How’s this for the opposite of a bad beat?
As part of a promotion to celebrate the launch of their online sportsbook’s availability in Illinois, DraftKings had a special offer for new customers in the Land of Lincoln on Monday night: bet up to $50 on the Lakers at -110, and the line would have the Lakers as 81-point underdogs.
That was literally a slam dunk, as the largest margin of victory in NBA history is 68 points – a 148-80 Cleveland win over Miami in 1991 – but the number had significance: it was a promotion on 8/24 and 81 is the career high point total of Kobe Bryant, who wore Nos. 8 and 24 for the Lakers.
As you might expect, Illinois took advantage, with Darren Rovell reporting that after the Lakers won by 20 – and really, they could’ve lost by anything less than 100 and paid out – DraftKings paid out more than $1 million in winnings. Not a large payout per person, as even the max $50 at -110 odds is a total payout of $95 (the initial wager, plus $45 for the win), but clearly, Illinois listened.
Of course, DraftKings, which presents WFAN’s new “Odds on Sports” show hosted by John Jastremski, can look at that promotion as both free publicity and a loss leader. And it’s certainly outlandish, as JJ has mentioned on his first five shows how the Lakers’ line as series favorites has gone from a dip of -240 after they lost Game 2 to more than -1000 before Game 4 to now unavailable as the Lakers lead three games to 1.
DraftKings was able to recently launch in Illinois thanks to a partnership deal with Casino Queen in East St. Louis, Illinois, finally getting onto the betting scene in that state after the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the possibility in march right as it was about to become legal.