NBA Finals betting odds suggest sports books think Heat is better than Thunder

As soon as the Heat defeated the Celtics in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, many people wondered which team was going to be favored in the NBA Finals. Sports books quickly answered that question by installing the Thunder as the favorite.

But does that mean the oddsmakers believe the Thunder is the better team? Maybe not.

According to RJ Bell of Pregame.com, if oddsmakers believe two teams in a best of 7 playoff series are evenly matched, the odds would be -150 in favor of the team with home court advantage.

The Thunder opened as -135 favorites, meaning oddsmakers thought the Heat were slightly better. Bettors feel differently.

The public has been wagering on the Thunder, so the line has adjusted to -165 or -170 in many cases.

Now that we know what the oddsmakers and bettors think, it’s up to decide which side you knows more.

I think that the Thunder has the deeper and more complete team, but the Heat has the best players. If LeBron keeps playing like he did against the Pacers and Celtics, they’re going to win. Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh can help with strong play, but if LeBron continues to play determined ball, the Heat will win. I think it will be a seven-game series.

Photo Credit: Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE

One sports book refunded Manny Pacquiao bettors, others lost huge on fight (plus other funny betting business stories)

There was some funny betting going on for the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley fight on Saturday that won’t help decrease speculation that the fight was fixed.

RJ Bell of Pregame.com tells us that while most of the money came in on Pacquiao in the months leading up to the fight, big money came in on Bradley the day of the fight.

LBS insider Arsenious says the same thing, and tells us that the moneyline on Bradley plummeted from +475 to +300 in the final hour before the fight began. That means so much money came in on Bradley on Saturday, it lowered the payout odds on him to win the fight from 4.75:1 to 3:1.

Because of the big money that poured in on Bradley on Saturday, Las Vegas sports books lost big on the fight, per Bell. He tells us that one online sports book said it lost more on this fight than any other in its history.

We also have two other crazy betting stories from the fight.

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Peyton Manning’s over-under before being sidelined with injury is 8.5 games

The teams evaluating Peyton Manning during free agency weren’t the only people with questions about his durability — oddsmakers share the same concerns.

Peter Burns of AM 1510 in Denver points out that BetOnline.com listed the over-under for games Peyton Manning would play this season before being sidelined with an injury at 8.5.

Until last year, Manning had never missed an NFL game in his career. He also holds the second-longest consecutive starts streak in NFL history at 208. The 8.5 games number says an awful lot about how little faith there is from the sports book in Manning’s ability to stay healthy next season.

Likewise, BetOnline.com had a new prop bet concerning Peyton Manning up on their site a day later that also questioned his ability. They have his brother, Eli, favored to throw more touchdowns than him by 1.5.

Eli has never thrown more touchdown passes in a season than Peyton, though his career-high is 31, which is what Peyton averaged over his past five seasons.

Even though I think the Broncos’ signing of Manning was a worthwhile risk, I very much believe it is a risk. I don’t think Peyton will win another Super Bowl, and I don’t think he’ll be healthy enough to finish the season. We’ll see what happens.

Jeremy Shockey says he won $10k betting on Thunder in Game 3

Las Vegas oddsmakers had a lot of faith in the Oklahoma City Thunder for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday, and apparently so did Jeremy Shockey. The tight end claimed that he won $10k betting on the Thunder:

Talk is cheap, so folks told him to tweet a picture of his betting ticket Floyd Mayweather Jr.-style otherwise they didn’t want to hear it. Shockey failed to produce, probably because he’s on vacation after recently marrying his wife.

Whether you believe him is up to you, but we know people were surprised to see the Thunder favored by 4.5 points despite losing the first two games of the series to the Spurs which had won 20 straight games. While I thought giving 4.5 points was hefty, I knew the series wasn’t over after two games the way so many others felt. Things change in a big way when series switch to the other team’s home court.

H/T Hot Clicks

Former ESPN.com writer Sarah Phillips addresses allegations by Deadspin exposé

The Internet was set ablaze Tuesday following the release of Deadspin’s amazing exposé of now-former ESPN.com columnist Sarah Phillips and her alleged exploits as an online scammer.

