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How it feels to turn $30 into $30,000 with a 1,000/1 long-shot bet

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How do you win a 1,001/1 long-shot bet in a Formula 1 race? Well, it involves Wikipedia, a plastic bag, and a racer who really wanted to protect his course record.  

Let’s rewind.

I get into work on Thursday morning at the Covers head office. I grab my coffee, sit down at my desk and within a few minutes, I’m chatting with Mike Poole. He’s a big F1 guy and he’s sitting at his computer, looking for some solid bets for this weekend’s race: the Singapore Grand Prix.

“I’ve got the bet,” Mike tells me. “Kevin Magnussen to record the fastest lap at 1,001/1.”

I chuckle and kind of laugh it off. I’ve never heard of Kevin Magnusson. It doesn’t help Mike’s case that when I look over at his computer, he’s reading an article on Wikipedia. The internet’s free encyclopedia generally isn’t a place I’d trust for handicapping information.

But Mike keeps talking and has a strong case for it. He tells me Magnussen recorded the fastest lap in 2018 and owns the course record for fastest lap. He set it last year.

Now my ears perk up: 1,001/1 odds for the guy who owns the record at this course. Now we’re onto something.

I ask how Magnussen is doing this year.

“Not well, he keeps getting penalized,” Mike tells me.

Well, that doesn’t matter for fastest lap.

I log onto one of the sportsbooks I use, MoPlay, and see him listed at 1,001/1. Alright, that’s worth $10. I bet it.

Then another co-worker says he sees Magnusson for fastest lap at even better odds at another site. I didn’t have an account at that sportsbook but I decided to check Bet365 to see its odds. Magnusson was also listed at 1,001/1. As it turns out, Bet365 had given me a $20 bet credit for being a loyal customer a day earlier.

“Ah, let’s go for a huge payout,” I said to Mike. So I throw the $20 bet credit on it, too.

Mike informs me the race will be on TV on Sunday morning. I tell him I won’t be watching but I expect him to text me and tell me I’m $30,000 richer. That would make for a great Sunday morning.

Saturday night rolls along and I get a text from Mike. He tells me Magnusson finished dead last in qualifying.

Mike Poole's text about Formula 1 betting

Sunday morning comes and I forget the race is even happening. In fact, I was outside washing my car while acting as the adult on duty as my three-year-old son and some of the other neighborhood kids ran around our cul-de-sac. Then my phone starts buzzing.

Mike Poole's text message about Formula 1 betting

At this point, I’m losing my shit. Then I’m thinking I’m going to lose this bet on the final lap. The bad beat of the century. Then I remember Mike telling me he always gets penalized, so I figure he’ll get DQ’d or something.

My wife comes outside to find me staring at my phone instead of watching the kids or washing the car. She starts to say something but I interrupt her.

“I think I just won $30,000,” I blurted out.

“What!?! OK, I’ll watch the kids,” she says.

Then Mike sends me this link:

It’s the smallest of consolations but on fresh tires and in clean air, @KevinMagnussen clocks the fastest lap of the race! 1:42.301 was the time. #HaasF1 #SingaporeGP pic.twitter.com/RAKTajc4qp

— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) September 22, 2019

Wow. It actually happened.

I spent the next 10 minutes or so refreshing the balances at MoPlay and Bet365. And then this:

Payout slips for fastest lap at the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix

There it is. The long shot of a lifetime actually hit.

I spent the rest of the day doing normal things — playing with the kids, going to a picnic lunch for my mom’s birthday, etc. I’m trying not to think about it much, but, of course, it’s the only thing I can think of. We finally get the kids to bed and my wife and I celebrate with a bottle of wine.

Monday morning rolls along and I get back to the office. By now, word has gotten around about the win and everyone in the office is talking about. At one point, someone asks me what lap it was that Magnusson recorded the fastest time. I realize I don’t have a clue how it actually happened. But Mike was watching and the story of how Magnusson held onto his fastest lap title is incredible.

About halfway through the race, Magnussen was coasting, bouncing back and forth between 12th and 15th place or so, and all of a sudden he charges up the standings with a few really quick laps. They weren’t quick enough for fastest lap as Charles LeClerc had put down an amazing lap time earlier, but Magnusson is now in the Top 10.

