Five Points in Last Second Cost Basketball Bettor 40-Fold Profit
The exuberance of Iona College’s basketball team caused Chris Lawless to miss out on a $1,600 profit from a $40 wager.
Lawless, 53, bet on the Gaels as a four-point favorite over Manhattan College as part of a six-game parlay two nights ago. With victory seemingly in hand, he said he watched Iona’s eight- point lead with one second remaining turn into a three-point victory from his sofa in Las Vegas.
“It was such disbelief that I couldn’t speak,” he said. “My heart just sank.”
Iona, which won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title and secured the league’s automatic berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament with the win, opened a 60-52 lead with six seconds remaining.
Manhattan took what seemed to be the final shot, a three- pointer that went in with 0.1 seconds left to bring the score to 60-55. Gaels players rushed the court to celebrate, and referees called a technical foul because the game hadn’t ended. Manhattan guard Donovan Kates hit both free throws to make it 60-57, before Iona inbounded the ball as time expired.
“It’s hard to fathom a less likely outcome, a worse beat,” RJ Bell, founder and chief executive of sports handicapping website Pregame.com, said in a telephone interview. “If you literally let your imagination be your limitation, how could it be worse?”
Bell said it was the fourth most-bet game of the night, with about 70 percent of those point-spread bets on Iona. He was unable to say the total amount wagered, whether Lawless was the biggest loser or if other bettors were left in the same position.
Lawless, who moved to Las Vegas from Houston five months ago and is between jobs in the club business, said it wasn’t the biggest loss in his 36 years of sports betting, but it was the most painful. He posted a picture of his betting slip on Twitter.
He said he bets a “few hundred dollars” a day on mostly basketball, football and baseball and he’s ahead about $7,000 in sports betting in those five months.
Four of the games in Lawless’s parlay, placed at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa, were over before the end of the Iona game, he said. The fifth bet, for top-ranked Gonzaga to beat St. Mary’s by more than six points, was all but assured as the Bulldogs held a double-digit lead for almost the entire second half.
He said the loss won’t prevent him from wagering again.
“I can’t let one little fluke loss deter me,” he said. “Five points in the final 0.1 seconds? You’ll never see that again.”
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