Ohio Regulator Blocks “Suspicious” Betting Odds For Alabama Baseball Team

Grant Mitchell
Grant Mitchell
Baseball news


  • Alabama lost the game in question to LSU 8-6
  • Alabama’s starting pitcher was scratched an hour before the game started
  • There is no national regulator to handle these types of matters

The Ohio Casino Control Commission (OCCC) ordered all legal sportsbooks to close betting lines involving the Alabama Crimson Tide’s college baseball team.

Matthew T. Shuler, executive director of the OCCC, said the decision was made because of “suspicious wagering activity” found during a Friday game against LSU. Alabama lost the game 8-6 on the road, bringing them to 30-15 on the year. 

It is not out of the ordinary for sportsbooks to halt betting odds for events receiving abnormally large bets or traffic. It is, however, a matter that needs to be taken seriously by a state that only launched its legal sports betting market at the turn of the year.

Closing the books

Alabama sophomore Luke Holman was slated to start at pitcher. He is 5-2 with a 3.19 ERA this season and averages north of 10 strikeouts per nine innings. He is a key contributor to Alabama’s tough pitching staff which ranks 29th nationally in earned run average.

According to the school’s game recap, reliever Hagan Banks was told an hour before the first pitch that he would be on the mound. Banks, a third-year player, is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA and has only started two games this season compared to Holman’s nine.

Banks ended up relinquishing four earned runs in three innings for a game ERA of 12. His LSU counterpart, Paul Skenes, went six innings giving up five hits and one earned run en route to the victory. LSU was a -245 pre-game moneyline favorite.

Ohio allows residents and travelers 21 or older that are not on self-excluded lists to place bets in retail locations and by using online platforms such as mobile betting apps. The country’s biggest sportsbooks, such as FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM, and Caesars are all legal in Ohio, as are other operators.

The OCCC sent its memo to all Ohio sportsbooks on the back of information provided by the Las Vegas group U.S. Integrity, which uses data to monitor abnormal bets, signs of foul play, and other possible infringements. 

Notably, states are in charge of making decisions such as the one to close off betting lines for the Bama baseball team. There is no national regulator, and Ohio was the only state that instructed sportsbooks to take the odds off the board.

Ohio’s outlook

While instances of sportsbooks pulling betting lines have occurred before, it has not happened much in college baseball. An SEC (the conference Alabama and LSU play in) administrator told OutKick “This is a new one for me, very strange.”

Last November, a fight between Darrick Minner and Shayilan Nuerdanbieke at UFC Vegas 64 was the subject of similar controversy. Sportsbooks in several states were sent abnormally large wagers that Minner would lose within the first two-and-a-half rounds just hours before the opening bell. 

Both Minner and Krause were later charged for failing to disclose a leg injury that played a part in Minner losing in the first round, just as many bettors predicted. Krause has also been suspended from the UFC after it was revealed that he worked as a middleman for an offshore sportsbook. 

Instances in other sports have also happened ever since the U.S. expanded sports betting in 2018.

Ohio has dealt with a variety of other issues since it launched its sports betting market on January 1, 2023. Dayton Men’s basketball coach Anthony Grant said that his players experienced an increase in online harassment ever since the new year. 

The OCCC also hit out at sportsbooks’ advertisements and later instituted new guidelines for acceptable verbiage, which banned terms such as “risk-free” from promotional campaigns. 

Despite all of that, the Ohio gambling market has proven to be extremely lucrative. It surpassed $1 billion in betting handle during its first month of operation and is already one of the most powerful states in the country, alongside New York, New Jersey, and others.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.