Then, at roughly lap 50-55 of 61 Magnussen takes a turn too wide and gets passed by a few drivers, bumping him out of the Top 10 with only a few laps remaining. At this point, Mike figures the bet is done.

Then, all of a sudden Magnussen takes a third pit stop. Now, something is up. Most racers only pit twice at Singapore. Mike notices that they switch him back over to soft tires. He also sacrificed about six positions in the standings.

Mike can’t believe what’s happening. He’s thinking that the only reason he’d pit a third time, go back to soft tires, and let others pass him is that he wants a shot at the fastest lap. Turns out, the pit stop was for a different reason altogether:

Frustration for @KevinMagnussen, who was in the points for much of today’s race.

Full quotes here 👉 https://t.co/8XWOByo9gY pic.twitter.com/p82RGwzFxK

— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) September 22, 2019

Yup. A plastic bag.

Magnusson gets back on the track and on laps 55-59, he’s falling further and further behind, as he is seemingly allowing drivers to pass him to open up the track. Then lap 60 hits. Only two laps to go. There’s the time-limit issue. With five laps remaining there were only 10 minutes left on the timer, so time is ticking. Magnusson might not even be allowed to finish these two laps.

Mike’s watching the television broadcast, which obviously isn’t focusing on the guy who’s now in dead last. The checkered flag drops and the TV broadcast starts showing the leaderboard. And what do you know… the pink stopwatch (denoting fastest lap) appears next to Kevin Magnusson’s name.

Kevin Magnusson pink stopwatch

Mike jumps out of his chair and starts flipping out. He’s yelling so loud that he woke up his wife, who was trying to get some sleep after working the night shift at the hospital. She thought something was wrong.

Mike tells her he just won a lot of money. She rolls her eyes, as it’s not uncommon for Mike to overreact. He tells her how much. Now she’s awake and listening intently.

As for my wife?

“We’re going to save most of that money, right?” she asks me as we’re sipping on our $12 bottle of red wine on Sunday evening.

“Yes, most of it,” I reply. “But how about we use some of it for a family trip to Mexico during the winter?”

Or, maybe Singapore?

 

Unbeaten Aztecs to start hot, and the NCAA basketball best bets you need to make this weekend

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The San Diego State Aztecs will look to keep their perfect season going on Sunday, while Texas Tech and Kentucky tangle in a matchup between two Top-20 teams on Saturday night. Rohit Ponnaiya digs into the college basketball odds and brings you his favorite bets and predictions for the weekend.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

The game of the night Friday will take place in the Big East as Marquette tangles with Butler. After falling 76-61 to Villanova on Tuesday (which made us a bit of money), Butler has now lost three straight games after beginning the season with a 15-1 record. In Butler’s last three games they’ve allowed 112.3 points per 100 possessions and a large reason for that is that they’ve been sending opposing teams to the line. Over that three game span they’ve given foes an average of 26.7 free throw attempts per game.

That’s bad news against a Marquette squad that has scored at least 82 points in each of it’s last three games and is led by the leading scorer in the country in Markus Howard. Howard has averaged 35 points per game over his last five contests and has averaged 12.5 FTA over his last two. As a team the Golden Eagles know how to get to the line, attempting 23.6 free throws per game, 18th highest in the country. We like the Over 64.5 on Marquette’s team total. 

EVERYTHING IS BIGGER IN TEXAS

Two Top-20 teams face off in the Lone Star State on Saturday as the Kentucky Wildcats travel to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 6:00 p.m ET. This matchup should get plenty of action with the Red Raiders coming off a Final Four finish while Kentucky is…well Kentucky.

Texas Tech is coming off a road loss against TCU but is 9-1 at home. Chris Beard’s Red Raiders are known for their defensive intensity and this year’s squad ranks 7th in the country in adjusted defensive efficiency according to the KenPom rating system. That said, Kentucky ranks 42nd in defensive efficiency and 32nd in offensive efficiency (while Texas Tech ranks 97th on offense).

Kentucky has three guards (Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley and Tyrese Maxey) that love to apply pressure on opposing ball-handlers while also being able to create their own shot. With Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery, Calipari’s squad has a (pardon the pun) big edge in size and rebounding ability. And unlike past editions of the Wildcats, this team has plenty of veteran experience so don’t expect them to be rattled playing in hostile territory.

