I don't see it that way, at all. It think it was a weak bet and the opposite of bold! She had $12,000; James had $28,000 pretty late in the game. She bets $7,000, which, true, is better then the typical $2,000 or something, but still not enough to matter. Assuming, as she did, she gets it wrong, she is left with $5,000, with no chance of catching the leader. What was the point of conserving $5,000 (yes, want to play in FJ, but still have time to answer something correct to end in the black)? This was her opportunity. Bet it all (or, leave over $500 for FJ), get it right, she has $24,000 to James' $28,000. Much closer then $19,000 she was aiming for (with additional clues still left on the board for James to increase his lead). My issue is what is the point of holding back $5,000? It serves no purpose. She was "saving for a rainy day" in the middle of a torrential downpour. Just my opinion. That was Laura's opportunity to put herself into real contention and she let it pass.
James look-alike suggestion: the young Wayne Newton.