The final of the Big Ten conference tournament between Illinois and Ohio State came down to the wire. And not only was it dramatic for fans of the Buckeyes and Fighting Illini, it was a nail-biter for bettors as well.
Illinois opened as a 5.5-point favorite, but the point spread ticked up to six and then 6.5 before tipoff. Illinois led most of the way, but couldn’t quite put Ohio State away. The Buckeyes cut what was once a 17-point first-half deficit to just five, 40-35, at halftime. In the second half, Illinois built up a 10-point lead, but OSU would not go away and eventually forced overtime.
At BetMGM, there were two bettors who were heavily invested in the Buckeyes. One bettor put down $400,000 on OSU to cover the 6.5-point spread. Another went with a bolder play: $250,000 on the Ohio State moneyline at +215.
In overtime, the score was back-and-forth at first — until the Buckeyes were doomed by a few turnovers. When Illinois’ lead grew to 87-81 with 26 seconds to go, the drama mainly revolved around the point spread.
Here’s how the final 26 seconds transpired:
Ohio State 3-pointer: 87-84
Illinois free throws: 89-84
Ohio State splits a pair of free throws: 89-85
Illinois free throws: 91-85
And then, this:
Final score: Illinois 91, Ohio State 88.
That is a brutal backdoor cover if you were on Illinois -5.5 or -6. But if you backed the Buckeyes to cover the spread, it was pure jubilation.
Because the one bettor at BetMGM got OSU at +6.5, it wasn’t as much of a sweat and the bettor won more than $363,000. The BetMGM customer who backed the Buckeyes on the moneyline, however, lost the $250,000 bet.
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