We’re expecting Texas Tech to have the chalk and backing UK as the likely underdog, but if public action makes the Wildcats the faves the value will be on the Red Raiders.

HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN DEVILS

It’s the battle of Arizona on Saturday night as the Arizona State Sun Devils host the Arizona Wildcats. These teams met up on January 4, with the Wildcats routing ASU by a score of 75-47. But don’t expect to see a repeat of that score with the Sun Devils now enjoying home-court advantage.

The Wildcats led by guard Nico Mannion and big man Zeke Nnaji are 13-5 but they have been very beatable when playing outside of Tucson. They’re 9-2 ATS at home but just 1-6 ATS on the road and at neutral sites. They have an average scoring margin of plus-26.6 ppg at home but that falls to minus-1 ppg away from home.

The Sun Devils also play way better in front of their home crowd, outscoring opponents by a margin of plus-15.7 ppg in Tempe, compared to minus-7.2 ppg when they have to travel. Take the home side to cover as underdogs.

THE LAST OF THE UNBEATENS

The last unbeaten team in the country are the No. 4 San Diego Aztecs who head to Vegas to take on the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels on Sunday. The Aztecs have an aggressive defense and have been holding opponents to just 56.7 ppg on 36.7 percent shooting. But SDSU has been effective on the offensive end of the floor as well, ranking 14th in the country in offensive efficiency.

UNLV has been solid, winning seven of the their last nine games and going 6-3 ATS, but they might be out of their depth here. Their two losses during that span were by 14 points against Nevada and seven points against Boise State. The Aztecs beat Nevada by 13 points and clobbered BSU by 18 after leading by 23 points at halftime.

UNLV has been sloppy with the ball turning the ball over 14.6 times per game, second-worst among all Mountain West teams. SDSU has just 11.1 turnovers per game on offense while their pesky defense forces 15.2 TO per game. The full game spread might be a bit too rich for our blood but with the Aztecs fifth in the nation with an average first-half scoring margin of plus-9.2 ppg, look for them to cover the 1H spread. 

MID-MAJOR TO WATCH: DAYTON (17-2 SU, 11-8 ATS, 13-6 O/U)

Dayton is flying up the rankings currently sitting at No. 7. Their 17-2 record is even more impressive when you consider that both defeats were in overtime to quality opponents, falling 90-84 to Kansas and 78-76 to Colorado.

Led by forward Obi Toppin (19.5 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 62.3 percent shooting) the Flyers are first in the country in field goal percentage at 52.5 percent and rank third in scoring with 83 ppg. On Saturday they take on the Richmond Spiders who can also fill up the basket converting at a clip of 47.5 percent from the field, including a sizzling 57.6 percent from the floor over their last three games. The Over is worth looking at.

NATIONAL TITLE ODDS

Gonzaga isn’t a program to sleep on anymore, currently sitting at No. 1 in the polls and with the best odds to win the National Championship at +1000. The Zags have the top rated offense in the nation, putting up 88.8 ppg on 50.6 percent shooting and those numbers jump up to 93.5 ppg and 52.5 percent at home.

On Saturday, Gonzaga hosts Pacific and will probably be favored by more than 20 points. Gonzaga is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings at home between the two teams dating back to 2016, and the average score of those games was 80-52 in favor of Gonzaga.

If you want to look at a team that’s tumbled down the odds board look no further than the Memphis Tigers who came into the season at +1300 after a terrific recruiting class. After top freshman James Wiseman was suspended and then chose to leave the school, Memphis has looked ugly, coming off a 80-40 smackdown at the hands of Tulsa on Wednesday night. The Tigers currently sit at +6000 odds and even that might be generous. Memphis will try to get back on track on Saturday as they host SMU.

BETTING TRENDS

• By holding Memphis to just 40 points, Tulsa managed to cash the Under for the sixth game in a row. The Golden Hurricanes are 15-4 to the Under and will take on UConn on Sunday. Thanks to a defense that ranks inside the Top-50 teams in the country in opponent FG percentage and an offense that ranks outside the Top-250 in FG percentage, the Huskies have also been a great Under bet, going below the total in 12 of their last 16 contests.

