Sports Biz with Darren Rovell

NBA Finals Could Be Another Losing Bet For Vegas

Sam Cassell

There are many nervous bookmakers in Las Vegas this morning. Sam Cassell, the ultimate team player, is reportedly a member of the Boston Celtics. As if this team needed any help.

Why no love for the green team from Beantown? Because when they look at the Celtics, they only see red--as in a financial loss.

That's not good considering the folks in Vegas are coming off a $2.6 million loss from the Super Bowl shocker. It was only the second time Vegas has lost money on the game--they lost $400,000 in 1995.

Here's the deal. When the lines were set before the season started, Some bookmakers had the Celtics as high as 70-to-1 (Internet sites apparently reached 100-to-1). As I've come to learn, this is about as much of a longshot as a big city team can be.

You see, No matter how bad a team is, bookmakers are keen to limit their exposure of teams that figure to get action every year. The Celtics are one of those teams.

Then came Kevin Garnett and the odds plummeted. As of last night, before any factoring of Cassell occurred, the Celtics were at 5-to-2 odds to win it all. And if the NBA finals are a rematch of the Celtics-Lakers, which is clearly a possibility given Kobe's scoring and a return of Andrew Bynum, then there's no team that can bail out the folks in Vegas.

The rekindling of a rivalry that started to fizzle after the two last played in the finals 21 years ago is not ideal, to say the least.

The Lakers, who opened at 30-to-1 are now at 3-to-1.

Questions?  Comments?