We highly recommend you take time out to give the lengthy story a read. But, in short, the article chronicles her meteoric rise from gambling message board commenter to gambling columnist for Covers.com to columnist for ESPN.com in a span of just 13 months. Along the way, she allegedly used her employment with ESPN (her apparent good looks probably helped, too) to con people into investing in Web sites she was purportedly setting up — one about sports comedy, another about sports gambling — all under the too-familiar lofty assurances of a lucrative return on their investment.

Deadspin interviewed two people Phillips managed to dupe: “Ben,” whom Phillips recruited for her sports humor site and whose popular NBA Memes Facebook page was hijacked by Phillips and her shady associates; and Matt, whom Phillips coaxed into giving her thousands of dollars.

The story also raises questions about Phillips’ actual identity — Who is she? Is she who she says she is? Is her name actually Sarah Phillips? Is she the actual person she claims to be in photos? What’s more, is she even a she? (This issue on her identity first arose when, as a writer for Covers, photos purportedly of her were clearly of two different people.)

Those questions were exacerbated by the fact that nobody whom she worked for even bothered to meet with her in-person — only online correspondence and phone calls took place. Yep, you read that correctly. The World Wide Leader in Sports has hired people without meeting them.

ESPN terminated Phillips shortly after the story was published.

Deadspin’s initial report is only the tip of the iceberg. We’re still waiting for ESPN to comment. Meanwhile, there are still a lot of questions with no answer. Such as, who are Nilesh and Navin Prasad? Are they even real? Many enterprising hounds on Twitter have dug up bits of info, trying to piece together who exactly this woman is. And as those pieces come together, we’re starting to see just how crazy this person might be and how elaborate the scheme was.

LBS reached out to Phillips but she declined to comment at the moment. She did go on a Twitter binge Tuesday evening in an attempt to give her side of the story. Among other revelations, she admitted to “concealing” her identity and making “poor choices with who to trust.” Here are those tweets:

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College student reportedly bet $75 on Clippers comeback, won $41,000 (Picture)

The screenshot you see above was emailed to Barstool Sports by a reader. The emailer claims his friend bet around $25 to win over $13,000 when the Clippers were trailing the Grizzlies by 27 points in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Then, he claims his buddy threw another $50 down to win more than $27,000 after the Clippers sank a three-pointer right after he placed his initial bet. As we know, L.A. completed a ridiculous comeback and pulled off the Game 1 victory. Unless this is a photoshop scam, some kid won about $41,000 just screwing around and expecting to throw $75 away for no reason.

The friend also said the winner is about to graduate college, so he’s probably in for a decent amount of partying over the next week or so. Between this $41,000-winner and the gambler who allegedly won a similarly amazing amount of money over the weekend playing the ponies, I’m starting to think I’m in the wrong business.

H/T Deadspin

Kentucky woman wins $63,000 after 10-cent bet at racetrack

Sometimes you can bet on VCU going all the way in the NCAA Tournament only for it to blow up in your face. Other times you can make a small wager on the first score in the Super Bowl being a safety and end up winning big.

That’s the beauty of betting on long shots. No matter how badly the odds aren’t in your favor, you always have a chance. And a small bet on your part could end up making you look like a genius.

That’s exactly the lesson learned by an insanely lucky Kentucky woman, who is now reportedly $63,000 richer after winning big on a petty 10-cent bet at a New Mexico horse racetrack. From WLKY.com:

72-year-old Julia Kring, of Frankfort, Ky., won the bet last week when she hit the Solo Pick 6 at Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino. Kring had placed her bet through TwinSpires.com.

Kring said she saw an ad for the Sunland Pick 6 and decided to take a chance on that racetrack that day.

“I spent a lot of time studying, but it was all luck,” she told the El Paso Times. “I was fortunate to hit the Pick 6, but I’ll take it. It was an exciting day for me. I love trying to figure out a race. There are so many things to figure out and try to pick a winner. Racing is my passion.”

Big congrats to Julia on what we hope was a totally legitimate win and not the indication of 2012 branching off into Alternate 2012.

H/T Sports by Brooks Live
Photo credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE