MNF debacle had 300M impact on gamblers

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MNF debacle had 300M impact on gamblers

From Comcast SportsNetLAS VEGAS (AP) -- Las Vegas oddsmakers say 300 million or more changed hands worldwide on a controversial referee call that decided the Monday Night Football game between the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks.Sports book chief Jay Kornegay said Tuesday that bettors at The LVH casino registered shock, some celebration, then anger when the outcome swung the game in favor of Seahawks bettors."We've seen regular refs blow calls. That's always been part of the sport," Kornegay said. "But this one was just a blatant bad call at the end of the game that decided the outcome of the game."The Seahawks won 14-12 after referees ruled that Seattle receiver Golden Tate came down with the ball in a pile of bodies in the end zone after a Hail Mary pass on the play's last game.The Glantz-Culver line for the game opened favoring the Packers by 4. Had the final play been ruled an interception -- as many players, analysts and fans believed was the right call -- Green Bay would have won by 5 points.The officials ruled on the field that Tate had simultaneous possession with Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings, which counts as a reception. The NFL upheld the call on Tuesday."I'm not complaining, but it did feel a little dirty," said Wesley Wong, 25, of Toronto, who said he had a combined 1,000 on the game on wagers on Seattle and a low scoring total.Gambling expert RJ Bell of Las Vegas-based Pregame.com said an estimated two-thirds of bets worldwide were on the Packers, with about 150 million more bet on Green Bay than Seattle."Due to one call by the replacement refs, the bettors lost 150 million, and the bookie won 150 million for a total swing of 300 million on one debatably bad call," Bell said.Mike Colbert, head oddsmaker for Cantor Gaming, which runs seven sports books in Las Vegas and provides betting lines to 90 percent of Nevada's casinos, said Cantor's books took in about 20 percent more money in bets than usual for a Monday night game after a wild weekend.Wong said he made a last-minute parlay bet on Seattle and the under to try to make up for losses on Sunday.Colbert said that as an NFL fan, he felt for bettors who lost because of the play even though his sports books won money."When everything went down, I gotta tell you, I was absolutely sick to my stomach," Colbert said.Casinos had already begun to react to replacement officials before Week 3 began, predicting the most scoring ever across the league.Now, adjustments for replacement referees that were only talked about previously are being factored into betting lines, Colbert said."We've seen it now," Colbert said. "If we do see trends and we see bets, we'll move more aggressively than we did in the past."Teams normally get a 3-point edge factored into the line when they play at home. That home edge could be worth a half-point more with games refereed by replacement officials, depending on the game, Colbert said. Colbert said he believed the Monday night referees got caught up in the excitement of Seattle's home crowd."I'd be willing to make a big bet that if that game is in Green Bay, that play is overturned and they win it," he said.Bettors are also reacting. Wong said he's wagering 20 percent less on NFL games than usual because of the unpredictability of the referees and other factors. He said his friends are cutting their bets in half or talking about avoiding NFL wagers for a few weeks if the replacement officials stay in."I'm willing to put less at risk at this point," Wong said. "I'm not motivated to put that much on the table."Johnny Avello, race and sports director at the Wynn Las Vegas hotel-casino, said plays -- and mistakes -- happen each week throughout the year that decide the outcomes of bets. But this moment was magnified, he said, because it happened at the end of the game and the call single-handedly decided the outcome."If you're a bettor, it's going to be hard to get over," he said. "Some may back off, and that's yet to be seen."

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

Horford admits he was 'very emotional' after 'special' win

CLEVELAND – For about 30 or so seconds following Boston’s 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland, Al Horford was not Al Horford.

He’s a passionate player, but seldom is it on display in as outwardly a fashion as it was following their Game 3 victory.

In an interview with CSN’s Abby Chin after the game, Horford tried to put into words what the victory meant.

But the aggressive high-fives to teammates passing him by, the intense way he looked into the camera … that spoke volumes about what this game meant to the veteran big man.

“It’s big, it’s big!” Horford said in between high-fives with Jonas Jerebko and other Celtics who came past him.

“A lot of people doubting us out there!” Horford said, staring intently into the camera as if he was saying, ‘yeah, I’m talking about you!’”

Less than 24 hours after the game, Horford’s emotions had cooled down considerably.

“It was an emotional game,” he told CSN following a short practice at the Q Arena on Monday. “Just, having to hear … since the blowout, everybody counting us out. Everybody really believing that it was over.”

The Celtics came into Game 3 having lost both Games 1 and 2 at home by a combined 57 points which includes the worst playoff loss (Game 2, 130-86) in franchise history.

So with that as the backdrop, knowing full well that no one outside of their locker room gave them an ice cube in hell’s chance at winning Game 3, the victory brought about a level of satisfaction that Celtics players had seldom experienced before if at all.

“The emotions at that time were high for our group,” Horford admitted. “And it shows what we’ve been talking about all year, a resilient group that has a lot of fight in them. We were hit with some adversity with Isaiah being down but our group responded.”

Thomas re-aggravated a right hip injury in Game 2, and was later ruled out for the rest of the playoffs. 

After falling behind 77-56 in the third quarter, the Celtics closed out the third with a 26-10 run to come within 87-82 going into the fourth quarter. During the run, Marcus Smart had 11 points which turned out to be equal to LeBron James’ scoring output … for the entire game.

This is Horford's 10th NBA season, all of which have included a trip to the postseason.

That, combined with having won a pair of national championships when he played at the University of Florida, serves as a reminder that the 30-year-old has been on the winning ledger of big games before.

But even he acknowledged Sunday’s Game 3 win was … different.

“I have had plenty of moments like this,” Horford said. “But this was definitely emotional. This was very emotional, exciting, on the road, no one really giving us any chance. To be able to come through like that, it just felt great. I’ve been part of emotional wins, but this one was a special one.”

That was evident in Horford’s energy-charged, post-game comments.

“Heart! Heart! This team got heart!” he yelled. “We got beat bad (in Game 2), but it’s all about how you rebound!”

And we get that message, loud and clear!

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

'Ecstatic' Thomas was with Celtics teammates via FaceTime after Game 3 win

CLEVELAND – Gone but definitely not forgotten.

Isaiah Thomas, out for the rest of the playoffs with a right hip injury, wasn’t in the Q Arena physically, but his presence – and his face via FaceTime – were inside the locker room in the initial moments following their 111-108 Game 3 win over Cleveland.

“We called him right after the game,” said Boston’s Avery Bradley. “He got to celebrate with us a little bit. It’s sad that he’s not here. We wish he was here with us. We just want him to get better.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens added, “I didn’t even realize that had happened until later on. one of my first text messages was from Isaiah.  He’s hurting not being out there but he’s completely invested, for sure.”

He initially suffered the injury on March 15 at Minnesota, but re-aggravated it in the first half of Boston’s Game 2 loss to the Cavs. Less than 24 hours later, Thomas was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.

Instead of Thomas being the rock of sorts that the Celtics lean on with his play, he has become their rallying cry for the remainder of the playoffs.

“All we can do is play hard for him,” Bradley said. “He was excited with the way we played. We’re a family. Other guys got an opportunity to step up for us. Marcus (Smart) had a big game for us. It could be somebody else next game.”

Smart led the Celtics with a career-high 27 points which included a career-best seven 3’s going down.

And most important, the Celtics avoided going down 3-0 which would have all but sealed their fate in this series considering no team in league history has ever come back for a 3-0 series deficit.

Doing so without Thomas, the Celtics’ leading scorer and the top regular season scorer in the Eastern Conference, made the win all that more impressive for Boston.

“It meant a lot,” Horford said. “We know, Isaiah gives us so much and gave us so much this year. For him, we definitely wanted to come out and fight for him and our season and our team. It felt good to keep believing despite being down big. Just felt good to win the game and bring life back to our locker room. Because going down 3-0, that’s a death sentence pretty much. This was big.”

Not only to the Celtics players but also to Thomas who also texted head coach Brad Stevens full of excitement following Boston’s surprising win.

“He was excited,” Horford recalled. “He was ecstatic. I know he wishes he was here being part of it. We just need to keep doing it for him and our group and doing the best we can.”