Every sports fan has predictions and guesses – who will get that goal, which team will win it all, when will a certain player come back from his injury. It’s part of what makes it fun to watch – trying to see if you can predict what will happen next. Given the fun of guessing who will win a match (or – to examine one of the weirdest popular Super Bowl Bets – guess what color Gatorade there will be at the big game) it’s really not surprising that sports bets are very popular with sports fans.
Some sports bets are just old fashioned fun between friends – perhaps your favorite team is playing against your friend’s favorite team and you’ve decided that the loser has to buy the next round of beer. More official sports bets generally require you to put your money where your mouth is. Many individuals are fairly conservative, putting a few dollars towards their chosen selection. However, in the world of professional sports, unpredictable outcomes or spurts of passion can sometimes yield crazy results.
There’s nothing guaranteed in the world of sports bets. Sometimes a fan will make a modest bet and will earn a few dollars for his trouble; other times, he’ll lose that ten bucks and perhaps have to sacrifice that last beer. Other times, however, the stars seem to align and an insignificant bet with incredibly long shot odds can end up giving a fan a payout of thousands of dollars. Sometimes, a fan’s passion can get the best of him and a sports fan of lavish means can end up squandering far more than he had planned on an athletic whim. Whether you find yourself winning or losing, sports bets are a fun part of the fan experience.
Most bets have fairly mundane results – and then there are these ones. Here are 15 of the craziest sports bets ever.
14 50 Cent on the Mayweather-Pacquiao Fight
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, whether you’re a boxing fan or not, you know all about the fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao happening on May 2. Rapper 50 Cent took a big interest in the fight - $1.6 million dollars worth, to be exact. He bet a cool 1.6 on Mayweather beating Pacquiao. The two have feuded before, with 50 Cent implying that Mayweather can’t read a page of a children’s book without making an error. Regardless, he seems to agree with the odds that favor Mayweather – given his net worth, it likely doesn’t matter to 50 Cent whether he loses the bet, but it’s still a lot to put on a single fight.
13 Papa McIlroy Bets On His Progeny
Young golf superstar Rory McIlroy has been receiving a lot of attention lately – and deservedly so, as he’s incredibly talented. Everyone who watches golf sees that now, but a certain Gerry McIlroy, who raised the pro golfer, had an iron clad belief in his boy when he was just 15. Gerry bet 200 British pounds in 2004 that his son would win the British Open by the time he turned 25. At 500/1 odds, it was a bold bet, even for a proud father. However, it paid off – his boy did it, and his father cashed out a cool $171,000. He even spread the love to his friends – perhaps to be nice, two of his friends bet their own 200 pounds when the odds were slightly better (250/1) and they likewise earned tens of thousands.
12 Nicole Grant
Sports fans will be the first to tell you – sometimes the team comes first. When a couple with opposing loyalties comes together, it can definitely make for a tense match. Nicole and John Grant found that out the hard way. Nicole – a devoted Green Bay Packers fan – bet her husband John that her team would annihilate his team of choice, the Chicago Bears, in a match up. She was so confident that she placed an ill advised bet – if the Packers lost, he could taser her. Silly fun, not something someone would actually take their spouse up on, right? Wrong. Her husband actually tasered her not once but three times, according to Yahoo! Sports – here’s hoping she’s making smarter bets, and perhaps smarter spousal choices, since.
11 Gino DiFelice
Canadian Gino DiFelice put some pocket change – a mere $5 – on the Seahawks. To be more specific, he correctly predicted 15 NFL picks. It was down to the Monday night game between Green Bay and Seattle, and if the Packers would have won, he’d have had to split the pot, but the last minute Seahawks victory means DiFelice walked away with $725,000 for his tiny bet. This bet is made even crazier by the circumstances – the game in question was the 2012 Packers-Seahawks face off that many call the Fail Mary, because of the referees’ awful call. Either way, DiFelice was probably pretty happy with the call, as it ended up allowing him to hit the jackpot.
10 Darren Yates
Darren Yates had a bit of a gambling problem, and a whole lot of faith in jockey Frankie Dettori. Yates wasn’t doing the best career-wise, with only a failing carpentry business to his name, and his wife basically outright banned him from putting any more money towards Dettori in sports bets. Yates didn’t listen, and put 67.58 British pounds on an incredibly unlikely bet – that Dettori would be riding the winning horse in seven races. Dettori then went on an absolutely crazy run, winning race after race, and it ended up getting Yates 550,823 pounds – a sum over $860,000 USD.
9 Jona Rechnitz
In the NFL, it’s very rare that the first score is by a safety. In something as big as the Super Bowl, when every team is putting their best foot forward, it’s even more rare for someone in that position to earn that distinction. However, it happens sometimes – as Jona Rechnitz may be able to tell you. Rechnitz, a real estate owner in New York, bet $1,000 in the 2012 Super Bowl that the first score would come from a safety. His bet paid off and he got $50,000. Once in a lifetime, right? Not exactly. Rechnitz threw caution to the wind again in Super Bowl 2014, this time betting only $500, and managed to win again – this time $25,000 due to the 50/1 odds, according to NJ.com. What’s the chances that Rechnitz will look for the hat trick in 2016? We’ll have to stay tuned to find out.
