Of all the hockey fans around the world watching Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final last night, Scott Berry was probably the most nervous.
He brought that on himself, but it ended up being totally worth it.
Back in January when the St. Louis Blues were at the bottom of the NHL standings, many thought their season was already over.
Not Scott Berry.
A Life-changing Wager
In a bet he admittedly made “with his heart”, the Blues fan wagered a whopping $400 on his team to capture the Stanley Cup at the end of the season. St. Louis faced 250-1 odds in some NHL futures markets at the time.
For those who struggle with calculations, that’s a potential payday of $100,000.
So one can only imagine what was going through Berry’s head throughout most of Wednesday night’s contest. But when time expired the Blues were crowned champions, defeating the Boston Bruins 4-1.
The leadup to that moment had been wild containing everything from ESPN interviews to pundits publicly calling him out for refusing to sell or hedge his bet.
He appeared to be committing what many professional gamblers and NHL betting experts would consider to be a cardinal sin.
“You Never Know – It’s Hockey”
Not only did Berry bet on the worst team in the league, he bet on something occurring that never had in the history of the NHL.
In their 52-year history, the Blues had never won a Stanley Cup or, prior to this season, a Stanley Cup Final game.
Berry described the decision as a bit of a shot in the dark to USA Today earlier in the series. He laid down the bet during a fateful trip at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel Sportsbook.
“When I initially put the bet down, everyone was like, ‘Oh my gosh, (betting) on one of the worst teams in the league. You did that?” Berry recalled. “I’m like, ‘You never know – it’s hockey.”
He received his fair share of offers for the ticket, including one worth $41,000 during Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Jose Sharks.
“Forty thousand sounds great. I want the money. But I thought, ‘no’ I’m going to let it ride. I believe too much in this team. That’s why people call me an idiot because I’m betting with heart and not my mind…I’m reluctant to hedge because I’m kind of superstitious. I put the bet down in January believing they could do it. Why sell myself short?”
Things were looking bleak for the Blues in Game 3 of the Final when the Bruins routed them 7-2 in St. Louis to go up 2-1 in the series.
Then, as it had done since January, St. Louis thrived in the underdog role and rallied to take the next two games and a 3-2 advantage.
The tale took one more twist, as the Blues blew a chance to win the Cup at home in Game 6, and Berry’s chance of winning dropped from 74.2% to 45.5%.
But in the end, he stayed True Blue. And it worked out pretty well for him.