Note: potential spoilers ahead.
A central part of the plot of “Uncut Gems” is betting on an NBA playoff series between The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics.
The movie is set in 2012, and indeed the Sixers and Celtics played in the second round of the NBA Playoffs in 2012. There was a decisive game 7 in Boston on May 26th.
May 26th fell on a Saturday that year. Based on the timing of the auction in the movie (repeated remarks about getting a program ready for Monday after only receiving the gem on a Friday) that does not line up.
Another inaccuracy to note is that Passover was in April of that year, well before the games, whereas Ratner’s family is seen celebrating the Seder in the middle of the series.
Then there is the issue of Garnett making so many visits to New York – including one seemingly on game day. Need a little suspension of disbelief there, for sure.
Ok, that’s it for the trivial stuff. Now let’s look at that big bet.
From a betting perspective, the Celtics were a heavy favorite in game seven. According to OddsPortal, the money line for the Celtics was -350 (meaning you had to bet $350 to win $100 on a Celtics win).
Howard Ratner does parlay that with two other bets: over on the total of Kevin Garnett total points plus rebounds, and Celtics to win the opening tip.
Individual player prop bets like points and rebounds tend to be even money bets.
Kevin Garnett had a size advantage over Sixers’ starting center Elton Brand, but Brand was quite good at jump balls. For the sake of argument, we can make this a relatively even money bet, too.
Parlaying -350, -110, and -110 does not add up to a million dollar plus win on a $155,000 bet. The payoff would have been more like $577,000. Still a large payday, but not over a million.
That is, if Mohegan Sun had a sports book. Connecticut did not have legal sports betting in 2012, and still do not as of the movie’s debut in 2019.
While the size of the payoff on this bet may not hold up under a bit of scrutiny, the degeneracy of it is clear and believable. Parlaying the opening tip is the play of a true sicko, and the movie makers did really well with this one overall.