• Virginia has been awful on offense, terrific on defense and plays at the slowest pace in Div 1. But oddsmakers might set the total for their Sunday matchup on the road against Wake Forest a tad too low. The Demon Deacons have gone 8-0-1 to the Over in their last nine games and are 7-1 O/U at home this season.

• Austin Peay is 7-0 ATS in their last seven games overall and is a perfect 6-0 ATS at home this season. On Saturday, the Governors will host the Belmont Bruins in a Ohio Valley Conference matchup. The Bruins are coming off a 10-point loss on the road against Murray State and have failed to cover in their last two away contests.

NHL Midseason betting review: Stanley Cup futures odds and best bets

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With the NHL heading into the All-Star break we take a look the updated futures odds to win the Stanley Cup as well as the best and worst teams to wager on in terms of Moneyline, Puckline and Over/Under bets.

Despite Washington leading the way for the Presidents’ Trophy this season, Tampa Bay still has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup. The Lightning are followed by the Boston Bruins and the defending Stanley Cup champions the St. Louis Blues.

On the other hand, the Toronto Maple Leafs have fallen outside the Top-5 and now sit at +2000, while the San Jose Sharks have plummeted from a Stanley Cup contender to a +8000 long shot.

Here are every teams’ odds to win the Stanley Cup, courtesy of the Superbook at Westgate:

Teams Odds to win Stanley Cup (as of Jan 23)
Tampa Bay Lightning +600
Boston Bruins +800
St. Louis Blues +800
Washington Capitals +1,000
Colorado Avalanche +1,000
Vegas Golden Knights +1,000
Pittsburgh Penguins +1,200
Dallas Stars +1,200
Arizona Coyotes +1,600
Florida Panthers +2,000
Toronto Maple Leafs +2,000
Vancouver Canucks +2,000
Edmonton Oilers +2,500
Calgary Flames +2,500
New York Islanders +4,000
Carolina Hurricanes +4,000
Nashville Predators +4,000
Columbus Blue Jackets +4,000
Philadelphia Flyers +5,000
Winnpeg Jets +5,000
Minnesota Wild +6,000
San Jose Sharks +8,000
Montreal Canadiens +10,000
New York Rangers +10,000
Buffalo Sabres +10,000
Chicago Blackhawks +10,000
Los Angelas Kings +50,000
Anahiem Ducks +100,000
Ottawa Senators +200,000
New Jersey Devils +200,000
Detroit Red Wings +1,000,000

The Capitals don’t just have the best record in the league, they’ve also been the best Over bet as well as the top team to back on the moneyline returning a profit of +9.35 units for bettors this season.

Thanks to rookie goalie Elvis Merzlikins and a group of forwards that can’t find the back of the net, the Columbus Blue Jackets have been the NHL’s best Under bet. The top team to back on the puckline as a favorite has been the surprising Vancouver Canucks who lead the Pacific Division.

While the Golden Knights were sweating sportsbooks when they made their Cinderella run to the Stanley Cup Finals two years ago, oddsmakers have made some of that money back this season as the Knights have been the second-worst money team in the league. The Knights are still way ahead of Detroit who has cost bettors dearly with a loss of almost 20 units.

BEST OVER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Washington Capitals 31-18
Florida Panthers 30-17
Nashville Predators 28-17
Toronto Maple Leafs 28-18
Tampa Bay Lightning 27-20

BEST UNDER BETS

Teams Over/Under
Colombus Blue Jackets 18-32
Dallas Stars 16-29
Carolina Hurricanes 21-29
San Jose Sharks 21-28
Calgary Flames 20-27

BEST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Washington Capitals $935
New York Islanders $700
Colombus Blue Jackets $605
Pittsburgh Penguins $596
New York Rangers $567

WORST MONEY BETS

Teams Total Money Won (based on 100$ bets)
Detroit Red Wings $-1992
Las Vegas Golden Knights $-1010
Los Angelas Kings $-916
San Jose Sharks $-895
Toronto Maple Leafs $-829

BEST PUCKLINE TEAMS AT -1.5 

Teams Total Money Won as Puckline Favorite (PL record as favorite)
Vancouver Canucks $840 (11-12)
Colorado Avalanche $771 (14-14)
Chicago Blackhawks $480 (7-8)
Florida Panthers $410 (13-17)
New York Rangers $375 (5-5)