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We’ve all seen it, the smug Facebook post, or the retweeted betting slip with a huge profit from a tiny stake.
Usually it’s “just” a few hundred dollars, but there have some truly incredible bets down the years, and we’ve ranked top 5 biggest sports betting wins of all time.
5. Harry Wilson’s Grandfather
When Peter Edwards looked down at his grandson, the infant Harry Wilson, he didn’t just see the latest addition to the family, he saw a future Welsh international footballer (there is probably a joke about dribbling in there somewhere).
So sure was he of this babies footballing potential that he strode down to his local bookmakers and demanded what the odds were for his grandson to play for his country. A presumably surprised bookies gave him 2500/1.
On the 15th of October 2013, aged 16, he was brought on to replace Hal Robson-Kanu, making him the youngest player to ever represent Wales. His grandfather claimed the winnings of his 16 year old bet, £125,000 (267,000 AUS dollars), and earned himself one of the biggest sports betting wins ever.
4. Xabi Alonso’s own half goal
Winning $50,000 from a $430 stake is crazy enough, but when the punter was inspired to place it because of a dream the story gets so much better.
In July 2005 Adrian Hayward had a very specific dream, in which then-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso would score a goal… from inside his own half. Inspired by this he headed down to PaddyPower to place his bet.
Six months later, midway through the season, Liverpool faced Luton Town in the FA Cup, and of course Xabi Alonso scored from his own half. PaddyPower were refreshingly honest about their huge loss, stating, “When he placed the bet we thought it was the easiest £200 we had ever made”.
Guess this is the time to say that sometimes, dreams really do come true…
3. Saratoga Superfecta
A superfecta, for the unaware, is picking the first four horses to come in, not too hard, right? They also have to be in the correct order… Unsurprisingly the odds are usually pretty high, and makes this next bet even more impressive.
On a sunny August day in Saratoga Springs (USA) a very strange quartet of horses claimed the top four spots, for context the winner was an 88/1 outsider.
Just two unnamed punters correctly predicted the outcome, their winnings? 76,000 US dollars (just over 100,000 in AUS dollars), their stake? 10 US cents.
2. Darren Yates and Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori is probably the only jockey who is a household name. The highly decorated rider has over 500 career wins, including his famous day at Ascot, where he won all seven races.
It wasn’t just Frankie who won that day, down on his luck carpenter Darren Yates decided, against the advice of his wife Anne, to place the sizable sum of £60 (130 AUS dollars) on Dettori to win all seven races, with odds of 25,000/1.
Darren, seemingly indifferent to the outcome of the race, went out with some mates to play football while Frankie went off and won him £550,000 (just over a million AUS dollars).
Although Darren’s team lost 4-0, he presumably took comfort in having one of the biggest sports betting wins of all time.
1. Mick Gibbs
At the start of 2001 Mick Gibbs was a roofer living in Staffordshire, UK, on May the 24th he was a million AUS dollars richer, not bad for a stake of just 65 cents… How did he do it you ask? On paper it sounds almost simple, choosing 15 winners from a selection of European football matches. The odds for his 15-fold were a devilish 1,666,666/1.
His last bet was on Bayern Munich to triumph over Valencia in the 2001 Champions League final. Bayern ultimately won the match, 5-4 on penalties, which must have been the tensest moment in the Gibbs’ household… ever.
In the annals of biggest sports betting wins, Mick’s is the undisputed champion.