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Those who bet — or didn’t and wish they had — on Leicester City

Those who bet — or didn’t and wish they had — on Leicester City

Jerseys on Leicester City

It is the summer of 2015.

The Premier League is gearing up for a new season and the oddsmakers are crunching numbers in their London offices, coming up with the first future odds that they hope will lure bettors to wager on teams for the next campaign.

Near the bottom of the 2014-15 standings were the Foxes of Leicester City, in their first year back in the Premier League after an 11-year absence. Thanks to winning seven of their last nine games, they were saved from relegation.

“They escaped by the skin of their teeth, and all signs for us had them pointing towards relegation again for this season,” said David Williams of Ladbrokes, a betting company whose roots can be traced back to 1886.

Bookies try to come up with odds to get people to bet on this sorry team, which was entering its 48th season in England’s top division. Leicester’s best finish was as runner-up in 1928-29.

So Ladbrokes sets the odds of the Foxes winning the 2015-16 title at 5,000-1. Ladbrokes’ biggest competitor, William Hill, concurs wholesale jerseys.

(For comparison, if you ever thought Kim Kardashian would become president of the United States, you could have gotten those odds for 1,000-1.)

The 5,000-1 odds on Leicester are available through August, with Ladbrokes taking 47 bets at the highest odds while William Hill wrote 25 bets.

Below is the story of seven people — from Tom Hanks to a 39-year-old carpenter — who all have tales to tell about their brush with Leicester City’s unbelievable championship season.

The bettors
Leigh Herbert

Herbert is a 39-year-old carpenter who attended his first Leicester City game in the late 1980s. Immediately, he was hooked.

Like many teams, Leicester’s recent history has been marked by promotion and relegation, the coming up and falling down common to soccer teams, when every season is cheap wholesale jerseys free shipping a fight to stay relevant.

Despite the temptations to bet — there are betting shops with kiosks everywhere you look in Leicester’s city center — Herbert never really was tempted, except for his annual wager each year on the Grand National, a steeplechase horse race that takes place in Liverpool.

But what he heard on Aug. 5, 2015 was just too tempting: He was told the Leicester City team was 5,000-1 to win the title. So that night, he downloaded William Hill’s app to his phone, funded the account and put one pound on the bet.
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Moments later, he erased the one pound and replaced it with a five-pound bet ($7.31 using today’s exchange rate).

Little did he know that quick thinking could change his life cheap soccer jerseys wholesale.

“I was a bit drunk at the time,” Herbert now admits. “So no, of course I didn’t think they were actually going to win the league.”

As the season goes on, Leicester City is playing well. By Christmas, the Foxes have somehow lost only one of their first 17 matches (a 5-2 defeat to Arsenal on Sept. 26). They are the best team in the league.

On Feb. 6, after a shocking 3-1 victory at Manchester City, fans start a new chant:

“We’re gonna win the league, we’re gonna win the league, we know you don’t believe us, we know you don’t believe us, we’re gonna win the league!”

Herbert couldn’t believe the position he was in. He was in line to win $36,500.

It was around that time that Herbert also started paying attention to something that showed up in connection to his bet on Leicester. It was called “cash-out value.”

It’s a common practice in England for bookies, if they face significant risk, to offer bettors a buyout plan. It’s an automatic program that offers a bettor the chance to immediately take the cash at a discount reflective of a bet’s current odds to pay out.

The cash-out numbers kept going up and Herbert kept resisting. That was until April 1. With Leicester up five points on second-place Tottenham with seven matches to play, William Hill was offering him $21,191 for his bet, which represented 58 percent of the total value if he won the bet at season’s end.

“I thought, at that point, we were going to win, but it was too costly to lose it all,” Herbert said cheap jerseys china wholesale.

So he made a deal with the bookmaker. He cashed out two pounds of his five-pound bet at a 55 percent payout. Herbert saw $8,300 pumped into his account.

He’ll use the money as a deposit on a house, he says, which he’ll now buy before he marries his fiancée, Kerry.

With Leicester clinching the title, Herbert will get another $21,918 for a total payoff of $30,218, or a return on his investment of more than 425,000 percent over a 270-day period.

And he says he doesn’t regret the $6,332 he left on the table from making the first deal.

