Tiger Woods may be the most famous Orlando Magic fan in the country, but Richard Gardner probably wants them to win more. Gardner is manager of Bodog Sportsbook, and his company stands to lose nearly $400,000 if the Lakers win the NBA title.
The online sportsbook ran a promotion designed to slow the rush of people who were placing bets on the Lakers as the eventual champs. Anyone who bet on another team would get $50 back from Bodog if the Lakers wound up as the last team standing. The promotion proved popular, and Gardner told Darren Rovell of CNBC that the company stands to lose $394, 411.50 if Kobe and company can win two more games.
Although this seems like a scenario ripe for skullduggery to protect their coffers, Gardner sounds like a man resigned to losing that cash.
"Phil Jackson is 43-0 in the playoffs when his team starts the series with a 1-0 lead, which is an unenviable position to be if you play for the Orlando Magic or if you’re the Bodog Sportsbook," Gardner said. "We had over 8,000 players take us up on our pre-playoff promotion."
He's got good reason to feel queasy. You don't want to take anything away from a fine Magic effort, but when you shoot 62.5% and still have to sweat out the final moments of the game it doesn't bode well for the future. They probably won't shoot that well three more times. Even if they do, they'll need to repeat a strong defensive performance on Kobe Bryant and hope that the Lakers don't realize that Pau Gasol has been nearly impossible to stop on offense.
No, the only solace for Gardner and Bodog at this point may be that Rashard Lewis' meaningless free throws at the end of Tuesday's game meant the Lakers didn't cover. That's the nice thing about being a bookie, it isn't long before there's another chance to get even.