The Super Bowl is almost here, which means football fans are pretty excited – and gamblers are going out of their mind bonkers. No doubt we've seen some classic games over the last 46 Super Bowls, but people throwing wads of cash at their bookies don't need a close game, they need a coin toss-first sideline reporter-Gatorade bath trifecta to hit. Between boxes, props, point spreads, money lines, the Puppy Bowl and all the other madness associated with the big game, some serious cash passes hands every Super Bowl.
Phil Mickelson Bets On The Ravens To Win It All
There was that time back in 2000 that golfer and man-boob advocate Phil Mickelson wagered $20,000 on the Baltimore Ravens to win it all before the season started. Ray Lewis and the Stabettes were 22-to-1 to pick up the Vince Lombardi trophy in September of that season but went on to shock the world by blowing out the Giants 34-7, netting Mickelson a cool $560,000.
Sir Charles Picks The Pats Before That Made Sense
Then there's America's favorite loudmouth Charles Barkley, who we all should've followed onto the New England Patriots' bandwagon before it was popular. Barkley was so confident in the Pats covering as 14 point underdogs, he threw $550,000 on the Pats against the spread and another 50 grand on the money line. You all know what happened on the field, but off the field, Barkley had to fight for his cash. Apparently his credit line shouldn't have been permitted to place a bet that big, but Sir Charles fought the Mandalay Bay and wound up cashing in to the tune of $800,000.
Giants Score First With A Safety
Obviously big bet payouts aren't limited to the rich and famous – dumb luck pays out just as big even if nobody has ever heard of you. Real estate man and huge Giants fan Jonah Rechnitz picked a popular prop bet (first score) using an unpopular choice (safety?!). You know what happened by now. The Giants forced Tom Brady into intentional grounding from his own end zone to put the Giants up 2-0 to begin Super Bowl XLVI. Rechnitz dropped a G on the ticket to net $50,000 at 50-to-1 odds. As unlikely as his victory was, his reaction was even weirder. Rechnitz vowed to give away all of that cash to charity. What a waste...
Billy Walters Goes Big On The Underdog Saints
Then there are the Vegas pros. The big timers. While nobody at the big time casinos likes to share too much information ("What happens there, stays there" and all of that) rumors have swirled over plenty of big action going down on the big game involving gambling's biggest names. Heading into Super Bowl XLIV, every football fan in the universe liked the Indianapolis Colts to beat the New Orleans Saints – except for sports betting legend Billy Walters. Walters' elaborate set of stats actually spit out the Saints as favorites so he went HUGE on the Saints – placing $3.5 million on the underdogs from New Orleans. He admits he bet more than he anticipated because limits are so high for Super Bowl games, but it all worked out in the end. No one knows the final total he actually won, but you can imagine it's a pretty penny.
Mr. Las Vegas Wins Even Though The Bengals Lose
There was also the time back in 1989 when a man named Bob Stupak, who was better known as "Mr. Las Vegas," wagered a million bucks on the underdog Cincinnati Bengals (-7) against the San Francisco 49ers. The Bengals may have lost, but thanks to their cover, Mr. Las Vegas did not. (Always the pro, rumor has it Stupak hedged at halftime with a smaller bet on the Niners.)
Casinos Can Be Winners, Too, Ya Know
While you're worrying about how to pay off your $1 pick against the spread, sports books have to worry about every single wager involved in the game. All of the action on Super Bowl Sunday adds up to big sums, but some bets stand out more than others. The second biggest upset in Super Bowl history, the aforementioned Pats over Rams upset in 2002, netted the MGM Resorts Race & Sports Books $4.8 million.
Off of one ticket. Some pour soul was so confident in the Rams that year he bet on Kurt Warner's boys to win the game outright. The identity of the bettor has never been revealed, but we're guessing (hoping?) that was his last wager ever.
Super Bowl gambling history is full of instances where bettors went big on underdogs or crazy props (think about the New York Giants upsetting the then undefeated New England Patriots for the former and William "The Refrigerator" Perry scoring a touchdown for the latter). So where's the safe money for this year's big game? Who cares, if you want to win big, you've got to pick against the grain and hold on for dear life. Good luck out there.