Game 7 was all but over. With :06 seconds left on the clock, George Hill hit his first free throw to make it a 105-98 Cavaliers lead, which was insurmountable. Hill missed the second and the Pacers’ Victor Oladipo got the ball and rather than dribble it out — as would happen in most regular-season games — he brought the ball up and buried an uncontested three. Final score, 105-101. That three didn’t change anything…
Except in Las Vegas (and online sportsbooks).
The Cavaliers were a 5 or 5.5 point favorite in this game (after opening at 6.5 points), and most of the money had been bet on the Pacers. That “meaningless” Oladipo three made a lot of bettors money and hurt casinos. From Darren Rovell and David Purdum of ESPN:
“It was probably a swing of $3 million to $5 million in Nevada,” said Johnny Avello, head of race and sportsbook for the Wynn in Las Vegas. “These types of things happen five or more times a week in our industry, whether it’s a two-run home run to cover the run line in the bottom of the ninth or an empty-net goal in the last minute of an NHL game.”
“We need the Cavs,” Westgate assistant manager Ed Salmons told ESPN shortly after tipoff. “The smart money was on the Pacers.”
At William Hill’s Nevada sportsbooks, 70 percent of the money bet on the point spread on the game was on the Pacers.
Nobody’s crying for the sportsbooks, which still bring in plenty of money for their hotel/casinos. Sometimes these late swings go their way, sometimes it’s the bettors that win. Sunday, people who put money on the Pacers got lucky.
And they can thank Oladipo for wanting to make the final score look better.