Game seven of the NBA Finals had just about everything one could imagine to make it the greatest spectacle the sport has ever seen.
From record-selling seats to crazy television ratings and even an unlikely tale of the underdog bringing a first-ever fairytale championship to his hometown franchise after making up an unprecedented deficit; the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers put on a historic series.
According to a whole host of Las Vegas bookmakers, it was the most heavily bet on NBA game ever.
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"Not only was game seven the most heavily bet NBA game that I can remember in my 29 years, but game six was the second-most," said Bill Sattler, director of specialty games for Caesars.
That just goes to show exactly how engrossing the NBA Finals were. As the plot thickened and the Cavs looked dead and buried, some punters obviously saw there was money to be made.
Down 3-1 after a game four home loss, the Cavs could be found as high as 14-1 underdogs to win the series. MGM's sportsbooks said it took close to 100 bets on Cleveland to win from that position, with an average size bet around $250.
Caesars have revealed they found plenty of support for LeBron's crusade from that unlikely position too and did not foresee the Cavaliers re-writing the history books and beating the greatest regular-season team ever three straight times.
According to ESPN.com, William Hill's Nevada sportsbook described the handle as "massive." It took three times more bets and three times the handle on game seven than it did on its most heavily bet game during the regular season, which also featured Golden State, but against Oklahoma City on February 27. Game seven was responsible for 28 percent of all the money bet on the NBA Finals at William Hill.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook also received record-setting bets and just three hours before tipoff, more than a million dollars had already been bet on Game seven at MGM sportsbooks.
MGM assistant manager Jeff Stoneback said the book took several six-figure bets, some on each team. He characterised the biggest bet as "large six figures" on the Cavs plus-five, which those happy gamblers missed out on by one solitary point.
"We've had more six-figure bets in two days on this game than sometimes we get in the first week or 10 days leading up to the Super Bowl," Stoneback told ESPN in a phone interview Sunday afternoon.
Two seats to Game 7 sold for $49,500 each on StubHub, a non-suite record in the site's 16-year history. ESPN business reporter Darren Rovell has reported that it was also the most-watched NBA game since game six of the 1998 Finals between the Utah Jazz and Chicago Bulls, the great Michael Jordan's last ever Finals. On top of that, rap superstar Drake reportedly lost $60,000 dollars betting on the Golden State Warriors.
"When they tipped off, we knew that, if the Cavs won, we were going to get spanked pretty bad," Sattler, a Northeast Ohio native, said. Having said that, he estimated the loss at roughly "four percent" of the amount wagered.
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