Five of the biggest long-shot winners ever

We all want to be filthy rich but too many of us don’t use enough imagination with the daydream. Winning the $50 million state lottery? Come on. There are cooler imaginary scenarios to collect major coin.

My favorite way? The Biff Tannen way. Yes, the same Biff from Back to the Future Part II.

For those of you who can’t remember, Biff used a sports almanac from the future to earn his fortune. And it’s not just the money. Biff was considered the world’s best tout because he knew the outcome of all the big sporting events.

Hey Butthead

He completed the Scarface trifecta: money, power and the woman (Marty McFly’s mom, Lorainne).  

These five long shot bets could help create your evil empire if you do ever get a hold of a DeLorean time machine.

St. Louis Rams win Super Bowl XXXIV (300-to-1)

The "Greatest Show on Turf" would have never been born if Rams coach Dick Vermeil would have gotten his way. After a 4-12 campaign in 1998, Vermeil was still in love with quarterback Tony Banks. That’s the same Tony Banks, who reportedly skipped the team flight home after an embarrassing 14-0 loss to Miami and missed practice because his dog died.

In a rare occurrence, Mike Martz, who at the time was the Redskins quarterback coach, was the voice of reason. When the Rams offered him the chance to become offensive coordinator, Martz refused unless Banks was gone and Green was signed.

Martz got his way and then some.

In the offseason, the Rams acquired Marshall Faulk from the Colts for a second and fourth-round pick, signed Green and drafted wide receiver Torry Holt out of North Carolina State in the first round.

So expectations were up, until Green suffered a season-ending knee injury on what most perceived to be a dirty hit by Rodney Harrison in a preseason game.

That left Vermeil with a backup quarterback out of the Arena League named Kurt Warner. Expectations were down and it seemed laughable when Vermeil said, “We will rally around Kurt Warner.”

But Vegas wasn’t laughing when Warner led the Rams on a bookie-killing run that saw them go 13-3 straight up and against the spread.

They capped off the run with a thrilling 23-16 victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. On the game’s final play, Titans’ receiver Kevin Dyson was tackled one yard short of the end zone by Mike Jones.

1991 World Series: The books’ worst nightmare

Featuring a pair of worst-to-first teams in the Twins and Braves, the bookies were going to lose some cash either way. Before the season, both the Twins and Braves were between “300-to-1 and 200-to-1” to win the World Series, according to sportsbook manager Jeff Stonebeck of the Las Vegas Hilton.

And why wouldn’t they be? Before 1991, no team had ever won a pennant after finishing last the previous season. In 1990, the Twins finished 14 games under .500 and were 29 games out in their division. The Braves were worse, losing 97 games in 1990.

Naturally, the Twins and Braves followed up dreadful season by stunning the baseball world by reaching the World Series and crushing sportsbooks everywhere.

1991 Twins

Greece 2004 UEFA Euro (150-to-1)

Having never won a match at a major tournament, few football fans were eagerly jumping a Greece bandwagon that, frankly, no one knew even existed. Hence, the plump odds.

It will be a while before Greece backers enjoy that kind of odds again. The Greeks turned Euro 2004 into a coming-out party. They knocked off favorite France and twice beat Portugal, including in the finals.

The Cinderella run to the title sparked an interest in Greek football and earned global respect. Greece shot up from 35th to 14th in the FIFA World Rankings, one of the biggest jumps in a single month ever.

Tampa Bay Rays 2008 American League Champs (125-to-1)

In perhaps the most rewarding name change in history, the Tampa Bay Devils Rays became the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 – and won the American League pennant.

Since its inception in 1998, Tampa Bay seemed destined to become the Clippers of MLB. The Rays finished last in nine of their first 10 seasons. In 2007, the Devils Rays were the worst team in baseball and were stuck in the toughest division, the AL East.

But, while they were getting trounced in their infant years, they were also feeding off greedy heavyweights who were willing to give away young talent to win immediately. In 2008, all that young talent blossomed. They stunned baseball by winning the division and knocking off the mighty Red Sox to reach the World Series.

“At the beginning of the season, the Rays were 125-to-1 to win the American league and a whopping 300-to-1 to win the World Series,” said Bodog.com oddsmaker Richard Gardner. “While the Rays went on to win the AL that year, things could have been much worse if they went on to win the World Series. It is still the biggest loss on futures that I have seen in my time in the industry.”