8 Richard Hopkins
All parents go to their child’s sporting events, and they likely see one or two players that may be a bit better than their precious spawn. Richard Hopkins was one of those parents. The British father saw a young Lewis Hamilton race against his son on a go kart track, and was very impressed by the teen’s driving skills, even on something like a go kart. He decided then and there that Hamilton would eventually do big things in the Formula 1 racing world, and put a bet of 200 British pounds on the young go kart prodigy winning an F1 race before he hit 23. When Hamilton snagged a win at 22, Hopkins won 40,000 pounds. Hopkins also made another two bets – 100 pounds individually on 500/1 odds that Hamilton would get a F1 world title before 25, and 50 pounds in a joint venture on the same bet. His faith in the kid paid off. His three bets got Hopkins 165,000 pounds, according to The Telegraph.
7 Student Loan
A young student had such faith in Angola in the African Cup of Nations that he put all his student loan funding on the bet – 4,400 British pounds. Though it seemed like a safe bet (Angola was winning 4-0 when he placed the bet with 11 minutes of the game remaining), the student was hopefully not studying mathematics – even if he won, for all his risk he would have earned a mere 44 pounds more. However, he didn’t win – Mali made an incredible comeback over Angola and the kid lost it all.
6 Erick Lindgren
It takes guts to bet on someone else – you don’t know what condition a player arrives in, whether they’re distracted, whether they’re fighting an injury, whether they’re just plain having an off day, etc. To bet on yourself, it just takes confidence. Poker player Erick Lindgren had that in spades. He made a bet with his friends that just kept escalating. He would play four rounds of golf in one day – challenging, but not insane. He upped the ante, saying he would do it in 100+ degree Las Vegas heat, while further exerting himself by carrying his own clubs. A little more intense. He went even further, saying he would shoot from the pro-level golf tees and manage to score under 100 on all four rounds he played. Seems a challenging task – and his friends agreed. Combined, their bets totaled $340,000 that Lindgren wouldn’t be able to do it. Those are some doubtful friends with very deep pockets. However, Lindgren was the last one laughing – he managed to pull it off and pocket all that cash.
5 Cardinals Craze
Fans can have crazy optimism, and in the case of an unnamed St. Louis Cardinals fan, it sometimes pays off. A fan bet $250 that the Cardinals would make the World Series in 2011 with 500-1 odds. A little crazy, but all fans have blind faith in their team. He got so optimistic that he made an additional bet at $125, this time at 999 to 1 odds, that the Cardinals would win the World Series. Well, in an outcome no one would have predicted (based on the odds), the Cardinals ended up winning game after game and eventually took the World Series title that year. The fan won $375,000 for his belief.
4 Billy Walters
Billy Walters is a notoriously lucky man – to the point where Las Vegas bookmakers don’t want to take his bets, as he’s so often right. He’s also a very wealthy man. However, even multi-millionaires make mistakes. He placed a bet on the New Orleans Saints in their Super Bowl against the Indianapolis Colts. How much? $100? $1000? No – Walters wrote up a staggering $3.5 million bet on the underdog. He has even admitted, in a 60 Minutes interview, that the bet was too high, and he merely just caught up in the excitement of Super Bowl betting. He ended up winning, but seriously – who gets so caught up that they bet 3.5 million?
3 Germany/Brazil Blowout
Everyone remembers the 2014 World Cup game between Germany and Brazil. Everyone watched through their fingers at the miserable Brazilian team and their fans as Germany scored goal after goal (after goal after goal…), eventually getting a 7-1 win. No one could have predicted that Germany would absolutely annihilate Brazil that badly – except for one sports fan, apparently. An unnamed soccer fan not only bet that Germany would win 7-1, but also that Sami Khedira would score a goal. He only bet $20, but when he managed to win, the 2,319 to 1 odds mean that the bettor walked away with $46,000.
2 2.Mayweather On Everything
Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. likes to gamble, and seems to make sports bets as if he was only betting paper slips – and “Money” Mayweather has a net worth big enough that he likely doesn’t care whether he wins or loses. Still, some of his bets err very far on the side of completely crazy. For example, he bet an astonishing $5.9 million that the Miami Heat would beat the Indiana Pacers in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Championships. He won about $600,000 – chump change compared to his initial bet. Imagine if he lost.
1 Mick Gibbs
The year was 2001, and Mick Gibbs, a roofer from Staffordshire, made a teeny, tiny bet. He bet 30 pence (the equivalent of less than 50 cents) on a 15-fold accumulator bet. Gibbs had to somehow pick the winning team in 15 soccer games. It’s one of those things that no one ever expects to win, but at 50 cents, why not have a little fun and put in your predictions? The odds were 1,666,666 to 1 – absolutely insane. Though the odds were most certainly not in Gibbs’ favor, he managed to win anyway, and his teeny investment had a huge return of 500,000 British pounds.