It’s said that the biggest ever sports bet win came in 2017, when a punter staked $8 million on the Dodgers winning the World Series. While that bet remains something of an urban legend, there are many sizeable sports bets that have definitely been placed and made their punter a tidy fortune. From the Open to UEFA Champions League, you’ll find some of the biggest sports wins there have ever been right here on our list…

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McIlroy senior knew he was on to an Open winner 

Rory McIlroy is Northern Ireland’s most decorated golfer of all-time, and he could yet retire as the most prolific player from the UK. 

However, back in 2004, Rory was just a 15-year-old golfing prodigy without a senior tournament win to his name. But this was all fine for his father, Gerry, who knew he was on to an Open winner. 

Gerry placed a £200 (made equally with a friend) bet on Rory winning the Open. Rory duly obliged a decade later, making his father and his friend £50,000 each

Carpenter builds a £550,000 fortune, thanks to Frankie Dettori 

Few jockeys are as well-known as Frankie Dettori – he’s a TV celebrity, a loveable charmer, and the man who rode all seven winners on British Champions’ Day at Ascot in 1996. He’s also a gentleman who helped a carpenter build a £550,000 fortune. 

Darren Yates had bet £60 on Frankie taking the unprecedented step of winning those seven Ascot races in 1996, getting odds of 25,000/1. 

With such long odds on his wager coming good, Darren played a game of football with his friends while Frankie – losing 4-0. While he won’t have been too happy at his team getting trounced, Darren probably forgave himself for his performance, after his winning bet on Frankie netted him £550,000!

US football fan brings home a $100,000 parlay win 

Parlay betting is where you bet on multiple sports teams winning – anything from two to, well, all the sports teams on the globe! Back in 2015, 26-year-old Tayla Polia placed a $5 parlay bet that made her a lot of money! 

Tayla had only made one previous wager in her entire life, but decided to bet on the outcome of 15 different NFL games – including the number of points the teams would win by! 

She bet on: Vikings (-5), Falcons (+3), Texans (+1), Chiefs (-8), Redskins (+1), Patriots (-14), Cardinals (-4), Giants (+5), Seahawks (-14), Packers (-3), Chargers (-2), Steelers (-6), Steelers/ Broncos (over 45), Bengals (-4), and Lions (+3). 

When the final result came in, Tayla was $100,000 richer! 

Man Utd fan bets against his team & wins £500,000

As not only a football lover but a Man Utd fan too, this bet makes me a little sick. Back in August, an unnamed man, said to be a Red Devil, bet that the 1999 treble winners wouldn’t triumph in Europe at the end of the 2000/01 season. He was right and netted him a big win. 

The gentlemen placed a 15-event accumulator, predicting the champions of the 5 major English leagues, the 3 top Scottish Leagues successors, cricket County Championship victors, Rugby Union winners, and the team that would claim that season’s Champions League trophy. 

With 14 of his predictions coming good, it all came down to the Champions League final – a sporting event that comes with plenty of odds. Having staked £0.30 at odds of 1.66 million to one, the punter stood to win £500,000 if the result went in his favour. Bayern Munich won the match and he got his win – And on reflection, he might have been OK with Bayern knocking out Utd at the quarter-finals stage.

Lewis Hamilton steers prescient fan to a big racing win

Formula One is among the most cash-rich sports on the planet – it costs millions just to gain an extra second for constructors. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it leads to some of the biggest bets in sports. However, what is surprising is that one man bet Lewis Hamilton being a future champion a full decade before he got his win. 

Richard Hopkins spotted Lewis’ gift for racing when the driver was just 13. Richard was so impressed by Lewis’ skills that he bet £200 he would win a Grand Prix by the age of 23, along with World Championships by the time he reached 25. 

Both of Richard’s bets came good in 2008, when Lewis claimed his first World Championship title – he nearly won it in 2007, his first season in Formula One. As a result of Lewis’ success, Richard made a total win of £165,000. 

There are so many sports and so many different types of bets that you can place on them – part of the fun is that you can decide to make a crazy bet (like Rory McIlroy’s dad did) and you’ll get the odds from at least one betting site or office. 

However, for every big sports bet win there are countless losses. This means that you have to remember every time you do make a bet that you’re doing it for the right reason – to have fun, not chase a big cash windfall.

Matthew Beedle

Handicap: 2.7

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