Leicester City costs sportsbooks millions by winning Premier League
Leicester City cost sportsbooks in the UK millions by surprisingly winning the Premier League, and they have forever changed the way such books will offer futures odds.
Leicester City, which only was promoted to the Premier League in 2014, broke a streak of either Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal winning the last 20 titles, by winning this year. The result became official on Monday when Tottenham and Chelsea played to a 2-2 draw.
The story has been celebrated everywhere as one of the biggest underdog triumphs in sports history. Leicester City was a preseason 5,000-1 shot to win it all. And those odds are proving to be costly.
A report from ESPN says the Foxes’ victory cost the top three UK sportsbooks a total of more than $11 million. Ladbrokes alone lost $6.6 million on Leicester because of the insane future odds. They even tried to mitigate their losses by paying out people last month who had the Foxes on such long odds. William Hill lost around $3.2 million. They had 25 outstanding tickets on Leicester at 5,000-1.
To give you some perspective, the Philadelphia 76ers, which everyone knew were intentionally tanking, were still only around a 400-1 shot to win the NBA title. The St. Louis Rams in 1999 were a 300-1 team with Kurt Warner at QB. Even Mike Tyson was a 42-1 favorite over Buster Douglas.
As slim as the chances of a team winning appear, when there is a 1:20 chance of winning a title (like in the Premier League), sportsbooks cannot afford to give such great odds to even the biggest of underdogs. The companies in the UK learned that harsh lesson this season.