What is Point Shaving in Football? July 5, 2023 – Posted in: Featured Articles – Tags:

Shaving points in football and other sports has gained more attention as sports gambling becomes more and more popular worldwide and continues to be legalized in more and more nations.

Point shaving refers to dubious acts football players and sports bettors take during a game to affect the final score. The objective of point shaving is to influence the outcome of the game so that the bettor can cash in with significant winnings at a sportsbook.

Naturally, shaving points is prohibited. Thankfully, there have been a few highly visible instances of point-shaving in sports history. Players are aware of the severe repercussions, which include possible jail time and a lifetime ban from their sport. Having said that, it’s critical for everyone to comprehend what and how shaving points in football is, therefore I’ll go into further detail below:

What does Football’s Shaving of Points mean?

Shaving points basically entails a sports bettor attempting to persuade team members to make the final score fall within a certain range. For the sports bettor, the objective is for the final score to fall inside a specified range in order to “beat the spread.”

Here’s an illustration:

Let’s say that Team A is favored by a margin of five points over Team B. As a result, in order to “cover” the five-point spread and make money betting on Team A, the team would need to win by at least six points. Football players’ performances on the field are primarily influenced when sports bettors try to persuade them to cut points so that the final score will go in their favor. They try to “fix” the final score before the game starts, to put it another way.

Even while it can appear simpler in games with fewer players, like boxing or even basketball, it can nevertheless occur in football. Here is a possible scenario…

Functioning of Shaving Points 

A sports bettor would need to speak with a player and persuade them to change the result of the game in order to gain more points.

The sports bettor would typically pay money to these players in exchange for “fixing” the game. Here’s when the unlawful component enters the picture. A game’s outcome should NOT be influenced by sports bettors. Players should always play to the best of their abilities in order to preserve the fairness of the sport. Anti-fixing laws and regulations are in place in all professional sports, and violators face harsh penalties. 

Particularly the NFL is quite strict about this. Even if they aren’t betting on the game in which they are participating, they prohibit all players, coaches, and staff from participating in any football gambling. 

The NFL discovered wide receiver Calvin Ridley, then with the Atlanta Falcons, wagering on NFL games in 2021. He was consequently suspended by the league for at least the whole 2022 campaign. Ridley wasn’t even in the game at that point; he was sitting out due to an injury.

Players’ effects on score

In the previous scenario, a sports bettor might attempt to persuade certain football players to perform poorly. Instead of having to perform better than the opposing side, this would make it simpler for the players to control the game. Therefore, in our hypothetical case, the sports bettor may persuade members of Team B to ensure that they lose by a minimum of 6 points. The sports bettor would make a sizable wager on Team A at the -5 spread because he is confident that Team B’s players will underperform on purpose.

Making it Persuasive

Football point-shaving success is based on two factors:

  1. Players must refrain from discussing it with others.

There may be severe repercussions if word gets out to someone else that they are deliberately throwing the game to win money.

  1. Players must appear to be making an attempt

They can’t perform “too poorly,” in other words, because it might not be plausible for them to play that way.

They need to strike a balance between losing the game the way the sports bettor wants them to lose it and not coming out as overtly deliberate. The players would still be attempting to win the game but would not be making the extra effort. And when they fall short, they must appear unhappy that they couldn’t deliver a strong performance and prevail in the match.


As far as we are aware, football games feature a plethora of players, making it extremely difficult to shave points. Sports with fewer players, like boxing and even basketball, make it considerably simpler for a sports bettor to have an impact on a game’s outcome. However, there is always a chance that someone will try to persuade a player to reduce their score, which is why leagues are so adamant about stopping it. Point shaving is prohibited, against the law, and immoral, and no athlete should ever attempt it.


Point Shaving in Football FAQs

1) In football, how do you gain extra points?

A sports bettor would need to speak with a player and persuade them to change the result of the game in order to gain more points. The sports bettor would typically pay money to these players in exchange for “fixing” the game. Here’s when the unlawful component enters the picture.

2) In plain English, what is point shaving?

Point shaving is a form of match-fixing used in organized sports where offenders attempt to alter the final score of a contest without affecting the winner. In order to prevent a team from covering a point spread, which gamblers wager on, players frequently work together with bookmakers to do.

3) How common is point shaving?

Because those who engage in point shaving don’t always get caught, it is difficult to determine how widespread it is. But when teams are discovered cheating, it usually causes tremendous controversy. Although it happens most frequently in basketball, it is not a basketball-only phenomenon.

4) Which athletes were charged with point-shaving?

The Point-Shaving Scheme at Boston College

Some had ties to the mob, while others had ties to other upper-level gaming circles. Ultimately, BC players Rick Kuhn, Jim Sweeney, and leading scorer Ernie Cobb were accused of engaging in sports bribery, though Cobb was exonerated of those charges and Sweeney was never put on trial.