The Betting Fallout of the Missed James Harden Dunk Call: Will Sportsbooks Re-Grade Your Bets?

The Betting Fallout of the Missed James Harden Dunk Call: Will Sportsbooks Re-Grade Your Bets? article feature image
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Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Harden

The Houston Rockets’ protest of Tuesday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs, based on a James Harden dunk that was recorded as a miss, received mixed reaction from sportsbooks throughout the nation.

One sportsbook, FanDuel, has already refunded all moneyline bets that were made online in New Jersey, West Virginia, Indiana and Pennsylvania. The book says that the refunds cost approximately $20,000.

Other sportsbooks aren’t taking the same approach, choosing to let all pregame spread (Rockets -7) and moneyline bets stand as is.

“It’s simple,” said the SuperBook’s Jeff Sherman. “We do not recognize overturned decisions after close of business. Wagers are graded based on yesterday’s results. Spurs win 135-133. End of story.”

Sherman pointed to Rule 2 of its sportsbook, which states “the winner of an event or game is determined on the date of event’s conclusion according to house wagering rules and regulations. The SuperBook does not recognize suspended games, protests, overturned decisions, etc. for wagering purposes.”

DraftKings oddsmaker Johnny Avello said he was intrigued by the logic behind the Rockets’ protest — that since the call was missed with 7:50 remaining in the fourth quarter all other events after that should be null — but ultimately said his sportsbook wouldn’t be on the hook.

“It’s hard to have any consideration for this since it wasn’t the last play of the game,” Avello said. “There are 150 or more actions that took place after the missed dunk, so we’re not even talking about it.”

PointsBet in New Jersey has made a reputation of giving customers money back if it’s a bad beat. The company calls this a Good Karma Payout.

“We’ve certainly been aggressive and proactive with our Good Karma Payouts, but this is an example of context and circumstance being key,” said PointsBet’s Matt Chaprales. “There’s no disputing it was an egregious blown call, but the Rockets were up 13 at the time and actually extended their lead to 16 a few possessions later. In other words, their ensuing collapse was independent of the missed call. That’s not to say we didn’t consider it, but the decision in this case was that the Rockets ultimately sealed their own fate.”

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