© 2024 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Public Media from Michigan State University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Sports Beat content is reported by Sports Journalism students in the Michigan State School of Journalism.

Wagering on sports is a new sport onto itself

Online bet slip of Chris Cheetam’s winning bet on FanDuel.
Online bet slip of Chris Cheetam’s winning bet on FanDuel.

Mid-Michigan sports fans turn every day sporting games into opportunities to wager on their hunches.

An NBA regular season game in the middle of February normally would not be appointment television for casual sports fans. Unless that casual fan was on the verge of winning the most improbable bet they ever wagered.

Seemingly irrelevant sporting events have turned into spectacles as important as the Super Bowl for sports bettors on a daily basis.

Here are a few stories of unlikely bets that cashed in under stressful circumstances.

Jason Chadwick

“Two free throws with like 20 seconds left was the reason I won the bet,” said Chadwick.

Chadwick is a 21-year-old Adrian College graduate who bets on sports using FanDuel. He had been on the wrong end of multiple betting losses by slim margins in the month of January 2022. February brought better fortunes - literally.

On Feb. 1, 2022, the Orlando Magic traveled to Chicago to play the Bulls in a game that did not mean a whole lot to either in the standings. Chadwick had reason to be excited about this game despite not being a fan of either team.

“For some reason I was really really good when betting on games that the Magic played in,” Chadwick said. “So any time the Magic played, I was pretty confident.”

Chadwick would take the average stat totals for a player’s previous 10 games and use this information to place his parlay bets. For this Feb. 1 game, he had bet on 11 different player prop bets. He placed $5 and the potential payout was $611.82.

Seven of the 11 legs of the parlay hit before Chadwick could even turn the game on. Once he was able to sit down and watch, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic was two points away from completing the last leg of the parlay.

The Bulls pulled far enough ahead late in the fourth quarter that the starters were being pulled. Vucevic was fouled on a play that had no effect on the game’s outcome and was sent to the free throw line as all the fans in the stadium left and the viewers at home changed the channel, Chadwick was leaning forward in his seat. His nerves likely surpassed the nerves of Vucevic, who was in the arena taking the foul shots.

After both shots dropped, Chadwick was instantly $600 richer. He immediately withdrew $300 and deposited the money into his bank account to save and kept the rest to gamble on smaller and safer bets on FanDuel.

“Because I was able to withdraw all of that money and not spend it all the next day, I think that was a positive,” said Chadwick. “I have a lot more fun watching sports nowadays since I am able to bet on the games.”

Chris Cheetam

“I was ice cold,” said Cheetam, “until I hit this bet and I kind of turned it around.”

Photo of a winning bet slip placed by Jason Chadwick on FanDuel.
Photo of a winning bet slip placed by Jason Chadwick on FanDuel.

Cheetam is a 22-year-old student at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. He had been losing bets on the NBA for a few weeks until March 16, 2022.

The parlay Cheetam made was a modified version of a bet he saw on Twitter. The first two legs of the parlay hit with ease, but Jrue Holiday needed to make a three pointer and the Bucks needed to beat the Kings for Cheetam to win.

“I was not even watching the game live because I thought the bet was dead,” said Cheetam.

Holiday finally made the three pointer in order for the bet to become a winner. Now all Cheetam needed was for the Bucks to come back and win the game.

“Once he hit the third three, my heart started pounding,” he said. “It was down to Milwaukee beating the Kings, which sounds so easy on paper, but they were playing really bad. I was sweating a lot and when it hit I felt instant relief. It did not really feel like I had won.”

Turning $5 into over $440 is a thrill. Cheetam was so excited that sent a screenshot of his winnings to friends.

“I just bought some new golf clubs with the winnings of this bet and a few others. I bought the new Cobra irons and I still suck at golf but I like them,” said Cheetam.

Journalism at this station is made possible by donors who value local reporting. Donate today to keep stories like this one coming. It is thanks to your generosity that we can keep this content free and accessible for everyone. Thanks!