Turns out the house doesn’t always win, as a few bettors with quick fingers bilked online sportsbooks for a sum reportedly in the millions Sunday, when the Warriors announced Draymond Green would only play for a few seconds.  

Golden State Warriors fans will remember Sunday night’s game as the long-awaited return of Klay Thompson from an ACL injury. And lordy, were those fans rewarded when Thompson executed a thunderous dunk over two Cleveland Cavaliers in an eventual 96-82 win.

But online gambling enthusiasts will remember that game for a dunk on the online casinos and sportsbooks. Some bettors performed a quick-witted gaming of the system that ESPN reports cost the casinos a sum that “climbed into the seven figures.”

These bettors did not win by picking the Warriors to win, instead, they exploited “prop bets.” Anyone who’s suffered through the 2019 Adam Sandler film Uncut Gems is familiar with these side bets, which allow you to wager on who will score first, whether a certain player will score over/under a certain total, or whether whomever singing the National Anthem makes it take longer than two minutes. These prop bets are an excellent way to separate gambling addicts from their money.

Unless the gamblers have “inside information,” which kind of happened on Sunday. Nine minutes before tip-off, the Warriors officially tweeted that “Draymond Green will be on the court for the opening tip-off to honor Klay Thompson but will not participate in the remainder of the game.” And indeed, Green was pulled from the game after seven seconds, following his ceremonial appearance to welcome Thompson back.  

The sportsbooks generally had Green’s point total over/under at 7.5 points, and his rebound over/under at 8.5 rebounds. People who’d already bet were instantly screwed, and hey, that’s just gambling. But some clever bettors used those nine minutes to take the under, and the online casinos and sportsbooks got played for millions.

Most of them have done the right thing and honored the bets, and even reimbursed those who’d bet the over and got soaked. The last holdout was DraftKings, who’d frozen bettors accounts pending an “investigation” into the matter,  but Action Network reports they bit the bullet and just paid out everyone late Tuesday.  

These are understandable quirks we are going to see as online gambling becomes (disgustingly) normalized. The real trouble comes when we learn that players and refs are throwing games purposefully to win money, which has totally happened in the not-too distant past, and that’s when we really learn how online gambling is destroying the integrity of sports.

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Image: PHOENIX, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 25: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors reacts after a three-point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the second half of NBA game at Footprint Center on December 25, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Warriors defeated the Suns 116-107.