1913 Kentucky Derby

At 91-to-1, Donerail is the biggest long shot to win in Kentucky Derby history. Donerail paid $184.90 on a $2 bet, while setting a track record of 2:04 4/5. His career earnings only amounted to $15,156.

1991 Twins

--

Certainly, some of you expert bettors out there have used your expertise to cash on a big long shot. Maybe you had Buster Douglas at 45-to-1 against Mike Tyson. Or maybe you had eighth-seeded Golden State to knock off the Mavericks a few years ago.

If you have any feedback or suggestions for our Editorial Team, please contact us at Editorial

            share   SHARE   rss   RSS FEED   email   EMAIL   print   PRINT
Hide All Responses
avatar

Posted by vrifma
4 years ago

Breeders’ Cup Classic 1993 Arcangues $269.20 payoff for a $2 wager You could here a pin drop when Arcangues was coming down the stretch and heading towards an easy win.
avatar

Posted by snakeeyes01
4 years ago

tallguyindc iusually play off shore too it is just that during football season and the bowl season and the ncaa tourney sommetimes i get on big roll and do not want want offshore to owe me all that coin the only reason i know about the registered mail is from the back of the sport book tickets they print you out when you make bet
avatar

Posted by tallguyindc
4 years ago

Snakeeyes, I didn't realize that fact about registered mail (I only bet online and am sometimes out of the loop on casino rules). Still, I think that fact kind of makes my point. I'm not sure most casual Vegas visitors realize all the rules. I think futures are really popular with the casual market. I think a lot of people view futures as similar to lottery tickets. I'm probably going to lose but if I win, I want to win big....
avatar

Posted by snakeeyes01
4 years ago

tallguyindc you do not need to fly back to vegas to collect on a 700 dollar ticket just send it in registered mail now if you cash over 5 dimes time to fly back to vegas
avatar

Posted by Ashton_Grewal
4 years ago

Holy smokes guys. I think we all need to chill out a bit here. The truth is oddsmakers anticipate favorites winning. That's why the odds are short. They don't expect longshots to be playing in championship games. What happens during the season when a crap team starts looking good? People start betting them. The odds become shorter but the momentum grows too. I remember talking to three or four oddsmakers who were really worried about the Rays-Phillies World Series. All the people that grabbed the Rays at 150-1 early on in the season hedged their bet on the Phils. I think DP's article is just a fun look at some of the more famous longshots that cashed, not a look at outcomes that bankrupted sportsbooks.
avatar

Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

Clearly, I did a poor job on this article. My attempt was just to reflect on some of the biggest long shots that have cashed in history. Somehow, I portrayed that books were getting crunched every time a long shot hits, but didn't back that up with any evidence. For that, I apologize and for producing a "worthless" and "embarrassing" article. In my defense, we did have to alter the lead paragraph. In its original form, I had quotes from a sportsbook manager about the action they had this year on Butler, which, by the way, was 75-to-1 to win the NCAA tournament. So they do get action on the long shots. Obviously, not as much as they do on the favorites, but enough that when one of these huge long shots hits, it does make an impact. I apologize for the confusion and will do better next time.
avatar

Posted by tallguyindc
4 years ago

Most of the comments on this are wrong. Look closely at the quotes regarding the Rays/Phillies World Series. I remember reading about this at the time. There was a lot of long shot money on the Rays at the start of the season. I remember reading that the books were actually shading the lines for the World Series quite a bit to encourage bets on the Phillies. You are right that the public tends to bet on favorites, but this doesn't really apply to futures bets. One of the issues is that people tend to "flat bet". I put "flat bet" in quotes becuase they aren't actually flat betting. Vanzack has a large thread on this tendency and it isn't really flat betting. Anyway, people will say I'm going to bet $10 on the Red Sox to win the World Series or I'm going to bet $10 on the Rays to win the WS, but obviously you are creating a much bigger swing with the Rays bet. At 300-1, the Rays bet creates a $3000 potential liability for the book. At 7-1, the Red Sox bet would create only a $70 liability. So with people "flat betting" futures, you need a whole lot more people betting on the Red Sox to equal the liabilities out of a few betting on the Rays. The other thing about futures bets is that they lock up your money for the whole season. People generally don't want to do that with bets they think they have a legitimate shot at or won't really clean up on. Futures bets are generally larks. Its fairly easy for a guy from Tampa to be vacationing in Vegas and say "hey I know the Rays suck but they are better than 300-1, I'll put down $100 and if they win, I'll come back next year and get $30000." In order to make the same equivalent bet, a Mass tourist would have to put down $5000 on the Red Sox. He isn't going to do that. He probably won't even put down the $100 on 7-1. He'll probably think to himself "Hey even if I win $700, I'd have to spend half of it on airfare just to cash the ticket."
avatar

