Las Vegas sportsbook weren’t dancing on the sidelines like LeBron James, but the Miami Heat’s NBA Championship run has given them a payday to be proud of.
The majority of Las Vegas shops made a solid profit off the Heat’s title and the NBA futures odds, thanks in part to the short odds Miami was tagged with all season. The Heat entered the lockout-shortened schedule as +250 favorites, bouncing between +160 and +200 through the year.
“We ended up OK. We would have won a little bit more on the Thunder,” Jimmy Vaccaro, director of sports operations at Lucky's Race and Sports Book, told Covers
. “Anytime you have the overall favorite win, you’re at least breaking even or getting a small profit.”
At the MGM properties, the sportsbook was rooting for Miami over Oklahoma City with some heavier futures money riding on the Thunder.
According to Craig Sasamura, sports and race book supervisor, the profit would have been greater if not for the Heat’s Game 1 loss in Chesapeake Energy Arena. Miami moved from +165 to +210 after falling behind 0-1 to OKC and futures bettors grabbed the eventual champs at the discount price.
“It’s good but not as good as it should have been,” Sasamura told Covers
. “People saw a lot of value and took the Heat to win the series and the title at those prices.”
While the Heat weren’t the best result for books, they were a much better finish than some of the other contenders for the NBA title. The San Antonio Spurs and Boston Celtics, two teams which opened the year with big odds, took a lot of action in the second half of the season when they went on solid runs heading into the playoffs.
“We got a lot of help when the Spurs got knocked off,” says Vaccaro. “The Celtics too had a lot riding on them.”
The Los Angeles Clippers were another team that worried sportsbooks. Bettors grabbed Los Angeles at +7,500 just before they acquired All-Star guard Chris Paul to go along with budding superstar Blake Griffin. The Clippers bowed out in the Spurs in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
Oddsmakers promptly opened Miami as the overall favorite to win the 2012-13 NBA Championship, priced the defending champs around +250. The Thunder are right next to them, between +250 and +500, while the Chicago Bulls, Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers also among the favorites.
As for the overall handle for the NBA playoffs, Vaccaro was very pleased with the results, siting some bigger decisions and smaller losses throughout the postseason.
"Everything worked out relatively well, it was a great tournament," he says. "Overall, it was one of the better handles I've seen in the past 15 years."Follow Jason Logan on Twitter @CoversJLo