Reporter gets backlash for influencing Super Bowl 2021 national anthem prop bet

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A reporter who thought he was providing Super Bowl gamblers with an inside service is singing a different tune after facing backlash.

Zach Maskavich of WESH 2 News in Central Florida posted a Twitter video Friday in which he timed the live rehearsal of the national anthem from outside Raymond James Stadium, site of Super Bowl 2021.

The duet rendition, performed by Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church, was timed by Maskavich at 2 minutes, 16 seconds.

In the gambling world, the length of the anthem is a popular Super Bowl prop bet, so that is very important information. Maskavich’s Twitter account has 1,687 followers, but his video had more than 585,000 views as of 5 p.m. Saturday.

Before the video went viral, the over/under for the anthem was at roughly two minutes, give or take a second, according to AwfulAnnouncing.com. But that soon changed as a reported rush of money came in on the over. That pushed the odds at one book from -110 on each side to -1,500 on the over, and forced some sportsbooks to halt betting on that prop.

According to ESPN, Maskavich’s “buddies had been asking him to keep an eye and ear out for inside information on everything from what color of Gatorade the teams were using, to tidbits about the pregame and halftime musical performances.”

Maskavich has discovered what many reporters already know to be true of social media: People can get vicious when hiding behind anonymity. His replies are filled with anger for influencing the lines at sportsbooks.

“I had a feeling it was going to gain some traction, leading up to the Super Bowl, and people liking prop bets,” Maskavich told ESPN. “But I didn’t think it was going to blow up like it did. People are reaching out to me, wondering if Vegas paid me to do it, and all these other crazy shenanigans.”

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