Why Many Sportsbooks Are Thrilled With Clippers’ Loss to Nuggets

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Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images.

Sep 16, 2020, 02:54 PM EDT

The Los Angeles Clippers blowing a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets and falling well short of the franchise’s first NBA title helped many sportsbooks.

Futures bettors couldn’t get enough of L.A. after Kawhi Leonard signed last summer. The Clips dropped from around 12-1 to 3-1 to win the title upon his arrival, and entered the restart at around 3-1, as well.

One of the books breathing the biggest sighs of relief was BetMGM. While the Los Angeles Lakers made up more of the futures business on tickets — 21.3% vs. the Clippers 13.6% — the money on the Clippers made up 38.6% of the book’s futures business compared to 21.2% for the Lakers.

“The Clippers winning the title would have been a six-figure loss for our book,” said BetMGM spokesperson Elisa Richardson.

Liability on Clippers became 47 times greater after Kawhi signed in free agency, Richardson said.

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How affected sportsbooks were on the Clippers had a lot to do with how active they were taking bets during free agency.

PointsBet was aggressive taking futures bets last July and the Clippers represented their largest liability in the Western Conference by a decent margin as both Paul George and Leonard joined Los Angeles.

On the flip side, the SuperBook at the Westgate in Las Vegas didn’t take bets during free agency, and rolled out the Clippers out with short odds after George and Leonard were official.

“When we put them on the board, we had them as the No. 1 power-rated team in the league,” said Superbook bookmaker Jeff Sherman. “We had the Lakers at 5-1 after they landed Anthony Davis and bettors loved them much more.”

The Boston Celtics, who are down 1-0 to the Miami Heat, remain a significant liability. The Nuggets are relatively insignificant, while the Lakers winning it all would represent a six-figure win for MGM, Richardson said.

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