Leicester City caused a massive shock in the English Premier League when they won the title during the 2015-16 season.
The Midlands club in England had only narrowly escaped relegation the previous season having spent the majority of the campaign at the bottom of the table.
Claudio Ranieri had been appointed as the new manager in the summer after previously having a very unsuccessful four games in charge of the Greece national team which culminated in a humiliating defeat to the Faroe Islands.
The Italian manager made a number of signings. Most notable was N’Golo Kante for £5.6 million from French Ligue 1 side Caen. Austria captain Christian Fuchs was brought in at left-back, the experienced Robert Huth joined to partner Wes Morgan in central defence, and the most expensive signing was £7 million on Shinji Okazaki to support the attack.
Few would have argued with their pre-season betting odds of 5,000/1 given their performances the season before, the change in manager and squad. However, the Foxes did the unthinkable and won the 2015-16 Premier League title! One fan even put £5 pre-season to return £25,000 in May! Bookmakers are seemingly scared to offer such odds again – even today Leicester’s football betting odds are only 1,000/1 to win the 2017-18 Premier League.
Leicester’s odds are the single biggest winner in sporting history according to the graphic below from Betfair. Though the soccer team rank second on the list, in top position is jockey Frankie Dettori, who helped win a punter more than £500,000 back in 1996 as his 7-fold accumulator at odds of 25,000/1 came in. Those seven selections were Dettori winning each race at Ascot!
The Olympic Games isn’t something we generally think about betting on but below Leicester on the list is our very own Rulon Gardner. If you haven’t heard the story before, the unknown 29-year-old was a 2,000/1 outsider to win the wrestling Gold at the 2000 Games in Sydney. Not only did he do so, but he beat Aleksander Karelin from Russia in the final. The Russian had been the three-time defending champion, had never lost in international competition, was on a 13-year winning streak and hadn’t even dropped a point in 10 years heading into the final! Gardner won 1-0.
And who remembers the St Louis Rams team of 1999? They had finished 4-12 the previous season and Dick Vermeil was entering the 1999 season with starting quarterback Trent Green injured. Undrafted Kurt Warner would go into the starting spot after previously playing over in NFL Europe – and the rest is history.
The St Louis Rams would go on to have a 13-3 season culminating with victory over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome. Vermeil’s side had started the season at 300/1 with the bookmakers – the longest odds of any team to go on to win the Super Bowl.
Betfair’s intriguing graphic is below: