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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?

 

VanVleet picks up where he left off in the playoffs, and the NBA bets you need to make Tuesday

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Opening day of the 2019-20 NBA season is here with the defending champion Toronto Raptors hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. The late matchup pairs the top two choices to win it all, according to the NBA betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers taking on the new-look Los Angeles Clippers. 

If you’re betting on the NBA openers, we have the best bets and prop predictions for Tuesday’s two games.

BIG CHANGES IN THE BIG EASY

The Pelicans sport one of the most overhauled rosters in the NBA after trading Anthony Davis to the Lakers in exchange for Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and draft picks. New Orleans then selected Zion Williamson first overall in the draft, but unfortunately, his debut will have to wait as he is expected to miss the first couple of weeks with a knee injury. Some more big pickups include Derrick Favors and J.J. Redick.

Although Redick is playing for a new squad this year, while with Philadelphia he had success versus the Raptors in the playoffs, shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 41 percent from beyond the arc, and scored 15 or more points in four of those seven postseason games. With an increased role on the Pelicans and some good shooting numbers, back Over his points total of 16.5 on PointsBet.

NO HANGOVER HERE

The Raptors kick their season off playing a double-header with the first game at home to the Pelicans. The 2018-2019 season saw the Raptors set franchise records in points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, and 3-point shots made. A regression is expected with Toronto losing both Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green but still finds itself a 7-point favorite in the season opener.

With the Championship banner being hoisted, rings handed out, and the Raptors looking to start the schedule strong, look for them to take care of business and cover at home as 7-point favorites.

RIGHT SAID FRED

With Toronto PG Kyle Lowry undergoing surgery on his finger in the offseason, don’t be surprised to see big numbers out of Fred VanVleet in the first few games of the schedule.

Last season, VanVleet averaged 27.5 minutes with 11 points, 4.8 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game. Although this is a revamped Pelicans roster with many new faces, New Orleans struggled to defend opposing point guards last year, allowing 23.3 points per game and the league’s highest assists per game average at 9.1 to that position. If he carries over his postseason play, VanVleet will be a major player and offensive contributor for the defending champs. Take Over his assists total of 4.5.

BATTLE: LOS ANGELES

The Lakers start their second season with LeBron James at the helm but has more support behind him with guys like Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, and Danny Green. The Clippers were also busy in the offseason, adding MVP talents in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

George will not be playing in the opening game (out until November while recovering from shoulder surgery), which plays a major role in shaping this spread, which sees the Purple and Gold as short “home” favorites in the war for the Staples Center.

LeBron and the Lakers have a lot to prove after a terrible finish to 2018-19 and we like them to cover as 2.5-points favorites Tuesday.

DOWN TO DEFENSE

With both Leonard and Patrick Beverly on the floor, the Clippers will be a difficult team to score on. With George out of action and this L.A. offense not firing on all cylinders, the Clippers certainly have the defense to keep things close.

The Lakers have plenty of scoring options but miss out on the services of Kyle Kuzma (18.7 ppg in 2018-19), who will be sitting out in the opening game with a foot injury. While it’s Game 1 of an 82-game season, this Los Angeles rivalry could have playoff intensity right out of the gate. We like a lower-scoring game and the Under 225.5 points Tuesday night. 

Lakers vs Clippers NBA betting picks and predictions: Davis will dominate down low on opening night

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The 2019-2020 NBA season starts off with a bang tonight as two revamped teams with some of the best players in the world take to the court in Los Angeles as the Lakers face the Clippers. 

Expectations are sky-high for both teams after the Lakers added Anthony Davis as a running mate for Lebron James, while the Clippers are led by last year’s NBA Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard. These rivals will be highly motivated to begin the season with a win and stake an early claim as the best team in the league.

We break down the odds for the Battle of L.A. and give you five of our best bets and predictions.

QUICK HITTER

The biggest move the Lakers made in the offseason was obviously the addition of Anthony Davis. But he’s not the only new face with Danny Green, Quinn Cook, Dwight Howard, and Avery Bradley all in line to receive significant minutes in their rotation.

The Clippers have also gone through a makeover adding Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Maurice Harkless. While George won’t play until at least mid-November after undergoing shoulder surgery, the other two should log major minutes.

Playing together in practice and the preseason is no substitute for the actual defensive intensity of an NBA game. So expect both offenses to take some time to gell and back the Under on the 1Q total.

PICK: First Quarter Under 58 (-115)

FIRST HALF BET

The first quarter might see from offensive jitters from both teams but they should begin to settle down after 12 minutes. Lebron James, in particular, should have little problem facilitating the offense while the underrated additions of Green and Cook should improve their three-point efficiency which was among the worst in the league last year.

On defense, they match up well with the Clippers with Lebron able to switch onto Leonard while Bradley can give Lou Williams fits. Rajon Rondo is listed as questionable with a calf injury but if he’s good to go that will be yet another Lakers defender that can pressure opposing ball-handlers.

The Lakers also have a height advantage which should help them win the battle on the boards and get more second chances. Bet on the Lakers to cover the short first-half spread.

PICK: First Half Lakers -1.5 (-120)

TEAM/PLAYER PROP

Davis looks like a great fit in the Lakers offense next to Lebron. The Brow can run the pick and roll, attack down low and hit jumpers when he needs to. He gets to face a Clippers team that was among the worst at defending inside last season, giving up 50.7 points per game in the paint. Montrezl Harrell, Ivica Zubac and JaMychal Green will have a major mismatch on their hands against the Lakers star.

Last year Davis combined for 41.8 points, rebounds and assists per game but that includes a stretch towards the end of the season where New Orleans severely limited his minutes. Before the All-Star break, he combined for 45.2 points, rebounds, and assists per contest. Take the Over on his PRA total tonight.

PICK: Anthony Davis – Points, Rebounds and Assists Over 41.5 (-115)

 

FULL GAME TOTAL

The O/U for this game opened at 227 on Saturday and has already dropped to 224 and for good reason. The Clippers should be terrific at defending on the perimeter with Patrick Beverly and Leonard while the Lakers will miss Kyle Kuzma’s production on the offensive end of the floor. Kuzma averaged 18.7 ppg last season but the forward is still recovering from a foot injury.

The Lakers should be much improved at defending the rim with Davis and Howard, which will force Leonard and Lou Williams to carry the offensive load.

The Lakers added plenty of experience and size in the offseason. That might be a formula for winning but also means that they added older players and guys that prefer to set up in the half-court rather than running the floor all game. Expect them to play at a slower pace than last season and take the Under 224.

PICK: Under 224 (-110)

FULL GAME SIDE

As we enter this new era of “Super-Duos” in the NBA the Clippers could find themselves at a disadvantage without one half of their duo. Leonard will do his part on both ends of the floor but the Clippers will need a heroic display from Lou Williams and improved defensive play from their big men if they want to hang with the Lakeshow.

The Clips won’t have an answer for AD and Lebron will come out as healthy and as motivated as he’s been in years. As the season goes on, expect Lakers coach Frank Vogel to start resting his superstars, but he has said that there won’t be any minutes restrictions for Lebron or Davis at the start of the year. Count on the Lakers viewing this as a statement game and back them to pull off the win while covering.

PICK: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5 (-105)