Meet the Steelers Fan Who Bet $11K Against His Own Team in Sportsbook’s First Wager


USA TODAY Sports and Twitter/ClickAerospace

Dec 13, 2018, 06:02 PM EST
  • The sportsbook within Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh officially opened on Thursday.
  • David Eldridge, a lifelong Steelers fan, placed the first legal sports wager in the state.
  • His bet? The New England Patriots -2.5 over Pittsburgh Steelers for $11,000. It would pay out a cool $10,010 if New England covers.

David Eldridge is a lifelong Steelers fan who says he has been on the team’s season ticket waiting list for nearly two decades. But when the 38-year-old was asked to place the first sports bet in Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, which opened its sportsbook Thursday, Eldridge surprised many.

That’s because Eldridge bet $11,000 on the New England Patriots to cover the 2.5 point spread against his underdog Steelers on Sunday.

“Over the last 15 years, I’ve gotten burned too many times,” Eldridge told The Action Network. “I just hope it’s not one of the three games a year they show up for.”

Eldridge said he has gone to many Steelers games over the years, including Super Bowl XL (2006), XLIII (2009) and XLV (2011), but has dialed back in recent years due to worrying about his fantasy teams and the appeal of the Red Zone channel.

Plus, his relationship with the Steelers is one of love-hate.

“Put it this way: If I managed my companies the way Mike Tomlin coaches this team, I wouldn’t have $11,000 to put down on this type of bet.”

One of Eldridge’s companies is cellhelmet, a cell phone protector that guarantees the phone won’t crack. He invested in it after he saw it on “Shark Tank.”

Eldridge said he will be at one of his company’s holiday parties during the game on Sunday, but he will be rooting for his money and not the Steelers.

“I’ll root quietly,” Eldridge said. “I mean it’s the Patriots, the team I most despise.”

Eldridge is good at the poker face because he’s good at poker. He’s a VIP of the casino because of his frequency at the poker table. He has won more than $1.2 million over the years, according to various poker sites.

How confident is Eldridge on his bet, which will net $10,010 if the Patriots cover?

“I wanted to bet $20,000, but they weren’t prepared for that much,” he said.

Rush Street Interactive opened two sportsbooks in Pennsylvania on Thursday — The Rivers Casino and the Sugarhouse Casino near Philadelphia — which brings the total number of brick-and-mortar sports-books in the state to three.

Pennsylvania is one of eight states to have legal sports betting. The state began to approve betting operator licenses in October.

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