Mark Tupper was so certain his pick would cover that he didn’t even bother to watch the game.
Turns out he was right.
Tupper, from Halifax, Nova Scotia, won his 21st straight game on April 29 when he picked the Phoenix Suns to beat the Los Angeles Lakers as a 5-point road favorite in Wagerline.com’s Survivor contest.
Tupper won the website’s top prize of $100,000 for making 21 correct consecutive picks, making him the first person to do so. A user operating the name “claudio” picked 21 straight games in 2004 back when the top prize was $10,000.
Tupper, whose user name was "Tuppy", would have only received $1,000 had his last pick lost. A Wagerline user gets $1,000 for picking 17 straight games.
Such a large disparity in payouts made it curious that Tupper didn’t hedge his bet. That is, that he didn’t bet at least a percentage of his expected winnings on the Lakers to guarantee a smaller profit. Tupper says his rationale was simple: he thought his pick would win.
“I probably would have hedged if I was less sure,” says Tupper. “I just thought Phoenix was a sure thing. They are a proud team and they were coming off a loss.”
After the Lakers won Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinal series, Tupper immediately knew he was going to take the Suns if the line opened at -5 or better.
Such savvy would come as a surprise to some considering Tupper doesn’t actually risk his own money on sports wagers.
“I am actually not that into sports gambling,” say Tupper. “I mostly use Wagerline for pools that my friends and I are doing at the time. The funny thing is we don’t even have an NBA pool.”
Nineteen of Tupper’s 21 picks were on pro basketball. His first bet of the streak was on college basketball and his 18th bet was on hockey.
It was the one hockey bet, where he took the Vancouver Canucks as a -123 favorite over the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of the Western Conference quarterfinal, that really put him out of his comfort zone.
“The only time I really felt nervous was after I bet on Vancouver,” says Tupper. “I immediately regretted making the play. It turned out alright though.”
Tupper works four nights a week, and says that hockey game was the only game he watched live. Even then, he only watched part of it. He also followed parts of four basketball games online, but stayed away from monitoring his bets aside from that.
Tupper closed out a memorable week by getting married on Friday and says his bachelor party on April 28 was the reason he slept though the Phoenix-Los Angeles game. He didn't even know he won until his friend called him after the game was over.
He says he plans to spend most of the money on a downpayment for a house, possibly in Japan where he was thinking of moving. Tupper also admits he and his new bride plan to set aside around $25,000 of the money to "take come crazy vacations."