John Micklethwait

Every year for about two decades, John Micklethwait put down a 20-pound bet on his Leicester soccer team. He even had a date to remind him just in case he forgot – Aug. 11, which is his birthday. If he hadn’t made a bet by then, he’d walk to a betting parlor in London and take care of it.

Micklethwait actually won a couple times, when Leicester became champion in the lower leagues, but the winning payouts weren’t anything to brag about. The losing tickets usually found a spot on the wall behind his computer at The Economist, where he was editor-in-chief.

Leicester’s rise to the top of the Premier League this season has been a treat for Micklethwait.

“I couldn’t be happier, other than having 100 grand in my pocket too,” he said.

You see, Micklethwait didn’t put a 20-pound wager on his Foxes this year.

He was hired as editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News in February 2015, and when Aug. 11 came and went, it wasn’t as easy for him to walk somewhere and place a bet. He was now living in New York, where sports betting isn’t legal.

So Micklethwait let it go, even as he started hearing about Leicester’s long odds. The first time he heard 5,000-1, he admits, he did the math wrong — figuring his mistake cost him 10,000 pounds. But as Micklethwait followed his team with passion — he went to four games, despite the long distance — he came to realize his job move cost him 100,000 pounds ($146,000).

Tom Hanks

Wait, what?

At the premiere for his latest film, “A Hologram For The King,” Hanks told a reporter that he was feeling less down about his relegated Aston Villa club because he placed a 100-pound bet ($146) on Leicester to win at the beginning of the season.

Pressed by the reporter on the red carpet, Hanks backed off a bit, saying, “Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t.”

Hanks’ publicist, Michelle Margolis, told ESPN she couldn’t get us closer to the answer, but if Hanks did do it — we suspect it was a joke — it would be the single largest bet at the 5,000-1 odds.
Karisma Kapoor

In the first week of August, the 20-year-old Kapoor and her family were discussing Leicester’s season, the team’s recently hired manager — Claudio Ranieri of Chelsea fame — and, of course, the tempting odds.

“We got to ‘Why not put a couple pounds on it?'” Kapoor said.

So she and her Aunt Simmi put down a pound each ($3 total) to win a potential 10,000 ($14,600).

She said she started to think it could become reality when Leicester emerged at the top of the table in December, but said she only recently started thinking about what she’s going to do with the money.

“I will save a bit,” Kapoor said. “I’ll use some to go on holiday and I’ll buy my brother Champions League tickets.”
Unknown Internet bettor

On the exact same day Kapoor placed her bet, so, too, did a man who risked 50 pence (73 cents) on the Foxes on the Ladbrokes app. But three days later, he inexplicably cashed out, after the team won its first game of the season. The move cost him more than $3,600.

“We tried to console him,” Ladbrokes’ Williams said. “He hung up on us twice.”

John Moss

Moss attended his first Leicester City game with his father after the elder Moss returned home from World War II.

Since then, he has been a fan of the Foxes and has been known to bet on the action.

So in July, Moss was given 2,000-1 odds by Betfred shop manager Neil Samways and bet one pound that Leicester City would win it all.

Even though Betfred had shorter odds than the other sports books, Samways thought Moss was crazy. On the slip he wrote “Pigs Might Fly.”

“As we were winning more games, I would ask him if he had seen any flying pigs lately,” Moss said.

Like the others who bet on the Foxes, Moss said he didn’t expect to get back his money, thinking, at best, the team would finish in fourth place usa wholesale jerseys.

How is he spending his money? He’s taking his 23rd trip to Las Vegas and is going to roll it over.

Gary Lineker

Lineker, the man behind BBC’s famous “Match of the Day” and the 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner, has been associated with Leicester City his entire life.

He grew up as a fan of the team and spent nine years playing for the Foxes, including his youth career.

He didn’t necessarily put his money down on Leicester, but did agree to risk his body if the Foxes won the title.

“YES! If Leicester win the I’ll do the first MOTD of next season in just my undies,” Lineker tweeted to his more than 4 million followers in mid-December.

“I’m in good shape,” Lineker recently told the Radio Times. “For an old bastard. I’ll probably work out for two weeks beforehand, very, very hard.”

Don’t worry too much about Lineker. He’s making money off the whole deal. His sponsor, Walker’s Crisps, put him on billboards as the potato chip company counted down to the title.

