Betting on sports – or their predecessors, like duels and hunts – is as old as humanity’s competitive nature. Most sports bets are placed after careful consideration of the odds of a specific outcome, but often punters will let their hand be guided by enthusiasm instead of logic, betting with their hearts. The result is usually disappointing – except in the cases I am going to recall in the article below.
Does the name Roger Federer ring a bell? Of course it does! Today he is a star, but there was a time when he was just a beginner. Back in 2003, when Federer won his first grand slam title in Wimbledon, nobody knew how his career will continue – except for one man from Oxfordshire called Nick Newlife. Newlife placed a bet on Federer winning six more grand slams until 2019. The bet amount was £1,520 (almost $2,400) at odds of 66 to 1. Federer won his seventh grand slam in 2012, but unfortunately Newlife didn’t live to see him succeed. The punter left his ticket to Oxfam, a charitable organization in the United Kingdom, which collected over £100,000 in winnings.
Scoring from beyond the midfield line is not something you see very often at a soccer game. Actually, it happens so rarely that it surely makes the news. A Liverpool fan had a dream of his favorite team’s Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso scoring such a goal in 2005. He was so convinced that his dream would come true that he sought out a bookmaker to allow such a bet, and he wagered on it – at odds of 125 to 1, close to winning a jackpot at the Royal Vegas. His bet was worth £200 (a bit over $300 at today’s exchange rates). Needless to say that Alonso made his dream come true – he scored a goal from beyond the midfield, making the lucky British soccer fan £25,000 richer (that’s over $35,000).
So, let us continue with soccer. One of the largest scandals of last year’s FIFA World Cup was an Uruguayan sportsman called Luis Suarez behaving like a rabid dog, biting one of his adversaries. It might have come as a shock for many fans, but it certainly wasn’t a surprise for Swedish bookmaker Betsson, who offered their punters a such a bet at odds of 175 to 1. Fortunately for the bookmaker there were only 167 people insane enough to take that bet – most of them only bet $5 on Luis Suarez’s snappy habits. The highest bet on Suarez biting someone was $18 – which paid out “only” $3,300.
Betting with your heart is not always a good idea, but sometimes – as the above examples show – can make you… well, at least richer.