Six Things We Can Learn from Scott Berry’s $100,000 Futures Bet on the St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues win NHL Stanley Cup, and Scott Berry is able to cash in his 250-1 betting ticket for $100,000 (photo credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports)

Scott Berry is $100,000 richer.

In January, when the St. Louis Blues were at the bottom of the NHL standings, Berry shot his shot. He was on a work trip in Las Vegas and fired a $400 futures bet on the Blues to win the Stanley Cup. Berry got odds of 250-1 (+25000) at the Paris Las Vegas sportsbook. Berry refused to hedge and turned down offers to sell the ticket, winning $100,000 when the Blues hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup on Wednesday night in Boston.

Here are six sports betting tips to learn from Berry’s triumph.

Find Opportunities To Buy Low

The best sports bettors exhibit excellent ability to know when to buy low. When a bettor is buying low, just like when a trader buys a stock low, he or she is getting in on the action at the best price possible. That’s what Berry was able to do when he wagered $400 on the Blues at 250-1.

Berry’s bet on the Blues is an extreme example of buying low, and you don’t have to go digging at the absolute bottom of the barrel to find a quality longshot to wager on. Berry believed the Blues had a good team and there was still about half of the season remaining. He wasn’t asking St. Louis to finish with the best record in the Western Conference. He was simply asking the team to make the playoffs, because that’s truly when anything can happen in the NHL. Remember when the Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Islanders both swept their opponents in the first round in the Eastern Conference? The Blue Jackets dominated the record-setting Tampa Bay Lightning and the Islanders made quick work of the talented Pittsburgh Penguins.

Berry’s futures wager on the Blues is a great example of buying low and getting the best odds possible.

Bet Only What You Can Afford To Lose

Berry told ESPN that if it wasn’t for all the work he was doing on his trip to Las Vegas, he’d likely have done some gambling. He’s in fabulous Las Vegas, so who can blame him, right? Berry felt that if he did some gambling, he’d lose around $500 or so. He didn’t do any gambling so before ehe left he figured he’d fire the $500 on a couple of sports bets. He put $400 on the Blues to win the Stanley Cup at 250-1, and then he put $100 on the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series at 15-1 (+1500).

Although we don’t claim to have access to Berry’s financials, from what we can gather, it appears that a casual $500 in wagers is an amount that Berry was fine with risking. The bottom line is to only bet with money you can afford to lose, and that goes for all forms of gambling. Whether that’s $50, $500, or $50,000, only put money at risk that you are comfortable parting with.

Shop Around for the Best Price

Berry also told ESPN that he shopped around a couple of different sportsbooks before placing his wager. He mentioned looking at the odds at Bellagio and that the Blues were 150-1 (+15000) there. Had Berry placed the bet at the Bellagio Race & Sportsbook, he’d only have won $60,000 instead of $100,000. At a $40,000 difference, that’s nearly double the payout for Berry.

Be Willing To Take Risks

As with any form of gambling, you have to be willing to take on risk at some level. It’s up to you to determine high or low your risk tolerance is, but all forms of betting come with risk and it’s better to be prepared how to handle this risk going in rather than struggling to deal with it later on. Bets can win and lose, just like stocks can increase or decrease in price or other investments can make or lose you money. Be honest with yourself on your risk assessment and be willing to take that risk.

Berry knew of the longshot odds his Blues faced, but he felt it was a good opportunity to buy low, he bet what he felt he could afford to lose, and he shopped around for the best price.

Maximizing EV

The deeper and deeper the Blues got in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, the more opportunities that were talked about for Berry to hedge his bet or sell the ticket on a third-party marketplace such as PropSwap. Berry was firm in telling outlets that he was keeping the ticket, win or lose. Any bets Berry would have made to hedge the $400 wager at 250-1 odds would reduce his odds and cut into his profits. That can hurt your value.

Hedging should likely only be done in two scenarios. First, the amount of money you hedge for would make a meaningful difference in your life. Otherwise, it’s likely best to let it ride to receive the maximum expected value (EV). Second, you can look to hedge when the side you’re hedging with has a positive EV. That is, if the side you’re hedging with has a positive EV on its own.

Understand That Longshots Are Longshots for a Reason

Sportsbooks and oddsmakers price futures odds with reason, and longshots are longshots because they’re unlikely to win. Understand that when betting on the biggest of underdogs, you’re going to lose more often than not.

For those of us on the outside looking in, we can learn not to chase simply for the sake of chasing. What we mean by that is that we shouldn’t be running to our nearby regulated sportsbooks or firing up our legal sports betting apps and aimlessly betting on the teams or individuals with the longest odds on the odds board. While it’s important to find value in buying low, it’s equally important to have reason to believe a wager has positive upside to pay off.

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