Warriors bettors cash in early at Golden Nugget

Updated May 14, 2018 - 7:39 pm

At first glance, it might appear that the Golden Nugget sports book pulled a Paddy Power in paying out bets early on the Golden State Warriors to win the Western Conference before their series started Monday against the Houston Rockets.

Paddy Power is the Irish bookmaker that in October 2016 paid out $992,528 early to bettors who’d wagered on Hillary Clinton to win the U.S. presidential election.

But unlike Paddy Power, which was on the hook for an additional $4.96 million when Donald Trump upset Clinton, the Golden Nugget won’t pay out a penny if the Rockets upset the Warriors.

That’s because the downtown Las Vegas casino hasn’t taken any futures or single-game wagers involving Houston since Golden Nugget owner Tilman Fertitta purchased the Rockets for a record $2.2 billion in September.

With Houston off the board, the Golden Nugget reposted odds on the team to “finish best” in the West and the NBA Finals. Without the Rockets to contend with, the Warriors were such a prohibitive favorite at the Nugget to win the conference that they were eventually taken off the board.

Golden State bettors can cash their tickets even if the Warriors lose the series to Houston.

Likewise, if the Rockets advance to the NBA Finals, their opponent from the East — either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Boston Celtics — will be graded the winner before the series starts.

Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller is on vacation and couldn’t be reached for comment. But he said Friday on VSiN that “It’s crazy. Two great teams in the Western Conference finals, and we’re doing more explaining every day than anything else.”

Celtics back on board at Caesars

There is precedent in Las Vegas regarding conflicts of interest between casino owners who also own a major pro sports team.

For the past 12 years, Caesars Palace sports book couldn’t accept wagers on the Boston Celtics because former Caesars Entertainment Corp. Chairman Gary Loveman owned a minority stake in the NBA team.

SHORT DESCRIPTION (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Caesars also took bets on which team would finish best besides Boston in the East and in the NBA Finals.

But Loveman and Caesars parted ways in October. On April 26, Caesars Entertainment properties started accepting wagers again on the Celtics.

“It’s definitely nice to be taking action on the Celtics,” Caesars Palace sports book director Frank Kunovic said. “Our handle’s definitely increasing now.”

Bettors still believe in Cleveland

Despite the Cavaliers losing Game 1 of the East Finals to the Celtics by 25 points, bettors are still backing Cleveland to win the series at adjusted odds of minus 125 at the Westgate sports book.

“That’s all they’re betting,” Westgate sports book manager Jeff Sherman said. “They figure they were laying (minus) 330 (before the series) and now it’s (minus) 125. There’s just so much belief in LeBron through the years.”

U.S. Open adjusted odds

Sherman moved Webb Simpson’s odds to win the U.S. Open from 125-1 to 60-1 after he won The Players Championship on Sunday with an 18-under par 270 (66-63-68-73). He also moved Tiger Woods’ U.S. Open odds from 25-1 to 20-1 after he finished The Players with rounds of 65 and 69.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow

@tdewey33 on Twitter.

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