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Bettors burying Las Vegas sports books in May

The month of May has Nevada’s sports books calling mayday.

The betting public has been riding a wave of winning favorite-and-over parlays in the NBA playoffs led by the Warriors and Cavaliers. A Golden State-and-over parlay hit for the third straight game in the Western Conference finals Monday and fourth time in five Warriors games as they covered the 11½-point spread and the total flew over 219 in their 129-115 win over the Spurs.

“The overall month has got to be one of the worst Mays we’ve encountered,” Westgate sports book director Jay Kornegay said. “It’d be really nice to have some more upsets.”

The Celtics, coming off a 44-point home loss to Cleveland and playing without injured star Isaiah Thomas, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in NBA playoff history Sunday when they erased a 21-point second-half deficit in a 111-108 road win over the Cavaliers.

Boston, which won on Avery Bradley’s 3-pointer with 0.1 seconds left, closed as 16½-point underdogs. Despite the stunning result, most books lost on the game as bettors backed the Celtics on the money line at odds ranging from 15-1 to 18-1.

One William Hill bettor at Casino Valle Verde in Henderson won $17,000 after wagering $1,000 on Boston at 17-1 odds. A CG Technology bettor won $7,200 after wagering $480 on the Celtics at 15-1 and the book joined others around town in paying out a total of more than $50,000 on Boston money-line bets.

“We took it on the chin with Boston winning outright,” said Michael Grodsky, William Hill’s marketing director.

The Celtics were as high as 22-1 on in-play wagering at William Hill, which took 10 bets at those odds, including one for $100.

Kornegay compared the action to a boxing match in which Mike Tyson or Floyd Mayweather Jr. was a heavy favorite.

“Hardly any money comes in on the huge favorite but you do get an accumulation of smaller tickets on the underdog,” he said. “That low-risk, high-reward scenario is very attractive to a lot of people.”

Playoffs perplex Vaccaro

Boston’s upset is an aberration in a postseason otherwise marked by blowouts. Golden State and Cleveland are a combined 22-1 straight-up, 14-7-2 against the spread and 17-6 on over-unders.

“Kid, I’ve been doing this all my life. I have never seen anything like I’ve seen in these NBA playoffs,” South Point oddsmaker Jimmy Vaccaro said. “I’ve never seen the total domination in some of these games. Then you run into a game like (Sunday) where the Cavs are up 21 points. Forget about covering, but losing the game?

“If you can tell me what’s going on, you’re a million times smarter than me. Because I have no idea.”

NBA Finals odds

Sunday’s upset didn’t move the needle on the NBA Finals series odds at South Point on the expected matchup between the Warriors and Cavaliers. If both teams advance, Golden State is a minus-240 favorite and Cleveland is a plus-200 underdog.

The price also remained the same Monday on the South Point prop bet, “Will the Warriors go 16-0 during the playoffs?” No is minus-1,100. Yes is plus-700.

Over and over again

The totals have been flying over in the NBA playoffs. San Antonio went over in 13 of its 16 games, Golden State has gone over in nine of 12, Cleveland in eight of 11 and the Celtics have gone over in seven of their last 10.

“It’s such a wide-open game. They’re running up and down the court so fast,” Vaccaro said. “You can go blank for two minutes, then score 17 in two and a half minutes.”

The dean of Las Vegas oddsmakers, Vaccaro is taking the losses in stride.

“That’s the way it goes sometimes,” he said. “I would never worry about bookmakers. They seem to survive.”

More Betting: Follow all of our sports betting coverage online at reviewjournal.com/betting and @RJ_Sports on Twitter.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com or 702-266-6080. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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