Rovell: The Mystery High-Roller With $300K Riding on Texas Tech to Win the National Championship
- One anonymous bettor wagered $1,500 on Texas Tech back in November at 200-1.
- He's attempted to sell the tickets on multiple occasions on PropSwap but was unable to find someone willing to pay his price. So while he has some Virginia futures that hedge his bet a little bit, he'll be a big Red Raiders fan tonight.
Tonight, somewhere in America, a bettor will be holding one of the most valuable longshot futures tickets in recent memory.
A $1,500 bet to win $300,000.
On Nov. 24, a man placed a bet at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook on Texas Tech to win it all. The Red Raiders had opened the season at 5-0 with wins over Incarnate Word, Mississippi Valley State, SE Louisiana, USC and Nebraska, but the odds for the Red Raiders fell from 40-1 when it opened to 200-1 nearly eight months later.
It wasn’t some guy from Lubbock. It was an “investor,” who knew what he was doing, spreading around some significant dollars, at least for longshot futures bets, to numerous teams.
Like so many of the bettors who have achieved success recently, we don’t know the guy’s name. He is quiet, fearing little upside for any sort of fame and a lot of downside.
“He doesn’t want his name known because every sportsbook in the country seems to be kicking out winners,” said Luke Pergande, co-founder of PropSwap, a company that started selling future tickets in 2015. “There’s a huge movement to ban anyone who wins a buck. It’s very frustrating for the gambler. I totally sympathize with them on wanting to remain anonymous.”
The bettor contacted PropSwap during this year’s tournament to begin to see his options. He revealed a portfolio that had longshot tickets for almost every Elite Eight team.
But his three Texas Tech tickets were the most astounding, especially the one to collect $300,000.
“This was the largest futures ticket I’ve ever seen,” Pergande said. “The previous largest was Saints at 20-1 to win the Super Bowl for $8,000 to collect $168,000. And the one before that for the Vegas Golden Knights for $400 to collect at 300-1.”
Unable to get anything more than $1,500 down at Westgate that day, the bettor put $860 total on Texas Tech at a William Hill sportsbook ($800 at 125-1) and a Cantor Gaming sportsbook ($60 at 200-1) within the next two weeks.
The $800 bet, which would profit $100K if the Red Raiders win tonight, was placed in late November and sold on PropSwap for $20,250 on Saturday morning before Texas Tech dispatched Michigan State later that night.
“A New Yorker sent his driver down to Atlantic City to meet and pay me,” Pergande said. “Things I never thought I’d say five years ago.”
PropSwap also sold the bettor’s $60 wager on Saturday morning for $2,450. That wager will payout $12,000 should Texas Tech cut down the nets.
Between the two tickets, and PropSwap’s 10% fee to the seller (the company also takes 3% from the buyer), the bettor netted at least $19,165 on his two Texas Tech tickets. This bettor got a discount because he listed so many tickets with the company.
But what about the big one? Why does the bettor still have it?
Six days after Texas Tech beat Gonzaga in the Elite 8, the bidding had reached $50,000 — and in a high profile way. Dez Bryant had bid $50,000 for the ticket. The bettor wasn’t budging for a celebrity. By Friday afternoon, it was at $57,500. Still no dice.
“Negotiations have been very tough,” Pergande said. “He’s the toughest competitor I’ve ever worked with. Many of my customers I’m now very good friends with. We’ll include emojis and LOL’s in five-figure negotiations. But not this seller. It’s full sentences with proper punctuation and EVERYTHING is a negotiation. It’s kind of exhausting but I appreciate his hustle. It’s all business.”
After Texas Tech beat Michigan State, and the Red Raiders had only one game to win it all, the numbers jumped again. This time, the top offer was $125,000.
“He didn’t want to sell it for the odds he could have gotten, but if he got better odds, he would have done it,” Pergande said. “So, he’ll make more money on Texas Tech, but he’s keeping the ticket and making some bets on Virginia to protect himself.”
Not only did this year’s tournament bring forward another anonymous legend who joins the ranks of those who have struck Vegas before like “Duffel Bag Boy” and “Bettor X,” this one also drew attention to a 4-year-old business that allows futures ticket holders to offload risk without having to fund to hedge themselves.
“I think this story proves that futures can be a very profitable way to bet on sports, specifically college basketball,” Pergande said. “This seller has been paid out $22,000 on Texas Tech futures alone [before fees] and we’ve written some nice checks to him on a few other teams, as well.”