Anyone who has been in the game long enough will know that sports betting is more of an art form than science. While there are many factors to consider, research to be done and stats to analyse, a lot of it comes down to luck and intuition. This is certainly the case for those brave bettors who put their money on the long shot. If you are one of these brave souls, we salute your optimism and will reward you with a rundown of bettors who took the long odds and reaped the rewards.
The 15-Fold Accumulator
In 2001, an Englishman named Mick Gibbs decided to take a punt on an insane accumulator bet. Not wanting to blow a fortune on the bet, he handed over 30 pence (47 US cents) on a 15-fold accumulator. The task was to pick winners in 15 different soccer matches. The odds were around 1,666,666 to 1. Somehow, everything fell into place. The final match in the bet was the Champions League final between Valencia and Bayern Munich. With the game eventually going to penalties, Bayern won, completing the bet. Gibbs was paid out half a million pounds.
The Xabi Alonso Goal
In 2005, a dedicated Liverpool fan had a crazy idea that Liverpool player Xabi Alonso would be able to score a goal from within his own half at some point during the season. He decided to put his idea to the test, putting down a £200 bet with British bookmaker Paddy Power. Thinking it was the easiest money they ever made, Paddy Power accepted the bet and gave the man odds of 125-1. Later that season, Liverpool were playing Luton Town in the FA Cup 3rd round when Xabi Alonso inexplicably took control of the ball and hefted it past the entire Luton Town team. The ball casually rolled into the open goal. The bet paid out £25 000.
The Late Bet
On the 10th of January 2010, Mali was playing Angola in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations. The game was going the way of Angola who were four goals up with just 16 minutes left on the clock. The stadium was beginning to empty and the betting sites stagnant with everything thinking it was a forgone conclusion. One audacious bettor decided that he was going to be brave and place a £5 on Mali taking the win. The odds of this happening were incredibly low to say the least. As you can guess, Mali suddenly turned things around slotting in 4 goals in quick succession. They eventually won the match on penalties and the lucky bettor walked away with £5000.
Cardinals Win the World Series
In September 2011, the Cardinals were five games out of a Wild Card spot. While the fans had faith in their team, there were only 15 games left to play. This meant the chances of them making the world series were extremely slim. One bettor decided to back the cardinals. He placed a $250 on the Cardinals making the World Series. The odds for the bet were a huge 500 to 1.
Not satisfied with his first bet, the same man decided to put another $250 bet on the Cardinals actually winning the World Series. This was put down at odds of 999 to 1. The Cardinals suddenly got on a winning streak, causing upset after upset. In October, they even took down the Phillies who were favored to win. The then went on to defeat the Rangers in seven games to win the World Series and create a bit of history. The man who placed the bet must have known something now one else did. He turned his $500 into a massive $375,000 payout!