If you think netting a life-changing sum of cash betting on sports is just a pipe dream, these real life tales of sports betting success might just have you second-guessing. Each of these stories is proof that with a little guts, determination, and patience, that next big win could be just a wager away.
During the 2010 African Cup of Nations Mali was facing off against Angola at home. Consensus was that Angola were going to walk it. And with 11 minutes left of the match it certainly appeared that way. Mali was 4 goals down. And Angola was minutes away from clinching the victory everyone expected.
It was at this point that one man watching decided to place an in-play bet on the match ending in a draw. So said punter (who wished to remain anonymous) stuck a fiver on that outcome. Come 90 minutes, the score remained 4-0 for Angola and it looked as though the match was sewn up. The Angolan fans certainly seemed to think so.
But, this is a cautionary tale to all footy fans that it ain't over until the final whistle blows. Miraculously Mali scored 4 goals to level in injury time. And our anonymous gambler ended up with a cool £5,000 return.
Back in 2014, a dad walked into a bookmaker in Northern Ireland and asked the bookie what odds he'd get on his son (then a 15 year old unknown teenager) winning the British Golf Open within the next 10 years. The bookmaker threw out odds of 500-1. The dad dutifully stuck down £200 and left clutching his betting slip.
That gentleman was Gerry McIlroy, father of Rory McIlroy, who golfing fans might know won The Open back in 2014. Gerry's faith in his son's abilities had proved founded. Right on the cusp of the 10-year deadline he achieved the win his dad had believed he could a decade earlier. That bet made Gerry an astounding £100,000 return.
In 2016 it's fair to say that British football team Leicester astounded everyone, when they beat the competition to lift the 2015/16 Premier League trophy. It was a win no one could have predicted at the start of the season.
Not only did the win cause upset to second placers Chelsea, it also turned a few bookmakers in Britain green too. At the start of the season the idea of Leicester lifting the trophy was a joke. And bookies had offered odds of 5000-1 on this eventuality, which some gamblers had found impossible to resist.
Turns out it was them that had the last laugh. Bookmakers had to pay out a cumulative £25 million in total. But one Leicester fan was especially jubilant at her team's victory. Not only had they made history and delighted their supporters, but for 20-year-old Karishma Kapoor (who'd stuck just £2 on Leicester winning) she now found herself instantly £10,000 richer.
When Adrian Hayward placed a wager based on a dream he had, little did he know that within a year, that dream would become a reality, and he'd be £25,000 richer.
It was 2006 and in the third round of the FA Cup Luton was facing off against rivals Liverpool. One player, Xabi Alonso saw a golden opportunity to score. The goal was open, and so he went for it. Despite the fact that he was in his own team's half of the pitch at the time. Unbelievably the goal went in. The stadium erupted. It was the goal of the season, let alone the game.
But for Adrian, who had dreamt this scenario one-year previously, and wagered £200 on it happening at odds of 125 to 1, it was life altering. Little did Xabi Alonso know that his miraculous accomplishment had just netted Adrian a cool £25k.
Some wins can be bittersweet. This would definitely be the case for Nick Newlife who sadly would pass away before he could see his bet come true.
After Roger Federer won Wimbledon in 2013, Newlife took odds of 66 to 1 that Federer would go on to win 6 more titles before 2019. He staked a wager of £1,520.
In 2012 when Federer defeated Andy Murray, Newlife won his bet. Sadly, he'd died3 years before, so never lived to see a penny of the £101,840 payout he accumulated on the win. But he did have the foresight to acknowledge the betting slip in his will, promising that if it paid out, all the proceeds should be given to Oxfam. And so they were.
A lot of our tales of sports betting success sound as though they're scripted straight out of a film. And the story of Yorkshireman, Fred Craggs, is no exception.
On his 60th birthday Fred decided to put a 50p stake on an 8-horse accumulator. The selections he made were so outlandish that the bookmaker offered Fred odds of 2 million to 1. Thinking, as they would, that birthday boy Fred could kiss his 50p goodbye.
But,to every body'ssurprise,one after the other, each horse he picked placed. And on his 60th birthday Fred Craggs got a bigger present than he could ever have imagined. A £1 million payout on his 50p wager.
After 20 years of placing accumulators on the horses, in April 2017, one lucky online bettor (who again wished to remain anonymous) finally had his persistence pay off.
Having wagered just £19 on a five-horse selection running at Punchestown, the bettor netted a £823,000 return when his accumulator came out good. But, having neglected to check his betting slip before heading out with friends for the night, he wouldn't learn about his win until the early hours of the following day. Needless to say his discovery quickly sobered him up.
Coral, who had taken the bet, later confirmed the win was the biggest its bookmaker had ever paid out on a horse racing bet in the company's history.
Sticking with the horses, in 1996, jockey Frankie Dettori astounded everyone when he won all7 races he participated in at Ascot. An outcome bookmakers had taken 25,000 to 1 odds on.
Fortunately for one man, he saw fit to take the bet. In fact, Darren Yeats of Morecambe wagered £59 on Dettori completing the feat. A punt which led to him collecting a £550,000 win when Dettori nailed it.
Peterborough based Richard Hopkins saw Lewis Hamilton's potential as a Formula 1 racer way before he ascended to the world stage. In fact, Hamilton was just 13 years old when Hopkins wagered £200 on him winning a Grand Prix by the time he turned 23. A bet that came about when he noticed a then teenage Hamilton racing go carts against his own son.
Hopkins also bet that Hamilton would win the World Championships by age 25, and took further odds on both predictions coming true. When they later did, in 2008, Hopkins took home a total cumulative return of £165,000.
In 2013, A Manchester United fan netted himself £500,000 when he wagered 30p on a 15-part accumulator bet that hinged on Bayern Munich winning The Champions League.
He'd placed the bet at the very start of the season, when bookmakers had offered him more than a million to 1 odds on his selections coming good. But his good luck didn't end there. Together with correctly calling Bayern as the champs, the anonymous winner also correctly predicted the winners of the top 5 English leagues, Rugby Union, the Scottish divisions and the Surrey County Cricket Championships too.
Want to know which sports UK bookies pay out on the most? Here's the top 5, that bettors in the United Kingdom get behind, broken down by popularity.
In play betting has made footy big business for UK bookies
After football, tennis brings UK bettors home the most bacon
Test matches present ample live bet opportunities for bettors
Betting on rugby is the 4th most popular sport at bookmakers
Brits love to wager a flutter on who'll be first to finish