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NBA betting: Why the BetMGM sportsbook is rooting against the Atlanta Hawks

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With the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers eliminated from the NBA Playoffs, there is only one team remaining in title contention that is a liability for the sportsbook at BetMGM.

It’s the Atlanta Hawks.

The Hawks upset the Philadelphia 76ers, the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, to advance to the East Finals to face the Milwaukee Bucks. The Hawks opened the season with +15000 odds to win it all, but are now one of the last four teams remaining. Before the playoffs began, the Hawks had +6600 to win the title. Those odds are now +1100.

So why is the sportsbook rooting against Atlanta? In late April, BetMGM took two huge futures bets on the Hawks. There was one $10,000 bet on the Hawks to win the East at +5000. That bet would win $500,000 if the Hawks can pull off another upset, this time against the Bucks.

And if the Hawks make it to the Finals, there is $1.5 million on the line thanks to a $10,000 bet on the Hawks to win it all at +15000.

“The Nets and Lakers getting knocked out of the NBA playoffs were a big win for BetMGM. The Hawks remain the sportsbook’s only liability on NBA Championship odds," said Jason Scott, the VP of Trading for BetMGM.

Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Atlanta Hawks' Trae Young plays during Game 7 in a second-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Huge bet comes in on Bucks

Despite that $10,000 bet, the Hawks have the lowest percentage of NBA championship tickets (3.8%) and money (2.7%) among the four teams remaining.

The Bucks, who have received 6.8% of the bets and 6% of the money, are the current betting favorites at +110. BetMGM received a $300,000 NBA title bet on the Bucks at +110 on Monday. The bet would win $330,000.

In the West, the Phoenix Suns have +170 odds to win it all. They have received 13.5% of the bets and 5.3% of the money. The Suns opened the season at +10000 to win the title. Their Western Conference finals opponents, the Los Angeles Clippers, have received 5.9% of the bets and 7.7% of the money. 

With Kawhi Leonard sidelined with a knee injury, the Clippers have +700 odds to win the title. The Suns won Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals 120-114 on Sunday.

The Bucks vs. Hawks series is set to begin on Wednesday night. 

Big conference finals bets

The Bucks and Suns are big favorites in their respective conference finals matchups. And both teams have received big bets to advance to the Finals at BetMGM.

One bettor put down $250,000 on the Bucks to beat the Hawks at -500 odds. Should the Bucks avoid the upset, the bettor would win $50,000.

The Hawks have +375 odds in the series and have received 67% of the series bets at BetMGM, however, those bets account for only 9% of the handle. The Bucks have received 33% of the bets and a whopping 91% of the money. That $250,000 bet obviously plays a big part in that.

Over in the West, one bettor wagered $225,000 on the Suns over the Clippers at -450. The Suns opened the series with -225 odds, but moved to -450 after winning Game 1. If the Suns win the series, the bettor would win $50,000.

The Clippers opened the series with +185 odds, but those have since dropped to +350.

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