Either way, when Murray pulled up before the buzzer Sunday night against the Utah Jazz and sank a 3-pointer that couldn’t have changed the game’s final result, BetMGM cringed and one bettor had the type of positive swing that very few of us will ever experience.
Murray’s 3 made the final score a 129-127 Jazz win. The shot changed the point-spread outcome from the Jazz covering the 3.5-point spread to the Nuggets covering.
To some, the shot was anything but meaningless.
Jamal Murray hits a 3 at the buzzer
Murray and Donovan Mitchell had a great battle as the Jazz and Nuggets played a tight game. The Jazz took a late lead and were icing the game — and presumably the cover — at the free-throw line.
Murray, who had a Nuggets playoff record 47 points, could have dribbled out the clock. There was no 5-point shot to tie the game. But this happened:
If you had Jazz -3.5 we are here for you... 😭pic.twitter.com/J8R32Rlswf— Yahoo Sportsbook (@YahooSportsbook) August 24, 2020
The Jazz didn’t care. They celebrated the win and a 3-1 series lead. The Nuggets didn’t care. It was a loss, and it’s not like Murray was going to be thrilled about a 50-point game in defeat.
But someone who bet heavily on the Nuggets cared. So did MGM.
One bettor won big on Murray’s shot
According to Elisa Richardson, head of communications and public relations at BetMGM, one client had two big bets on the Nuggets at +3.5. One was a $55,000 bet at -110 odds and the other was a $60,000 bet at -120 odds.
That bettor was looking at losing $115,000. Murray’s shot changed the loss to a $100,000 win. That $215,000 swing is inconceivable to most bettors. And surely there were plenty of people with Jazz tickets who were beside themselves, although probably not invested for six figures.
Murray’s shot might not go down in gambling lore like Chris Duhon, the Duke guard who sunk a long and meaningless 3 in a Final Four game to cover against UConn in 2004, shifting who covered the spread. Millions of dollars changed hands on that shot. There wasn’t quite the volume of bets on a first-round NBA playoff game but for some bettors, the feeling was the same.
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