NBA Betting Has ‘Been Crazy’ with Big Bets, Big Upsets

Posted on: September 4, 2020, 08:13h. 

Last updated on: September 4, 2020, 09:37h.

The NBA playoffs have been incredible for one bettor in Las Vegas. And so has the action at sportsbooks.

Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo and Heat Jimmy Butler
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) pressures Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler during Game 2 of their series. (Image: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

After placing a $300,000 bet on Denver to beat Utah in Game 6 and earning a $390,000 profit, the bettor returned to William Hill and bet $550,000 on Denver to win Game 7. When the Nuggets escaped at the buzzer, he pocketed another $500,000.

I’ve been doing this for a long, long time. Big bets are just hit or miss. Sometimes, they come in flurries. Sometimes, they won’t come in seven months,” said Nick Bogdanovich, the director of trading at William Hill, to

“He is a regular player for us and he bets high, though he usually doesn’t bet that high,” Bogdanovich continued. “He obviously had a good feeling on the Nuggets getting the job done. That went right down to the wire, so that was an incredible finish.”

Bucks on the Ropes

The second round of the playoffs is underway and a big upset is brewing.

For most of the season, the NBA has been seen as a three-team race between the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Milwaukee Bucks.

However, the Bucks — who finished with the league’s best regular-season record — are staring at a 2-0 deficit in their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Miami Heat.

“The Heat, for whatever reason, have their number,” Bogdanovich said. “Obviously, tonight’s a must-win. If they can flip it, they can get back in it and get rolling. I’ll tell you one thing: It’s all on the line tonight, that’s for sure.”

The Bucks are a 5.5-point favorite in Game 3. But Miami is the new series favorite at -160.

NBA Dominating at Sportsbooks

While the politicization of the NBA has ruffled some feathers, the action has been running hot at sportsbooks.

“The NBA is the star of the show,” Bogdanovich told “Every league’s being bet well, but the handle on the NBA games is just through the roof. They’re really incredible. Hockey’s been good. But the Las Vegas Golden Knights being in it draws a lot of people to the hockey, and baseball’s rock solid. But the NBA’s been the leader of the handle. It’s been crazy.”

Entering Friday, No. 5 Miami leads No. 1 Milwaukee 2-0, and No. 3 Boston leads No. 2 Toronto 2-1 in the East. In the West, the No. 2 Clippers lead No. 3 Denver 1-0, and the series between the No. 1 Lakers and No. 4 Houston will begin Friday night.

Here are the latest championship odds from William Hill:

  • Los Angeles Clippers: +230
  • Los Angeles Lakers: +260
  • Boston Celtics: +600
  • Miami Heat: +700
  • Milwaukee Bucks: +700
  • Houston Rockets: +1,200
  • Toronto Raptors: +1,400
  • Denver Nuggets: +6,000

With either the Lakers or Clippers expected to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals, the Finals MVP odds have an L.A. vibe. At DraftKings, the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard is the favorite at +250, followed by the Lakers’ LeBron James at +390. Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the presumed NBA MVP, is a distant third at +700.