Betting on sports isn’t always the most fun time in the world. It can get frustrating, aggravating, and downright sad. However, there are some communal moments that can make it all worth it. Whether you’re on the winning side or the losing side, having just a few friends or thousands of internet strangers to celebrate or commiserate with enhances the experience. We had one of those moments last night in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
With the Heat trailing the Lakers two games to one and making a push to even the series, the game was competitive throughout. Late in the fourth quarter, the Lakers finally pulled away with two clutch baskets by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and a dagger three by Anthony Davis to go ahead by nine. That shot by Davis was especially big for gamblers because of the 7.5-point spread on the game.
What happened next had to be one of the most thrilling back-and-forth sequences in wagering history. First, Jimmy Butler dunked the ball to pull Miami back within seven. With 25 seconds left, the Lakers threw the ball away to give the Heat a chance to get even closer, but Davis made another huge play by cleanly blocking Butler’s layup attempt. The Lakers then appeared set to dribble out the clock, but Duncan Robinson ran over and fouled LeBron James to give the Heat one more chance to cover the spread.
James hit both free throws to put the game away, but Miami wasn’t done yet. The Heat ran a little double screen hand-off for Tyler Herro and he fired a three-point shot over Anthony Davis with three seconds to play.
The only thing missing for one of the most pivotal shots in NBA history was the signature Mike Breen “BANG!” Give us a little something, Mike! Even though you couldn’t tell the significance of Herro’s shot from the television coverage, Twitter was a different story, with bettors exploding with either glee or devastation.
Felt like Stu was asking for that one, but he’ll be okay. Gambling is weird sometimes because many people like Stu would just go about their business if the actual basketball game was close (hey, that’s what moneyline bets are for), but in a nine-point game that was essentially over, people were losing their minds.
Meanwhile, there was a lot of baseball action on yesterday with all over four Division Series in action. In fact, it was sometimes hard to concentrate on the NBA Finals with all the Yankee fans on social media complaining about the team’s pitching management strategy. Wunderkind right-hander Deivi Garcia was slated to make the start, but he was lifted after just one inning and one Randy Arozarena solo home run, apparently due to some scheme by the front office to have J.A. Happ piggyback beginning in the second inning.
That didn’t work out great. During the next two innings, Happ allowed four runs on home runs by Mike Zunino and Manuel Margot to put the Yankees in a 5-1 hole. Giancarlo Stanton stayed hotter than a Flamin’ Hot Cheeto, but it wasn’t enough to bring the Bombers back.
The bullpen combination of Diego Castillo, Nick Anderson, and Peter Fairbanks held the Yankees in check and Tampa Bay evened the series at 1-1 with a 7-5 victory. Elsewhere in baseball:
The Dodgers were held without a hit by the Padres for the first five innings, but they scored on an error in the fifth and rallied past San Diego with four runs in the sixth to claim a 5-1 victory in Game 1 of the NLDS.
The underdog Marlins led for a good chunk of their Game 1 against Atlanta, but Travis d’Arnaud led the Braves back with three hits, including a three-run bomb to break a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning. Atlanta scored six runs in the frame and cruised to a 9-5 win.
Houston didn’t have the most spectacular regular season, but its redemption tour is now in full swing and just one win away from a return to the ALCS. A great pitching performance by Framber Valdez and two home runs by George Springer paced the Astros to a 5-2 win over Oakland in Game 2.
Thanks to MLB’s no-days-off schedule at neutral stadiums, we’ve got all four Division Series back in Action on Wednesday. I can’t wait to hear everyone complain about Carlos Correa if the Astros pull off a fifth straight postseason win.