Posted by JackedUp
4 years ago

Agreed, the bookmakers love it when long shots come in since it means the most profit for them. Anyone who knows anything about gambling realises that. This article is embarrassing...
avatar

Posted by powerade
4 years ago

what a dumb article....when 100 people bets the yanks and sox to win it all at 3-1 they could care less about the 1 guy betting the rays to win... A monkey could write a more interesting piece
avatar

Posted by alboxer
4 years ago

How about Buster dougles over Tyson 800-1 and 1200 -1 by knockout
avatar

Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

Syddigs: Maybe if you acknowledged the ones I've provided, for example, "13-3 straight up and against the spread." I have no problem admitting that I didn't see Greece was 150 or whatever to 1 in the World. The years following their 04, according to my research, they were no where near 150-1. But in the end, tou got me. I'm wrong. You're right. I'll strive to be a better writer. Enjoy your romance novels. I'll miss you.
avatar

Posted by Syddigs
4 years ago

Thanks for the tip Dave. It will be an easy choice in future. I would rather read a romance novel than the fantasy you wrote here. Note to self. Articles written by David Payne are generally factless yet painful to read. By the way, care to add some fact to your " stories "? You said that the Rams went on a bookie killing run yet you didn't quote anyone from the industry. A fact or two would help. P.S No comment on Greece being 200-1 for the World Cup? I guess Greece backers didn't have to wait too long after all.
avatar

Posted by nc1capper
4 years ago

love the longshots,,takes gaint sized "nads" to fire away tho
avatar

Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

Appreciate ya, Holdem
avatar

Posted by David_Payne
4 years ago

Glad you enjoyed it, Sydiggs ... go back to reading your porn. You'll certainly get more satisfaction.
avatar

Posted by Syddigs
4 years ago

" It will be a while before Greece backers enjoy that kind of odds again. " Um, actually you can get plenty of 150-1 and 200-1 right now about Greece winning the 2010 World Cup. Have at it champ! So I guess a while to you is a span of 6 years. Absolutely pointless article after the fact which you have slaughtered. P.S How many sports books went out of business after the 1913 Kentucky Derby result? People actually have to bet these long price winners with good volume in order to " crush the books " as you say. Just finding a long shot result means nothing unless there was a plunge involved. Terrible, terrible article and a complete waste of time and space.
avatar

Posted by Syddigs
4 years ago

" Featuring a pair of worst-to-first teams in the Twins and Braves, the bookies were going to lose some cash either way. Before the season, both the Twins and Braves were between “300-to-1 and 200-to-1” to win the World Series, according to sportsbook manager Jeff Stonebeck of the Las Vegas Hilton. " Wow. 300-t0-1 into 200-to-1 in Las Vegas. What's that? Someone had $20 on either team? You wouldn't be able to get that huge amount of cash down now in Vegas and that's why they have lost so much biz to the offshore books. Tell me more about a $20 bet on a long shot where tens-of-millions of dollars are wagered crush books. If there was any decent money then the fluctuations would not have stopped at 200-1. How much money was bet on the favourites in the MLB the year the Twins and Braves made the World Series. I have lost track of the number of sports books and bookies who have gone out of business when the favourites LOSE? Could this article be any more off track and hypocritical? You have found 5 long shots int he past 2 decades and you believe that the bookies were reeling? Absolutely terrible and nonsensical article that holds no water or merit.
avatar

Posted by robbie0570
4 years ago

Yeah....the books got CRUSHED on those scenarios. ?????????? LOL...um...I think the books CLEANED UP on these teams... Bookies dread the FAVORITES winning...not dogs. lol.
avatar

Posted by Thinkb4ubet
4 years ago

I dont understand why the books lose on the longshots, isnt most of the money on the 2-1 12-1 range teams
         1      
You are currently not logged in.
Login | Signup | Help
You must be logged in to post a comment.

Top Response

Posted by Ashton_Grewal
4 years ago

"Holy smokes guys. I think we all need to chill out a bit here. The truth is oddsmakers anticipate favorites winning. That's why the odds are short. They don't expect longshots to be playing in championship games. What happens during the season ..."