Bettors who took the Miami Heat to win the Eastern Conference probably felt like they actually played a seven-game series by the time the Heat won that bet.
It took a long time and a lot of ups and downs for the Heat to finally cash the series tickets. Imagine having a six-figure win riding on the outcome.
Before the Eastern Conference finals started, a large bet came in on the Heat at BetMGM. It was a $25,000 bet at 4-to-1 odds.
👀 Big bet on the line in Game 7 👀
Before Game 1 of the Conference Finals, one bettor placed $25,000 on Miami to win the East (+400) …
The bet would pay out $125,000 if the Heat can come through tonight 💰 pic.twitter.com/2twPgQ783j
— BetMGM 🦁 (@BetMGM) May 29, 2023
Here's the roller coaster for that $25,000 bettor and everyone else who backed the Heat in the series:
• The Heat won the first two games in Boston, both as big underdogs. In Game 2 they had a big rally at the end, fueled by Jimmy Butler after Celtics forward Grant Williams riled him up. Even after that start, the Heat were no lock to win the series. The Celtics were favored in Game 3. But the +400 tickets were aging very well.
• The Heat won Game 3 and everyone heard the stat repeatedly: NBA teams up 3-0 in a series were 150-0 in those series, including the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals. You won't have too many 4-to-1 bets that have a 150-for-150 history.
Then the Celtics won Game 4. There were shades of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, the only MLB team to come back from a 3-0 series deficit. The Heat lost big in Game 5. Uh oh.
• Game 6 will be remembered for a long time. The Heat looked like they had a win and the series when Butler hit three free throws with three seconds left. Then Derrick White tipped in a missed shot at the buzzer for a Celtics win. The big bettor was less than a second from winning $100,000. After the loss, the Heat had to go to Boston and win for a third time. The Celtics were favored by 7.5 points for Game 7. A +400 ticket that looked like a near lock was an underdog again. All because nobody boxed out White.
• The Heat took advantage of a slow shooting start from Boston in Game 7 and blew out the Celtics. Bad beats are hard to define. But ask any Heat series bettor, and failing to cash a 4-to-1 ticket after being up 3-0 in the series, when the first 150 NBA teams in that situation closed out the series, and they would have gladly told you their bad beat story. Especially with a $100,000 win on the line. A disaster was averted thanks to what has to be called a Celtics choke job. Finally Heat bettors had their win.
The Heat deserve credit for winning the series as big underdogs. They've been great in the playoffs, making the NBA Finals as a No. 8 seed. They're big underdogs again in the NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets. Maybe bettors will take some of the Heat winnings from the last series and put it on Miami +300. If they have any energy left.