Imagine you could bet $50,000 on the Eagles on Sunday and be guaranteed of winning. There is a player who made a 15-team NFL parlay bet at Harrington Raceway in Delaware who is in exactly that can't-lose situation.
Delaware has a $5, 15-team parlay bet in which the payoff is $100,000. The bettor who got his ticket at Harrington picked last weekend's 14 games against the spread. And got them all right.
Because four teams had byes last week and there were not 16 games to find 15 bets, they carried one game over to this week.
That game is Eagles at 49ers on Sunday night. The player has the 49ers on the parlay card in which he risked just $5 to win $100,000. He can bet $50,000 on the Eagles, have both sides and ensure a $50,000 win.
On the original parlay card, the Eagles, after two straight wins and with a hot Michael Vick, were three-point favorites. So, the Delaware player has the 49ers, plus-three points.
After Sunday's debacle, Vick's injury and the winless 49ers' perceived desperation, the 49ers are now three- to 3 1/2-point favorites.
If this bettor knows what is going on, he or she can fly to Nevada, bet $50,000 in real money on the Eagles plus-3 and be ensured to win at least $50,000. Or the bettor can do something similar in Delaware by betting a series of four three-team parlay cards taking both sides of any two games and the Eagles (who are 3 1/2-point underdogs on the new Delaware parlay cards) on all four cards. The payout would be a little less in Delaware because of the parlay-card odds.
What makes this even better for this player is he has a real chance to win both bets.
If the 49ers win or lose by fewer than three points or it's a tie, he wins $100,000 from the parlay. (Ties lose on this parlay card.) If he bets on the Eagles and they win or lose by fewer than four points (if he plays the new parlay cards or can get 3 1/2 by price shopping in Nevada), he wins the $50,000 or whatever he chooses to bet.
In these scenarios - the Eagles win by one or two points, the 49ers win by one, two or three points, a tie - he will win both bets and $150,000.
Does he or she have an idea of the gift that is out there? Does he know he is alive? Does he have the $50,000? If not, could it be borrowed and paid back very quickly?
Last year, one player hit the first 14 games, but lost the Monday night game. He could have bet the other side and might have. But he did not have the six-point "middle" this player has.
"The individual has 14 out of 14," said Tom Cook, Delaware's secretary of finance, who does not know the player's identity. "This falls under the same lottery rules. A winner can choose to be anonymous and not disclose. If the individual were to win, they need to come to the lottery office to collect their prize."
According to Cook, the Delaware lottery took in $13,720 (2,744 $5 tickets) on the 15-team bet last weekend, so they have some exposure - $86,280, to be exact.
But, if they take a short-term financial hit, the positive PR will be worth it for the future of the parlay bets. Total handle is already up 118 percent over a similar period last year.
The actual odds on a 15-team parlay are approximately 32,000-to-1. Delaware is paying 20,000-to-1. In this special case, the odds have shifted dramatically to the player. It is an actual bet that can't be lost. It is simply a question of how much might be won.