Fact of Fiction? Does the "ten million-dollar bettor" really exist
Beyond statistical analysis and historical wagering trends, one betting story received far and away the most coverage nation-wide Super Bowl week. It didn't have anything to do with key injuries and trumped (no pun intended) the dozens of crazy propositions bet articles for the big game. It focused on the "mystery bettor" laying down multi-million-dollar bets on the Philadelphia Eagles in Las Vegas and the book or book(s) more than willing to take the big bets.
Now where do we begin with something quite as suspicious, unusual and peculiar about all this? Some customary practice about traditional Nevada sportsbook practice first.
Rule one has always been about BALANCING action to help guarantee win quotient or "hold" for wagering total. Taking a massive wager of that size only creates an obvious potential problem increasing risk. Also, it always has been a long common practice being able to share wagers with competing sportsbooks in Nevada or "layoff" action if possible. However, due to mergers of sportsbooks in recent years that opportunity has lessened when faced with these types of giant wagers.
In comparison, major offshore sportsbooks would not absorb that kind of risk as they do not have a similar corporate opportunity to layoff huge wagers. It would be virtually unheard of a large sportsbook like Bovada, BetOnline or Diamond Sports to announce or promote a multi-million-dollar wager. A risk to jeopardize their position and move one wagering line to a "red-flag" spot among other sportsbooks. Weighing it out, it's a head scratcher why these Vegas location books would be so forthcoming in accepting this massive single bettor's action.
The Ten Million Dollar Bettor
So indeed, who is this mystery fellow?
According to reports, he is a man in his mid-thirties of Eastern European descent, who quietly entered major casino sportsbooks in Las Vegas including the MGM, Caesars and the Westgate prior to the Super Bowl. The very same person aiming to "parlay" his publicity driven million-dollar World Series winning wagers on the Houston Astros.
As for deposit procedure, we don't know if you simply walk up to the window in a Vegas sportsbook and jog out to the parking lot with a $3M Eagles +125 wagering slip in your back pocket. Or maybe turn over a briefcase filled with hundred-dollar bills in the Caesars Palace penthouse suite. I would think the guy deserved at least a free room and buffet dinner for this type of action.
By Nevada law, it is forbidden to disclose any information of actual identity but in our celebrity crazy, paparazzi "TMZ-oriented society" it's hard to believe that no one has obtained a picture of this man. Short of James Bond at the $500 baccarat table, this scenario and the publicity it has obtained is highly irregular.
Perhaps timing has something to everything to do with it.
Ten Million Dollars of Publicity
Fly Eagles Fly and we can suppose the multi-million-dollar bettor has cashed in his winning tickets by now. Nobody is crying for the combined losses of Vegas bookmakers in this case. The equivalent of losing sleep worrying about the fortunes of the IRS. Supposedly, the largest sources in Las Vegas including William Hill, MGM and Wynn took seven figure hits when the Eagles not only covered, but scored on the money line as well in their historic Super Bowl upset over the Patriots 41-33. Adding insult to injury, the mystery bettor also scored on large proposition wagers along with many others who fared well in Super Bowl 52.
The major story might be why these gargantuan wagers and stories occurred ONLY at this year's World Series and Super Bowl. Was the Eagles +4 and outright win edge so clear we all missed it?
Why didn't mystery man put up a million or two on say, the L.A. Rams back in September. Despite not winning a game, I thought the Browns were a lock getting the points a few times. How about just 500K on the Seattle Mariners last May 23rd vs. the Detroit Tigers.
Hard to say IF this was a reality or not. True, all books would not have taken that size action on any every day, regular season game. But why limit yourself to only the most focused upon game of the entire year? Why would a secretive recluse come out of hiding to make a headline game bet like this?
If there was a win or bright side for Vegas it was the mountain of publicity this story received. It might have helped drive more action toward the casinos and sportsbook wagering in general.
The Bridge Jumper
Horse racing offers a similar situation with bettors that's been known for years by the term "bridge jumper". That's an alleged professional (or wealthy bettor) who wagers a huge sum into the show pool for one horse. An opportunity to cash in on a supposed "sure thing" that only must finish among the top three in one race. The payoff is $2.10 or a 5% payoff for every $2.00 wagered. Many bettors watch favorites going down in odds and believe "somebody smart must know something". Or an insider has some information the general public can't obtain.
Adding to this Super Bowl story was news that the mystery bettor took all his winnings from the World Series PLUS the original amount wagered and placed it on the Eagles. An "all-in" if you will, or a bridge jumper type of scenario. To many, indicating the Philadelphia Eagles were a sure thing with not only the points but to WIN the game outright as the money line choice. Not only 500+ yards from Tom Brady could prevent it.
Gold or Golden Gate Bridge
I say why stop now Mr. Ten Million Dollar Bettor?
Currently, the Golden State Warriors are a -180 choice at most Las Vegas sportsbooks to win the upcoming NBA Championship. Officially, the largest favorite in NBA history to capture the Larry O'Brien Trophy with likely much worse odds due by June 1st.
A $20M bet on the seemingly unbeatable Warriors spread around Vegas could currently net him a potential $11,111,110 return. It will only add to the incredible year he's having and continue the amazing story. And of course, the public will never see or identify him. Unless perhaps the new Cavaliers or Houston Rockets pull off an Eagles-like upset. But then the mystery could be over and we could get to see him at the bridge.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.