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Sports Then and Now

6 Greatest Sports Bets of All Time

Posted on September 01, 2014 by Kimberly Powell
Tom Brady's safety to open the scoring in Super Bowl XLVI proved to be worth $50,000 to one sports gambler.

Tom Brady’s safety to open the scoring in Super Bowl XLVI proved to be worth $50,000 to one sports gambler.

Thousand Dollar Wager on Safety as First Score of Super Bowl XLVI

In American football, the ever elusive ‘safeties’ have only ever been achieved seven times throughout its history. This is where the ball carrier is tackled down in his own end zone; the ball becomes dead in the end zone, or the offense commits a foul in its own end zone. One American still decided to make a bet and a $1000 one at that. With the odds stacking up against him at 50-1 from the MGM Grand sports book, his chances looked bleak. The better knew his stuff, as Tom Brady of the New England Patriots was called for intentional grounding in the end zone to account for the first points of the Super Bowl and making the lucky winner  $50k richer in one night.

Betting on Cardinals to Make and to Win 2011 World Series

On September 12, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were five games back from a wild card spot with just 15 games left to play. An unidentified St. Louis fan staked $250 on the Cardinals making the World Series at 500-1 odds. He obviously felt optimistic, as another $250 bet was put down on his team actually winning the World Series at 999-1 odds. The Cardinals blazed through the month of September, collecting win after win. By October, they had taken down the heavily favored Phillies and eventually defeated the Rangers in seven games to win the series. The pay-out was a huge $375,000.

Betting for Mali (Down 4-0 with Just 16 Minutes to Go)

On January 10, 2010, Mali was losing 4-0 to Angola in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations. The game was drawing to a close with only 16 minutes remaining. The outlook was bleak for Mali – but that didn’t stop one audacious punter from the UK from putting five pounds on Mali to stage the unlikeliest of comebacks. By pure chance, the Malian team scored a flurry of late goals – four to be exact – and escaped with a draw. The lucky gambler received a pay-out of £5000 and walked away feeling rather lucky.

25,000-1 Odds at Ascot Racecourse

On the Ascot Champions Day in 1996, famous jockey Frankie Dettori, said, “I could have an each-way chance in the first, and I may win the third.” Darren Yates, a compulsive gambler with a failing carpentry business has more faith in Dettori. He wagered £67.58 in combining all seven of Dettori’s mounts, meaning Dettori had to be riding the winning horse in each of the seven races for Yates to cash in. Yates did not even watch the race but was shocked to find that Dettori had pulled off the impossible. His brave betting had won him £550,823 in total.

3.5 Million On Super Bowl XLIV

Billy Walters is a professional gambler who is so lucky that most Las Vegas bookmakers and casinos are afraid to take his bets. On this occasion, Walters made a $3.5 million bet on a Super Bowl underdog. Even for a multi-millionaire, $3.5 million is a very reckless bet indeed. Walters later stated that he got caught up in the moment, and ended up betting more than he ever intended. Luckily for him the bet paid out, earning him another $3.5 to add to the rest of his millions.

One Dime on a Saratoga Superfecta

A superfecta is where a wager is made in which you pick four horses that will come in first, and in the correct order. On August 23rd, 2008 at Saratoga Springs, a ridiculously unlikely combo of four horses took the top four spots in race seven. First-place winning horse, Slambino, had odds as high as 88-1 stacked against him. Two off-site punters picked the superfecta winning combination after both purchasing dime tickets. Each received $76,000 through their lucky guess. It was certainly a dime well spent.

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