CSIs To Uncover Big Betting Scandal In 'Big Middle'

By Christian
January 24, 2005 - 3:14 PM

See Also: 'Big Middle' Episode Guide

CSI Files sources today revealed the first spoilers for "Big Middle," an original CSI episode going back to the gambling roots of its Las Vegas setting.

The Rainbow Canyon is not a place you'd expect to find in the middle of the Nevada desert: a lush, water-rich valley where beavers feast on the abundance of food and tourists come to enjoy the peace. But that peace is disturbed when the body of Kelvin Russell is found inside the Canyon, and the CSI team descend upon the area to look for evidence. In a beaver dam downstream from the crime scene, Warrick, Nick and Brass find some documents that suggest Russell wasn't here to enjoy the quiet, but rather had some shady business dealings related to that other oddity in the Nevada desert: gambling capital Las Vegas.

It turns out Kelvin was an oddsmaker at Vegas Sports Line, the company whose job it is to minimise the casinos' risk on sports bets. At VSL, an oddsmaking group headed by sixtysomething Mitch Urbana spend their days crunching statistics and checking on the current condition of every single team in college basketball. Through this, they come up with betting lines: for each game on the schedule, they determine which team is the favourite to win, and by how many points this team is likely to beat the opposition. The goal of VSL is to pick such a sharp betting line that it attracts as many players who want to bet for as against the proposition, thereby evening out how much money the casinos have to pay out and will take in on a certain game.

Mitch Urbana is the absolute master of this game. While his employees may be useful to do preliminary research, it's Urbana that calls the final odds, and he's very rarely off. With one notable exception: the game two weeks ago between Duke and Louisiana, for which Urbana predicted that Louisiana would win by at least 15 points. Kelvin Russell objected that his research indicated the betting line should be at least plus 22, but Mitch wouldn't budge, and the line went out to the casinos as plus 15. But the minute this betting line was published, an overwhelming mass of players rushed to bet that Louisiana would win with a margin of more than 15 points, and almost no one took the opposite position. By the time the casinos realised what was going on and increased the betting line, they'd already accepted bets for millions of dollars on the old terms - money they all lost when Louisiana indeed proceded to crush Duke with massive force.

Brass finds out that the morning after the game, Kelvin came in to VSL to gloat to Urbana, and then quit the company on the spot. This seems a bit odd: why would Kelvin be so happy just to have outsmarted his boss? But then Warrick discovers that Kelvin had more than his professional pride riding on this game - he'd also bet heavily on the game's outcome himself. As an employee of VSL, it was illegal for Kelvin to take part in sports gambling, so he must have hired a pro gambler to place the bet for him. Could this have been what tipped off the gambling community to bet on this game in such overwhelming numbers? And could the resulting multi-million dollar loss have been the motive to kill Kelvin?

While the swing shift is handling the sports betting case, the night shift CSIs investigate the case of Maurice Goodman, an out-of-towner found dead in his hotel room. Grissom and Greg don't have to look far to find their suspects: the hotel's ballroom plays host to this week's Fat Acceptance convention, where Goodman used to hang out to woo overweight girls. While initally a success with the ladies, Goodman's popularity waned when it became clear that he got a thrill out of having sex with overweight women, but wouldn't be caught dead with them in public. Trace evidence indicates Goodman was with someone wearing expensive lingerie right before he died. Was the murderer one of the Fat Acceptance girls, who got angry when it turned out Goodman wasn't as accepting as he pretended to be?

Please keep in mind that the above plot details have not been confirmed by CBS, Alliance Atlantis or Bruckheimer Films, and until such time you should treat this information as you would any other rumour. The above information comes from early script drafts and the details and the airing order of the episodes are liable to change before the episodes are shown.

"Big Middle" will presumably air in late February of this year.

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Find more episode info in the Episode Guide.