The Greatest Sports Bets of All Time

Eric NewmanCorrespondent IIIFebruary 18, 2012

The Greatest Sports Bets of All Time

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    Not five minutes after one of our knuckle-dragging ancestors first lopped off a nut from the carcass of a bull mammoth and started kicking it around, another ancestor wagered his best spear head that he could kick it farther.

    Sports and betting--a pairing as inevitable as peanut butter and jelly, as wet t-shirts and boobies.

    And like athletes, bettors have good days and bad, they win and they lose, they sweat and they gasp, they scrutinize the weather and pray to the gods, they look for enemy strengths and enemy weaknesses.

    They live for thrill.

    And once in a remarkable while, they defy incredible odds.

    Click on to see some of the greatest bets in sports history. 

Honorable Mention: 50 Cent Bets on Giants (Twice)

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    OK, so first the guy wins half a million dollars betting on the Giants in the NFC championship game.

    He doubles down and bets a cool million on Eli and crew bringing home Super Bowl rings. 

    But he had another little side bet going with a beyond-voluptuous female Twitter follower with the moniker @MyBestAssets.

    Ms. Best Assets, whose profile pic shows off her talent but not her face, sent the following Tweet:

          Ok RT @MyBestAssets: @50cent Lets bet. If the Giants lose the Superbowl, u must post ur d*ck on the twitter. If they win, I'll post my boob                                                      

    s & face on here. Bet?

    50 Cent accepted. 

    He won, of course.

    Ms. Best Assets quickly dropped out of the news, leaving this one last bitter Tweet:

     So all of u can unfollow me now. U really think if the Giants lost  would post his d*ck? If u thought so then u r as dumb as ur tweets 2 me. Good-bye!

10. Betting for Mali (down by 4 with Just 16 Minutes to Go)

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    On January 10, 2010, Mali was losing 4-0 to Angola in the opening match of the Africa Cup of Nations

    Just 16 minutes remained in the game.

    Some "audacious punter" or in American English, "ballsy bettor" decided to place a five pound (about 7.8 US dollars) bet on Mali.

    Then, the "Malian's produced a stunning flurry of late goals."

    Four to be exact.

    Payout for the audacious punter? 5000£ (about $7800 USD).

9. Thousand Dollar Wager on Safety as First Score of Super Bowl XLVI

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    A couple stats for you to wrap your mind around:

    1) There have been a total of 7 safeties scored in all of Super Bowl history.

    2) Brady's intentional grounding safety was only the second Super Bowl safety to mark the first points up on the board.

    Yet one Jona Rechnitz still made the bet.

    And this was no piddly two-dollar bet; Rechnitz put down 1000 smackeroos.

    He got 50:1 odds from the Las Vegas MGM Grand sports book, though some sports books were paying 75:1 or higher.

    Long shot? Um, yeah.

    Payout? 50 K

8. Erick Lindgren 100K Prop Bet on Golf Endurance

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    Professional poker player Erick Lindgren set up a prop bet wi th some poker buddies. 

    It went like this:

    Erick had to play four rounds of golf in a row.

    In one day.

    In scorching Las Vegas heat (over 100 degrees).

    Carrying his own clubs.

    Walking all four rounds.

    Shooting from the pro-level tees. 

    And score under 100 on all four rounds.

    By the time his pals all got a piece of the actions, Lindgren was in for about 340K.

    He succeeded. 

    Payout? 340K

7. Betting on Cardinals to Make and to Win 2011 World Series

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    On the evening of September 12, 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals were five games back from a wild card spot.

    Just 15 games left to play.

    An unidentified St. Louis fan, staked $250 on the Cardinals making the World Series at 500 to 1 odds.

    Feeling optimistic, he put another $250 down on his team winning the World Series at 999 to 1 odds.

    The Cardinals blazed through September picking up win after win, upset after upset.

    In October, with the help of a furry-tailed talisman, they took down the heavily favored Phillies.

    Then defeated the Rangers in 7 games to win the series.

    The payout? $375,000

6. Yasuhiro Kubo Bets His Life on Banzai Skydive

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    Look closely at the gentleman pictured left in the photo above.

    That is the face of insanity. 

    Or luck.

    Or ballsiness.

    Meet Yasuhiro Kubo, skydiver.

    His bet?

    He could toss his parachute out of an airplane...

    wait for almost a minute...

    then jump after it.

    Somehow he made it.

    Payout? Life.

5. British Man Plays 25,000-1 Odds at Ascot Racecourse

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    Ascot Racecourse - Champions Day, 1996

    The morning of the races, famous jockey Frankie Dettori, skilled as he was, said, "I could have an each-way chance in the first, and I may win the third."

    Darren Yates, a compulsive bettor with a failing carpentry business, had more faith in Dettori.

    Despite Yate's wife saying, "'You've wasted quite enough money on that Frankie Dettori, don't keep betting on him", Yates went on and placed a bet. 

    He wagered £67.58 (a little bit over 100 US bucks) in combining all seven of Dettori's mounts. That's right, Dettori had to be riding the winning horse in each of the seven races for Yates to cash in.

    Yates then went off to play soccer with friends.

    Looked like it wasn't his day as his team lost the game 4-0.

    Things did turn around a bit when Dettori pulled off the incredible.

    Payout? £550,823 (over $860,000 USD).

4. Billy Walters Bets 3.5 Million on Super Bowl XLIV

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    Billy Walters, a man so damn lucky that "many Las Vegas bookmakers are afraid to even take his bets."

    Still even for a multi-millionaire, $3.5 million on an underdog is a reckless bet.

    Walters himself thinks so. In a 60 Minutes interview he said, "I got caught up in the moment. I started betting, and because the limits are so large in the Super Bowl, I actually bet more money than I intended to bet." 

    Poor Billy; now he has to deal with being $3.5 million dollars richer.

3. Dime on a Saratoga Superfecta

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    For those not in the know, a superfecta bet is a wager in which you pick the four horses that will come in first... and in the correct order.

    On August 23, 2008 in Saratoga Springs, NY an ridiculously unlikely combo of 4 horses took the top four spots in race 7.

    (Pictured above is first-place winning horse Slambino. Odds on winning were 88-1.)

    Two off-site bettors picked the superfecta winning combo. They both purchased dime tickets.

    Not a dime in the slang $10,000 sense, an actual dime. Ten US cents. 

    Payout? About 76 dimes each.

    (And yes, now I AM using dime in the slang $10,000 sense.)

2. Xabi Alonso Goal Pays out Big Time

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    Adrian Hayward had a dream in July 2005 that Liverpool player Xabi Alonso would score a goal from his end of the field some time during the season.

    He placed a bet of £200 ( $313 USD) at 125-1 odds.

    Bookmaker Paddy Power said " When he placed the bet we thought it was the easiest £200 we had ever made."

    The following January, Liverpool was playing Luton Town in the FA Cup 3rd round.

    And this happened.

    Payout? £25000 ($43,880 USD)

1. Mick Gibbs Wins 15-Fold Accumulator

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    In 2001, Mick Gibbs, a roofer from Staffordshire, England bet 30 pence (about 47 US cents) on an insane accumulator bet.  

    It was 15-fold.

    Yeah, he had to pick the winners in 15 soccer matches.

    His odds? 1,666,666-1

    The final game of his mega-bet came down to a Champions League match between Bayern Munich and Valencia.

    The game went to penalties. See highlights here.

    Bayern won a trophy.

    Gibbs won 500,000£ ($784,000 USD).