They say that everyone loves an underdog.
There is something heroic and romantic about a person or team coming out of nowhere to defy the odds and achieve something that no-one ever thought possible.
The win feels more special, the journey feels more dramatic, and the achievement feels better deserved.
So it’s true, everyone does love an underdog, but even more so if you had the foresight to bet on them.
Betting odds are a reflection of expert opinion mixed with public opinion. The bookies tell you what they think will happen by setting their odds, then the market gets involved and the odds move around based on what the guy on the street thinks.
If odds are too generous they will be taken more often and will therefore shorten, however, if the odds are as long as those listed on this page, they are usually like that for a reason, and probably won’t move much at all.
You wouldn’t back a runner with a broken leg even if the odds were a million to one, but somewhere between that very extreme example and reality, are those selections with super long odds that do actually have a tiny sliver of a chance.
If you were to regularly bet at these sorts of odds you would almost never see any of your bets win, but every now and again a player, team, or animal will surprise us and do the unthinkable. Or else freak circumstances create a winning opportunity that was mega unlikely before.
The stories on this page are proof that miracles do happen in the world of betting from time to time.
Highest Odds Winnings Bets
|15/05/2016||Football||Premier League||Leicester to Win the League||5000/1|
|29/10/2011||Baseball||2011 World Series||St Louis Cardinals to Win World Series||999/1|
|20/07/2003||Golf||The Open||Ben Curtis to Win The Open||500/1|
|24/05/2022||Horse Racing||Maiden Hurdle at Punchestown||Sawbuck To Win||300/1|
|13/08/2020||Horse Racing||EBF Maiden at Leopardstown||He Knows No Fear To Win||300/1|
|09/07/2001||Tennis||Wimbledon||Goran Ivanisevic to win the Mens Singles||250/1|
|21/11/1990||Horse Racing||Novices' Handicap Hurdle at Kelso||Equinoctial To Win||250/1|
|04/07/2004||Football||Euro 2004||Greece to Win||150/1|
Why Would Someone Take a Bet at Such Long Odds?
It does seem a bit silly, doesn’t it?
It’s basically like the whole world is telling you that something is a bad idea and you go and do it anyway – but as we have seen, these long odds bets do sometimes come off.
As for why anyone would take them, well it sort of depends on the sport to a point, but also on the individual.
Personally, if I have a small amount left in my betting account I sometimes bung it on something at really long odds on the off chance, because i’m feeling lucky and i’m more interested in the tiny chance of a big win than the better chance of a small win.
I could stick my last £1.20 on something at 3/1 and stand to win £3.60… big whoop… or I could YOLO it on a 100/1 long shot and take £120 from the bookies on the off chance that it wins. I’m not going to miss that £1.20 if I lose regardless of which option I go for, and I won’t notice the meagre win at 3/1 either, but i’ll definitely feel the benefit of an extra £120.
That’s just me though, other people prefer trying to build their pot slowly but surely.
In the case of football supporters betting on their team to win a league or competition, well, taking super long odds is probably more down to loyalty and emotion. I doubt many Leicester fans thought they could actually win the league in 2016, but a decent number of fans took that bet, because they love their club, and you never know, right?
Longer odds upsets are more frequent in sports like horse racing where there are a greater number of competitors, and where it is more difficult to asses the horse’s potential performance on the day, so people might bet at long odds here as part of a longer term strategy. Equally, they might have followed the horse in question since its’ first race and know everything about it, and so can see an opportunity that others cannot.
Taking long odds is a bit like playing the lottery for some people, whereas for others, they genuinely think they have spotted an opportunity where the bookie has messed up.