Top 10 Underdog Payouts in US Sports Betting History


Are you cheering for the little guy? Lost a bet when the oddsmakers were on your side? Some historical sports betting upsets were totally unpredictable – just like US hockey fans after the historic 1980 Olympic win against the Soviets, you’ll believe in miracles too after reading these top 10 biggest underdog payouts in the history of sports.

10UFC 193 – Ronda Rousey vs Holly Holm (8 to 1)

Prior to UFC 193, Ronda Rousey seemed invincible, having won her last eight title fights. In fact, none of her past three fights lasted longer than 34 seconds. So, on November 14, 2015, the fight community was stunned when Rousey lost her UFC Bantamweight title to former champion boxer and 8-to-1 (according to UFC betting odds) underdog, Holly Holm, knocking her out in the second round with a vicious kick to the neck.

9Super Bowl III – NYJ vs. Baltimore Colts (10 to 1)

The 1969 Super Bowl III was the first game to officially carry the name “Super Bowl,” but it will forever be remembered for the “Guarantee.” Joe Namath, quarterback of the 18 point underdog team New York Jets, told reporters, “We’re gonna win the game. I guarantee it.” Joe was right. He led the Jets to a 16-7 victory, stunning everyone in football betting – both football fans and the oddsmakers alike.

81990 Heavyweight Championship – Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas  (42 to 1)

At the time, “Iron” Mike Tyson was considered the “baddest man on the planet” with a record of 37-0  and 33 knock outs. Douglas was a 42 to 1 underdog and considered Tyson’s warm up fight for Evander Holyfield. But no one told Douglas that, and in round 10, he floored Tyson with a monstrous uppercut to become the new heavyweight Champion of the World.

7Horse Race Betting: Man o’ War vs. Upset (100 to 1)

Man o’ War is considered one of the greatest thoroughbred horses of all time. During his illustrious horse racing career, he won 20 of 21 races and almost a quarter of a million dollars in purses. Who did he lose that one race to, you ask? To the 100 to 1 longshot, appropriately named Upset, in the 1919 Sanford Memorial at Saratoga.

Man o’ War, who beat Upset in their six previous meetings, never lost another race.

61969 World Series – Mets vs. Orioles (100 to 1)

It was only the Mets’ eighth season as a team. In their first seven seasons, the baseball underdogs had never finished better than ninth out of 10 teams in the National League. They held the record for the most losses with 120 in 1962.

The Orioles came into the World Series 19 games ahead of second place and sweeping the Championship Series. The Orioles led Game 5 of the ’69 World Series 3-0 but still managed to lose 5-3 and take the sixth position on our list.

52008 Super Bowl XLII – Giants vs. Patriots (100 to 1)

One of the biggest underdogs in Super Bowl history at 14 points, the New York Giants made history in Super Bowl XLII. The Giants entered the post-season as a wild card with a record of only 10-6. The Patriots, on the other hand, finished the season with a perfect 16-0. So, both sports oddsmakers and fans were stunned when the Giants ended up beating the undefeated New England Patriots with a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter – the last touchdown with only 35 seconds left in the game.

42007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan  (150 to 1)

Ranked fifth entering the season, Michigan seemed unstoppable and was a huge 33 point favorite with oddsmakers in college football betting. Appalachian State stunned everyone, however, with one of college football’s biggest all-time upsets. Led by QB Armani Edwards and Wide Receiver Dexter Jackson, the Mountaineers became the first Division 1-AA team to beat a ranked Division 1-A team, defeating the Wolverines 34-32.

31950 World Cup – USA vs. England (500 to 1)

The United States’ unbelievable 1-0 win over England in the 1950 World Cup has become known as the “Miracle on Grass.”  At the time, the English were considered the “Kings of Football’ and heavy favorites with a record of 23-4-3. The American team had lost its previous seven international matches by a combined score of 45-2 and was composed of part-time players, most of whom had other jobs to support their families.

Nobody making soccer predictions would suspect that the game’s only goal would be scored by American center forward, Joe Gaetjens, shown above.

2Miracle on Ice (1000 to 1)

Do you believe in miracles? Everyone did after the US hockey team beat the Soviet Union 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Soviet team, comprised of seasoned professional players, had won eight of the previous nine Olympic gold medals and had blown away the underdogs, American college kids, 10-3 in a pre-tournament exhibition game just days before.

12000 Olympic Wrestling Finals (2000 to 1)

Alexander Karelin, the three-time defending Olympic champion in wrestling, had never lost in international competition and was on a 13-year winning streak. In fact, Karelin had not given up a single point in 10 years.

An Olympic novice, Gardner’s best previous finish in international competition had been fifth place and wasn’t even expected to contend for a medal. What’s more, Karelin had beaten Gardner three years prior 5-0. But the 29-year-old from Wyoming stunned the Russian – and the world with a 1-0 victory in overtime, to win Olympic gold in the Greco-Roman heavyweight division and the number 1 spot on our list of biggest sports upsets in history.

Betting on underdog payouts? You might be curious to know: Are Sports Handicappers Legit?

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Having worked in the marketing department at two online sports betting sites, John brings his love of sports to serve BigOnSports as chief writer. He will be researching and writing about the sports betting community to improve your experience as a sports bettor.