A bet of $10,000 was placed at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook on the Bucks reaching the postseason for a payout of $100, per ESPN’s Ben Fawkes.
— Ben Fawkes (@BFawkesESPN) August 2, 2019
Basically, someone is betting big money on 1/100 odds that a significantly improbable but not impossible thing doesn’t happen. Those are even wider odds than the Sixers bet, which was -5000 odds.
Even if the Bucks make the playoffs, this is a very stupid thing to do
Clearly, someone is very confident in the Bucks and Sixers and figures they can make an easy buck betting on the two to finish in the top eight of a very weak Eastern Conference, right?
Well, probably, but the Bucks reaching the postseason doesn’t stop this from being an unfathomably bad idea. The reason is opportunity cost.
By making this bet, the gambler is giving up $10,000 for eight months to make $100, a one percent return on investment. For anyone vaguely familiar with the finance world, that should sound like an awful deal.
If this person wanted to make $100 or more from his $10,000 in a year, all they would have to do is find a bank willing to give them a federally insured certificate of deposit with a rate of return above one percent. There are several banks that would do that.
Not only would they make a larger profit, the person could also rest easy knowing they aren’t vulnerable to losing all of their money should a “Homer at the Bat”-style series of misfortunes ravage the entire Bucks starting lineup.
Is there any way the Bucks miss the playoffs?
The Bucks won 60 games last year, and 41 wins has been the minimum number of victories to make the playoffs in the East over the last three years. So, the Bucks would probably need to lose at least 20 wins to miss the postseason, going from a .732 win percentage to lower than .488, a .244 change. Changes of that magnitude or bigger have happened dozens of times in NBA history.
The funny part about this bet is the gambler picked the Bucks, who are more dependent on a single player in Giannis Antetokounmpo than any playoff lock in the league.
If you want to draw up a blueprint for the Bucks to miss the playoffs, it would probably involve, heaven forbid, Antetokounmpo missing the entire season, the Bucks’ perimeter game collapsing without his interior threat and a bad year for head coach Mike Budenholzer. That is definitely not impossible, and a similar situation has happened before.
The worse season-to-season decline in NBA history that didn’t involve a team who had just lost Michael Jordan or LeBron James was the 1996-97 San Antonio Spurs. That team missed MVP center David Robinson for nearly the entire season due to a broken foot and fired coach Bob Hill on their way to a 20-62 record after finishing 59-23 the previous year.
Hopefully, no gambler lost $10,000 on that.
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