal to all those they were working with.

The other reason point-shaving is treated so harshly is that it makes a mockery of the league. The idea behind sports leagues is competition and if that competition is rigged then it isn’t really a competition at all.

Those cheering for teams or betting on teams will no longer be able to trust the league as a whole. This is why you will find that leagues will come down very harshly on just about any player betting on their professional sports league.

That is all on point shaving in football continue reading if you want to learn more about the NFL being rigged or learn if NFL teams tank games on purpose to get a better draft pick.

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