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Nevada books took historic NBA playoff losses in May

By Matt Youmans  (VSiN senior editor) 

June 29, 2017 09:17 AM
Bettors profited by backing LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who went 8-1 straight up and 6-2-1 against the spread in playoff games in May.
© USA Today Sports Images

Sometimes, when bookmakers claim they are getting hammered by the bettors, it’s no exaggeration. The recent NBA playoffs will go down in the history books as an example.

Nevada sports books lost $4.4 million on a basketball wagering handle of $96.2 million in May, the largest one-month basketball loss in state history.

“Obviously, the public was hammering the favorites and overs in the month of May and really taking the books out to the proverbial woodshed,” said Michael Lawton, senior research analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, which released the figures Thursday.

The state’s previous worst loss in basketball was $3.5 million in April 1997.

The bettors beat up the books primarily by playing favorites, with the Golden State Warriors running through the Western Conference while the Cleveland Cavaliers coasted through the East.

“The Warriors and Cavs covered everything,” Lawton said.

Almost everything. The Warriors went 8-0 straight up and 5-3 against the spread in May, with a 6-2 record over the total. The Cavaliers went 8-1 straight up and 6-2-1 ATS, with a 6-3 record over the total.

But the books still won $2.9 million overall in May, mostly because baseball betting provided a bailout.

Nevada’s books won $6.6 million on the month’s baseball handle of $173.6 million. In April, the books held $10.2 million on a handle of $119.5 million, marking the third-highest monthly win for baseball in state history.

The Nevada gaming report for May:

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