The NBA has corrected a stat on Anthony Edwards from Thursday night. As a result, FanDuel has paid out bets on the Over of his player prop of 0.5 steals. DraftKings and Bet MGM also paid out.
There were only two NBA games on Thursday night, but that was enough for questionable stat rulings to shake the player prop market.
The latest props in question come from the late night game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors and there were multiple gripes from the game.
The most glaring mistake appears to happen right near the start. With just under 11 minutes remaining in the first quarter, Stephen Curry attempted a pass to teammate Kevon Looney cutting to the basket. The pass appeared to fly past the arms of Karl-Anthony Towns and into the hands of the help defender, Edwards. However, it was Towns who was officially awarded the steal on this play.
Here’s where this play gets tricky. According to Second Spectrum data provided to The Action Network, the ball was tipped by Towns. From Second Spectrum’s website: “Our player tracking system applies state-of-the-art machine learning and computer vision techniques to produce fast and accurate location data for basketball, association football and several other sports.”
Second Spectrum partners with both the NBA and the Premier League to use cameras and technology to track the ball and movements. It is supposed to observe the tiniest of movements, which allows us more information on situations like this.
Even if that’s the case and Towns did tip the ball, that doesn’t necessarily make it a steal.
According to the NBA rule book, “a steal is credited to a player that legally takes the ball away from an opponent, intercepts a pass, or otherwise obtains possession on the ball following an opponent’s turnover. If a player deflects a pass or dribble and controls his deflection either away from an opponent or towards a teammate resulting in an eventual possession for the defense, the player causing the deflection is credited with the steal.”
For Edwards not to get a steal on this play, it must be determined that Towns controlled his deflection toward Edwards. With his back to Edwards and the way he’s guarding Curry, calling that a deliberate deflection by Towns to his teammate is hard to understand.
Later in the game, Jaylen Nowell was credited with a steal with 2:34 left in the game after a pass seemed to be deflected by Edwards. In the video, you can see Nowell change his line for the ball after it’s in the air. The argument would be if Towns’ deflection to Edwards was ruled a steal, why wasn’t Edwards given a steal for this? Edwards to record over 0.5 steals was +128 at FanDuel.
That wasn’t the only issue in the game. With 46.8 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Curry threw a lob to Andrew Wiggins at the rim for an alley-oop. Wiggins got his hand on it but isn’t able to corral it completely to finish the play. In came Towns to secure the ball, which originally was marked his 13th rebound of the game. However, shortly after it was changed to a steal by Towns and turnover by Curry. Towns officially finished the game with 12 rebounds. His prop was 12.5.
Rebounds have been the most subjective stat and biggest cause of confusion for bettors, because often multiple players can get a hand on a ball, it comes down to judging intent. In this situation, the official scorer determined Wiggins did not attempt a shot and instead was trying to catch a pass from Curry. When he didn’t catch that pass, Towns gathered it and it became a steal.