- The Five Most Surprising Betting Wins in 2021
- Honorable Mentions
- 5. NBA: Phoenix Suns Win The West; Make Finals
- 4. NHL: Montreal Canadiens Reach Stanley Cup Finals
- 3. Soccer: Canada Upsets Everyone To Capture First Olympic Gold Medal
- 2. NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Become First To Win Super Bowl at Home
- 1. Golf: 50-Year-Old Phil Mickelson Captures The PGA Championship
With days left in 2021, we review the year that was and compiled a list of each sport’s biggest betting surprises. These bets cashed big on the BetUS online sportsbook. As for our top five, we prioritized two factors: a) the significance of the win; and b) the size of the odds.
The Five Most Surprising Betting Wins in 2021
- NCAAB: March Madness sets record of 14 total upsets including a record four teams seeded 13 or lower winning first-round games
- Boxing: George Kambosos derails Teofimo Lopez as a +700 underdog to capture the WBA, IBF, WBO, and The Ring lightweight titles
- UFC: Julianna Pena shocks Amanda Nunes as a +600 underdog to capture the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship
- Tennis: Emma Raducanu beats Leylah Fernandez to capture 2021 US Open title in a battle between the first unseeded players in a major final
- MLB: Robbie Ray wins the AL Cy Young Award despite not being listed on the online sports betting boards in the preseason
- NCAAF: Texas A&M becomes first unranked team in 100 games and 14 years to defeat Alabama; won as a +650 underdog
- Horse Racing: Rombauer upsets the Preakness Stakes as an 11-1 long shot
- WNBA: Chicago Sky beats Phoenix Mercury in the Finals to capture first-ever title; both teams were +1100 to win outright during the preseason
- F1: Max Verstappen dethrones seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to capture first title; opened as a +500 underdog prior to the season
- Entertainment: Anthony Hopkins wins ‘Best Actor’ over massive favorite Chadwick Boseman; Hopkins was as large as a +700 underdog to win
5. NBA: Phoenix Suns Win The West; Make Finals
- Preseason Odds: +2000
For nearly a decade, the Suns were considered one of the most depressing sports franchises. The team was mired by atrocious ownership, a revolving door of coaches, and wasted talent., Even when the team began a hot run in the NBA bubble, no one expected it to do anything significant in the 2020-21 NBA season when adding Chris Paul. How wrong most folks were.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) July 1, 2021
Not only did Phoenix win 51 games and destroy its 38.5 expected win totals, but it also upset preseason favorites, the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. The Suns returned to the NBA Finals for the first time in 28 years and came within two wins of cashing as 40-1 long shots to win the title.
4. NHL: Montreal Canadiens Reach Stanley Cup Finals
- Preseason Odds: +1400
On the hockey side of things, the Montreal Canadiens became the Cinderella Story of the spring by inexplicably making the Stanley Cup Finals. The Habs were 14-1 in the preseason but these jumped to +18-1 at the start of the playoffs. Heck, the team was +650 to come out of its division.
Montreal would come back against their arch-nemesis, the Toronto Maple Leafs as +270 underdogs followed by a sweep of the Winnipeg Jets and capped off by a larger upset against the Vegas Golden Knights as +400 underdogs. The Habs’ dream would get crushed by the Lightning but they’d have made their backers filthy rich by this point.
3. Soccer: Canada Upsets Everyone To Capture First Olympic Gold Medal
- Preseason Odds: +2500
The Canadiens were not the only Canadian team to raise eyebrows this year. Canada’s Women’s National Soccer Team shocked the world by winning the gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Canada was considered the eighth-most likely winner per the soccer odds and way behind the likes of the USA, Great Britain, and Sweden.
CANADA MAKES HISTORY.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 6, 2021
So what does Canada do? It upsets Brazil, the USA, and Sweden en route to its first Olympic title. Canada would beat the USA 1-0 in regulation as +425 underdogs sandwiched by penalty wins over Brazil (+245) and Sweden (+200). Oh, Canada!
2. NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Become First To Win Super Bowl at Home
- Preseason Odds: +5000
No Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan could have dreamed of a better season than 2020. The Bucs would land the GOAT himself, Tom Brady and capture the Lombardi Trophy on their own turf. Tampa entered the season as 50-1 long shots to win it all and after signing Brady, it would still be a considerable 20-1.
“I would bet the house right now that the Buccaneers are going to win the Super Bowl.”
— First Take (@FirstTake) April 22, 2020
But diehards or at least those like Chad Ochocinco would have won themselves a boatload of cash had they bet online on the Buccaneers to defy the odds and history.
1. Golf: 50-Year-Old Phil Mickelson Captures The PGA Championship
- Outright Odds: +20000
The biggest betting surprise and feel-good story of the year belong to no other than the great Phil Mickelson himself. At 50 years young, Mickelson would make his 200-1 betting odds look laughable as he went on to capture his sixth major title.
Mickelson had not had a top-10 finish in a major since the 2016 British Open and he had not won the PGA Championship since 2005. But the renowned lefty would edge Brooks Koepka and Louis Oosthuizen to become the oldest player in PGA history to win a major.