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    5 Bets that made you Rich (01/04/15)

    By John Ewing Director of Research and Analytics @johnewing
    Five NFL bets that would have made you rich.



    The NFL can be unpredictable. Carolina almost had a perfect season despite being 60-1 preseason longshots to win the Super Bowl, the Chiefs became the first team to ever win ten games in a row after starting a season 1-5 and the Browns had a losing season (well almost everything is unpredictable).

    There were a bunch of surprises in 2015 including underdogs that pulled upsets few imagined. If you like to gamble there was a small fortune to be made if you knew which teams to back. Here are five NFL bets that would have made you rich.

    1. Buccaneers over Saints - Week 2

    Jameis Winston was coming off a rough debut as his first NFL pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a 42-14 home loss a week earlier. The Buccaneers were installed as 10 point underdogs on the road in New Orleans but the No. 1 overall draft pick showed composure. Winston didn't throw an interception (tossed two picks the week before) and scored twice, once with his legs. The rookie quarterback led the Bucs to a 26-19 victory over the heavily favored Saints.

    A $100 bet on Tampa Bay to win would have returned $365, plus the original $100 you wagered.

    2. Bears over Chiefs – Week 5

    Chicago limped into its matchup with Kansas City as 10 point dogs missing its two best receivers, Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal, and three starting offensive linemen. Things looked grim (less than a one percent chance to win) for the Bears after a Jay Cutler interception gave the Chiefs the ball back leading 17-6 with less than six minutes to play. Cutler shook off the mistake and made the most of his opportunities rallying for two touchdowns in the game's final three minutes to break Kansas City's heart.

    Cutler's fourth quarter heroics netted bettors $347 on a $100 bet.

    3. Lions over Packers – Week 10

    Green Bay was coming off of two consecutive losses (against Super Bowl contenders Denver and Carolina) but hadn't dropped a game at home to Detroit since 1991. The Packers were heavy favorites (-11.5 points) over the one win Lions when the two teams met back in November. Detroit had to stop Green Bay on a two-point conversion with 30 seconds left and avoid a 52-yard field goal from Mason Crosby (Packers were 56 percent likely to win before the kick) as time expired, thanks to a bobbled onside kick by Calvin Johnson, to snap the 24-game road losing streak to the Cheeseheads.

    The improbable win was a big payday for those that backed Detroit on the money-line. A $100 wager netted a $435 return when Crosby shanked the kick to end the game.

    4. Ravens over Steelers – Week 16

    This was the first time ever Baltimore had been an underdog of 10 or more points to an AFC North rival but for good reason. The Ravens had nine starters on the Injured Reserve list including quarterback Joe Flacco. Pittsburgh was coming off an impressive victory over Denver roughing up the NFL's best defense by totaling 377 yards and 34 points. The Steelers were 85 percent likely to win before kickoff but somehow lost to a Ryan Mallett led Ravens team.

    A $100 bet on Baltimore to pull the upset returned $458.

    5. Rams over Seahawks – Week 16

    Who had the Rams sweeping the Seahawks? If you raised your hand, good for you. St. Louis hadn't got a win in Seattle since 2004. Russell Wilson and Doug Baldwin were on historical runs but the offense managed just 17 points against a stingy Rams defense. Wilson was sacked four times (hit 13 total times) and Baldwin caught just one touchdown (had ten in the previous four games). St. Louis needed fumble luck (recovered four balls that hit the turf including two of their own) to overcome a one-in-five chance of winning before the game started.

    St. Louis winning paid $460 on a $100 bet.

    If you had wagered $100 on the Buccaneers to win in Week 2 and then reinvested the profits and the original wager on each of these big underdogs (reinvesting all winnings with every bet) to win outright you would have turned $100 into over $150,000.

    Bonus Bet – Dolphins over Patriots – Week 17

    The Pats had won 18 straight as touchdown or greater favorites against the AFC East and the final game of the regular season looked to be a cakewalk as New England was a double-digit favorite in Miami. The Dolphins had other plans upending the Patriots 20-10. A $100 bet on the Fins returned $347 plus the original $100 wager.

    Now jump in your DeLorean, go back in time and make that money!

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