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Shaving points explained – What does shaving points mean in football

Beating the bookmaker has always been a challenge for punters.

Unfortunately, the house edge proves to be insurmountable and long-term winnings are difficult to attain.

Shaving points was the solution found by corrupt gamblers to obtain illegal winnings.

In this guide, we explain what does it mean to shave points and look at some of the most infamous cases.

We review the case of Jameis Winston, a very popular American football player, who found himself dragged into a damaging scandal and how popular athletes got a lifetime ban for fixing the spread.

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The definitive shaving points guide for 2024

American football is the most popular sport in the US and NFL football betting is a big thing in this country. When a lot of money is on the table, punters would do anything to find the best odds margins and some would even consider betting scams.

The type of match-fixing known as shaving points has frequently surfaced and athletes were accused of it over the years. Illegal and potentially carrying a jail sentence, shaving points in American football is still a thing. Although rarely, it is also found in horse racing. But we have a different guide for that (Is horse racing fixed?). In our betting guide, we’ll look at how this type of cheating is used in point spread betting and how perpetrators use it to make a profit.

What does point shaving mean?

The shaving points definition is the starting point in any attempt of explaining this illegal activity. Essentially, shaving points in football and other sports involve meddling with the spread. It is a match-fixing activity in which players prevent their team from covering a spread.

In exchange of a bribe, the perpetrators will perform below expectations, so their team, usually the favorites, won’t cover the spread. The shaving points NFL process is identical to shaving points in NBA, so the same rules apply.

Shaving points – Three steps you shouldn’t take

American football is the easiest sport to bet on for US residents and the most tempting for shaving points. NFL betting sites offer punters the possibility of betting on a team to win by a certain margin, which is commonly referred to as covering the spread. To properly have the shaving points explained, we look at the three steps that those who want to obtain illicit profits will resort to.

Find players willing to commit the crime

To shave points in football, you need to have players willing to thank the game. These athletes will receive a bribe to underperform or they can do it on their own volition and place the bets themselves.

Place the bet at safe betting sites

Once the players agree to throw the game, you bet on the team not to cover the spread. This applies to multiple types of sports betting, and works on NBA and NFL better because of the high number of points scored. Once you understand what does shaving points on a football game mean you can use it on other competitions.

Cash in the profits and don't get caught

Some of the biggest winning bets were based on shaving points attempts that worked. Those who succeed enjoy their profits, but if they get caught, they could go to jail. Is shaving points illegal? Definitely yes and our betting advice is to avoid it. Use the best sports betting strategies and try to beat the odds without breaking the law.

Jameis Winston’s point shaving story

Now that you understand the shaving points meaning we can take a look at one of the best-known cases.

Jameis Winston point shaving scandal

➤ The Jameis Winston points shaving controversy happened in 2014 when the Florida State quarterback was accused of throwing the first half of the match.

➤ He decided to help a high school teammate who wagered $5000 on the team not to cover the spread against Louisville.

➤ In this point shaving scandal Jameis performed poorly in the first half, so his team was trailing after the first two quarters.

Those who understand what is shaving points in a football game know that the outcome of the match is less important. Florida State University ended up winning the match, so those who did moneyline betting on them were not affected.

There were plenty of people who wagered on that game who won, including some who chose the win reverse bet. Since FSU won, they ended up claiming big payouts, and the same happened for those who chose parlay betting and backed Florida State University.

Point shaving in professional and college sports

Shaving points in football isn’t a new thing and it happens at all levels. Those who use a college football betting strategy know that it happens the most when universities play against each other. Not surprisingly, the most respectable bookmakers with statistics offer few betting markets on these games. That’s because these matches are subject to less scrutiny, so it is more difficult to monitor their fairness.

Veteran punters who know precisely how to bet on football and how to bet on basketball are also wary of this reality. It’s more likely to be affected by the shaving points issue in games of lower magnitude than when you bet on the major competitions. College sports are more exciting and unpredictable, hence preferred by those who use a teaser betting strategy or fancy the prospect of placing a pleaser bet.

American football and basketball favor shaving points

Understanding what does shaving points mean will lead us to another question. Why is shaving points in football more common in the American version than the European version? The reason is that American football teams score more points in a game, therefore the spread wider. It is much easier for crooked athletes to meddle with the spread and more difficult for bookmakers and the authorities to detect the fraud.

The same applies to basketball matches, where 200 or more points are being scored on a match basis. The bottom line is that shaving points in American football and basketball is easier to pull off.

Shaving points FAQ:

Shaving points in football and basketball is a reality, but not a widespread phenomenon.

Shaving points is a crime regardless of sports and it is punishable by up to five years in prison.

This illegal activity hasn’t stopped today and there are still cases of points shaving in 2022.

Understanding what shaving points means in football highlights the fact that it also works on soccer. Because there are fewer goals scored, it is more difficult to exploit the spread, but still possible.

The risky and profitable business of shaving points

When there is money to be won, there will always be people motivated to break the rules. Shaving points is a crime that can be punishable with jail time, so it is a serious offense. Even so, there is no shortage of people willing to take their chances for the sake of winning easy money. American football and basketball are more suitable for this activity because of the high number of points scored every match. No sport is truly sheltered from this danger, as dishonest punters can be very creative.