ESPN’s Rece Davis Backtracks on ‘Risk-Free’ Sports Betting Comments


In a curious turn of events, popular ESPN and ABC sports anchor, Rece Davis, is now backpedaling on comments he made about sports betting. The dialog in question took place Sunday ahead of the much-anticipated clash between top-seeded UConn and No. 9 Northwestern during the second round of March Madness.

The day’s sports analysis took a peculiar twist when Davis playfully suggested that sports betting could potentially be a risk-free venture, creating an unexpected overlap between sports analysis and sports betting. The peculiar remark was made whilst welcoming Erin Dolan, an expert sports betting analyst for ESPN Bet, to ESPN’s “College GameDay” in the moments leading up to a string of games on Sunday.

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Dolan then shared her insights on potential bets for the UConn game, sparking enthusiasm amongst bettors for placing the under on the Wildcats’ 60.5-point over/under. She rationalized that in order to stand any chance against UConn, Northwestern would probably employ a strategy of slowing the game considerably.

However, as the segment drew to a close, Davis managed to surprise some listeners by asserting that those who followed Dolan’s advice wouldn’t be gambling, but instead, would be making a risk-free investment. This statement came after a season of impressive performances during which UConn’s men’s basketball team claimed victory at the regular season and conference championships, which saw the Huskies soar through the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament.

The uproar prompted by Davis’s comment was magnified by reports of Shohei Ohtani, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ biggest star, reportedly paying off his friend and interpreter’s sports gambling debt of $4.5 million.

Davis, however, soon took to social media to apologize and explain that his comments were made in jest. He confessed that Dolan’s prior NCAA March Madness betting picks had proven successful, which led him to jokingly refer to the advice as ‘risk-free investing.’

He later tweeted, stating that there is no such thing as risk-free investing, and emphasized the importance of responsible sports betting, urging bettors to approach wagering with care, fiscal responsibility, and never overstep their financial means, mentioning the unpredictability of sports and the inherent risks associated with such daring wagers.

Respected for his expertise in sports analysis, Davis has been with ESPN since 1995 and has served as host of “College GameDay” since 2015. He typically maintains a professional tone when analyzing sports or calling games, which made his remarks all the more surprising.

Experts in responsible gaming, in response to such comments, remind gamblers and sports bettors to treat wagering as entertainment rather than a source of income. The British Columbia Lottery Corporation’s leading responsible gaming program, GameSense, urges bettors to fully understand how sports betting operates and advises them not to place bets expecting to win.

With the unpredictability of sports and the multitude of uncontrollable factors, the GameSense website advises hopeful bettors to play anticipating losses, despite their knowledge providing guidance on the most probable outcomes. Finally, GameSense adds, “Remember – you’re playing to have a good time”.