New Mexico vs. UNLV Game Probed After Suspicious Betting Patterns

Posted on: December 7, 2023, 08:54h. 

Last updated on: December 8, 2023, 05:59h.

Gaming regulators in multiple states are investigating reports of suspicious betting patterns around the November 4 game between the University of New Mexico and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the Action Network reports.

UNLV, UNM, NCAA betting
UNLV’s Ricky White (left) glances back at New Mexico’s Noa Pola-Gates during the third quarter of the November 4 game in Albuquerque. The Rebels thrashed the Lobos, 56-14. (Image: Albuquerque Journal/AP)

Just hours before kickoff in Albuquerque, “a large US sportsbook” contacted independent integrity monitoring firm US Integrity to report its concerns. These included the unusually large amount of money wagered on the game by numerous new accounts that had apparently been opened solely for that purpose – typically a red flag.

UNLV opened as a 10.5-point favorite. But by kickoff six days later, had jumped to a 16.5-point favorite. The Rebels easily covered the spread, thrashing the Lobos, 56-14.

Something Fishy

New Mexico fired head coach Danny Gonzales on November 26 after four seasons with the team. That decision had nothing to do with the investigation, and everything to do with the teams’ recent performance record, New Mexico athletic director Eddie Nuñez told Action Network. Nuñez admitted he was notified about the suspicious bets on or around November 11.

The whole staff was adamant they didn’t see anything (suspicious),” Nuñez said. “They were all pissed off we lost so bad … We looked around and looked into it, and there was nothing different (than any other game), except getting our ass kicked.”

“The University of New Mexico is aware of an ongoing review by US Integrity of our Nov. 4, 2023 football game against UNLV,” Nuñez said Wednesday in a more formal statement. “We are cooperating fully with the Mountain West conference. To date, there is no indication of any misconduct, and we look forward to the conclusion of the review.”

Similarly, UNLV head coach Barry Odom told Action Network he saw nothing in any player’s performance that suggested there was anything fishy going on.

College Betting Scandals

Several recent scandals have brought collegiate games, and the betting markets on them, into hard focus. These have included charges against four football players from Iowa State and three from the University of Iowa for betting on their own games.

Meanwhile, in May, the University of Alabama fired its head baseball coach, Brad Bohannon, allegedly for leaking inside information to a gambler about an injury to his star pitcher.

Many states that have legalized sports betting don’t permit wagering on NCAA games because of concerns that young, poorly paid athletes could be vulnerable to corruption.

The NCAA prohibits athletes, coaches, and staff from participating in sports wagering activities, and from “providing information to individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities concerning intercollegiate, amateur or professional athletics competition.”