Jameis Winston is the subject of a lot more unfavorable chatter Friday, this time over allegations that he was shaving points in Florida State’s October 30 game against Louisville to help a friend, UAB defensive end Chris Rabb, get out of gambling debt.
But the latest storyline — that Winston may have been shaving points during Florida State’s 42-31 win at Louisville October 30 — should be met with a heaping dose of skepticism given the source: A gambling website run by a guy who calls himself Incarcerated Bob and who, according to veteran sports journalist David Purdum, has repeatedly posted bogus stories in the past aimed at gaining him publicity and allowing him to sucker gamblers into paying him for picks.
Despite the extreme likelihood that the original report was bogus, TMZ reported Friday afternoon that the allegations — true or not — caused enough of a stir for UAB to launch an investigation into potential wrongdoing by Rabb, a close friend and high school teammate of Winston.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Incarcerated Bob Says Rabb Bet $5,500 on Louisville in the 1st Half Against FSU
Citing an anonymous bookie from Alabama, Incarcerated Bob said that Rabb placed a bet of $5,500 bet on Louisville getting 1 point in the first half against Florida State. That means Rabb bet against Florida State, hoping the Seminoles would not be leading by more than a point at halftime. They weren’t. Winston threw 2 first-half interceptions and Louisville led Florida State 21-7 at the break.
We know what happened in the game. We don’t know whether Rabb really bet that much money on the first-half line, but we do know that there’s considerable doubt about the reporting given Incarcerated Bob’s history of being wrong. As the story goes, though, Rabb won $5,000 on the bet, which Incarcerated Bob says was the biggest ever placed by Rabb.
Incarcerated Bob published screengrabs that he said showed Rabb’s betting history, but no other media outlets have verified the screengrabs or any other part of Incarcerated Bob’s report.
2. Florida State Played an Awful 1st Half Against Louisville
Winston and the Florida State offense played poorly in the first half. This drive chart shows the Seminoles’ struggles. Three punts to start the game and 2 Winston interceptions led directly to 14 points for the Cardinals and put the Seminoles in an early hole. FSU didn’t get on the board until late in the second quarter, when nation’s No. 2 team was already down 21-0.
Louisville entered the game with the top overall defense in FBS.
The Seminoles rallied in the second half, scoring 35 points to win 42-31.
Winston played unusually poorly in the first half, but it wasn’t the only time both the quarterback and the Seminoles in general have gotten off to an awful start this year against inferior competition.
That’s exactly what happened on September 27 against NC State, when the Seminoles trailed by 17 at the half before rallying to win 56-41. There’s no sign of unusual gambling activity around that game, or around the Notre Dame game, when FSU trailed by a touchdown at the half but eventually came up with a last-second goal-line stand to win 31-27.
3. There’s No Evidence That Winston Was Shaving Points
The only evidence Incarcerated Bob offers that Winson was shaving points is his closeness to Rabb and his poor play in the first half, and there’s no indication that Florida State or the NCAA are investigating Winston for point shaving. (Calls seeking comment from FSU’s athletic department were not immediately returned Friday.)
According to a May 2014 Bleacher Report story, Winston and Rabb have been friends since the sixth grade and graduated together from Birmingham’s Hueytown High School, where they were also teammates.
TMZ Sports is reporting the FBI “can neither confirm nor deny” an investigation into the claims.
Point shaving is a crime and punishable with up to 5 years in prison.
4. Incarcerated Bob Has Some Major Credibility Issues
Incarcerated Bob has developed a big following over the past several years. But a lot of what he’s posted in the past — including claims that former Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd was in $80,000 of gambling debt — have turned out to be completely false.
Here’s how The Big Lead’s Jason McIntyre summed up the Boyd situation after reporters had asked Boyd about Incarcerated Bob’s report:
Enter a fraud named “Incarcerated Bob.” You’ve never heard of him because he’s a joke who has already been exposed as a complete fraud (you must read this). Every six months, when someone mentions him to me on twitter, I block that person for being stupid. “Incarcerated Bob” attempted to buy credibility by purchasing twitter followers, and when that failed, he started throwing more rumors at the internet, and because gullible people will believe anything, flat-out lies became “well I read it on the internet.”
The most detailed account of Incarcerated Bob’s dealings came in this 2013 post from Purdum, a veteran sports gambling reporter who wrote about what happened when he tried to interview Incarcerated Bob.
Read IB’s bio from the IBN Sports Wrap website here.
5. There Have Been a Handful of Proven Point-Shaving Scandals in College Sports
Point shaving scandals have corrupted the college sports landscape before. In October, ESPN aired the 30 For 30 documentary “Playing for the Mob,” which chronicled the Boston College basketball team’s point-shaving scandal in the late 1970s.
The 1994 Arizona State basketball team, the 1995 Northwestern basketball team and the 2007 Toledo football team each had programs rocked and players found guilty and sentenced to prison time for point shaving.