Leicester City completed what is perhaps the most fantastic sports betting story of all time by securing the 2016 Premier League title on Monday. The Foxes’ odds to win the title were 5,000/1 when the season started.
Tottenham needed a win at Chelsea on Monday to keep its hopes of surpassing Leicester in the EPL standings alive, but Spurs managed only a draw.
For some perspective on what 5,000-to-1 odds mean:
— The Browns are only 150/1 to win next season’s Super Bowl.
— The longest odds on any team winning the 2017 college football championship are 1,000/1 and that group includes teams like Navy, Wake Forest and Kentucky. Good luck with that.
— British bookmaker William Hill is offering 5,000-to-1 odds on Elvis Pressley being found alive.
Big odds hurt books
When a longshot of this magnitude actually wins, bookies are bound to get hurt.
According to an ESPN report, three of the largest betting shops in England lost a collective $11.4 million (£7.7 million) as a result of Leicester’s triumph. Ladbrokes will pay out $6.6 million on what it calls the longest odds ever to pay off on a single event. William Hill lost about $3.2 million, and BetFred about $1.6 million. In a promotional twist, BetFred actually declared Leicester City the champion of April 3 for betting purposes.
On its Twitter feed, William Hill detailed some of the bets it booked on Leicester.
Twenty-five of the book’s customers backed Leicester at the original 5,000-to-1 odds, the largest bet at that price being £20 to win £100,000 (about $29 to win $145,965) and the smallest 5 pence to win £250 (about $365). The biggest winner on Leicester was a gambler who placed £75 at 1500-to-1 odds for a £112,500 payday ($110 wager paid $164,000).
The books learned their lesson on Leicester, opening the club at 25/1 to repeat as champions next season. Interestingly, the Foxes are listed at a shorter price to finish in the bottom three of the standings and be relegated to the second division, at 16/1.