Picking the best draft pick ever for all 32 NFL teams

Picking the best draft pick ever for all 32 NFL teams

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NFL Nation reporters pick the top draft pick of all time for every team. There are Hall of Famers galore, including Lawrence Taylor, Dan Marino and Barry Sanders, plus three current quarterbacks.

Arizona Cardinals: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, the third overall pick in 2004, is the best player in franchise history.

Atlanta Falcons: Although Julio Jones might rewrite the record books someday, the No. 5 pick in the 1989 NFL draft has to go down as the franchise’s top pick ever.

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens’ best draft pick won two Super Bowls and has a nine-foot statue in front of M&T Bank Stadium.

Buffalo Bills: Buffalo’s best pick of all time actually turned down Buffalo to play in the USFL for two seasons before joining the team in 1986.

Carolina Panthers: An argument can be made that before the 2015 season, quarterback Cam Newton was the third-best draft pick in Panthers history. wholesale jerseys Not anymore.

Chicago Bears: The selection of the No. 4 pick in 1975 laid the foundation for the Bears’ storied Super Bowl XX championship in the 1985 season.

Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals’ only Hall of Famer is the franchise’s best draft pick of all time.

Cleveland Browns: Cleveland’s best draft pick is easy. It’s one of the best running backs to ever play.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys’ best pick was a mammoth guard from tiny Sonoma State who went on to a Hall of Fame career wholesale authentic jerseys.

Denver Broncos: Denver’s best pick was the sixth overall pick in the 1967 draft who carried the nickname of “The Franchise.”

Detroit Lions: The man who got the franchise closest to the Super Bowl, the No. 3 pick in the 1989 draft, is the best pick in team history.

Green Bay Packers wholesale sports jerseys: The Packers found their best draft pick ever in the 17th round of the 1956 draft.

Houston Texans: The Texans’ best draft pick has played only five NFL seasons, but he already has back-to-back defensive player of the year awards.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts’ best draft pick turned Indiana into a football state and led the team to a Super Bowl title.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The first draft pick in Jaguars history is still, without question, the best in franchise history.

Kansas City Chiefs: Linebacker Derrick Thomas wasn’t just a great pass-rusher for the Chiefs. He changed the franchise’s losing culture wholesale football jerseys.

Los Angeles Rams: Merlin Olsen, the third overall pick in the 1962 NFL draft, was the ultimate Ram, playing 15 seasons for the franchise.

Miami Dolphins: In 1983, the Dolphins selected a former Pittsburgh quarterback at No. 27 overall and found a franchise centerpiece for the next 17 seasons.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings’ top draft pick ranks second in NFL history with 156 receiving touchdowns — and they got him with the 21st overall pick in 1998.

New England Patriots: The Patriots’ best draft pick in team history is also the best late-round draft pick in team history.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints found a Hall of Fame pass-rusher when they drafted a Pittsburgh outside linebacker with the 51st pick in the 1981 draft.

New York Giants: The Giants’ best draft pick became the best defensive player in NFL history.

New York Jets: Any discussion involving great players and great moments in Jets history should begin and end with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1965 AFL draft.

Oakland Raiders: Punter Ray Guy, a first-round pick in 1973, is the Raiders’ best draft pick … by a leg.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Defensive tackle Joe Greene, the fourth overall pick in 1969, was the catalyst for the golden era of Steelers football.

Philadelphia Eagles: In the 1999 draft, Eagles fans wanted Heisman-winning running back Ricky Williams. They ended up with the quarterback who would become the all-time leading passer in team history.

San Diego Chargers: Selected No. 5 overall in the 1990 draft, this linebacker led the Chargers to their only Super Bowl appearance.

San Francisco 49ers: Joe Montana playing the most important position in team sports gives him the nod as the 49ers’ best draft pick, over Jerry Rice.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle has made several impressive draft picks recently, but the Russell Wilson selection stands out above all others.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay’s best draft pick is a Hall of Famer who was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team in the 1990s and 2000s.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans’ best pick led the team to within a yard of overtime in Super Bowl XXXIV and shared the MVP award in 2003.

Washington Redskins: Darrell Green played 20 seasons and was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but he has a hard time topping Sammy Baugh when it comes to being the best Redskins draft pick ever.

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