Derek Stevens, owner of the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate bet $11,000 to win $10,000 on each of the underdogs in the 32 opening games in the NCAA March Madness Tournament. Stevens made his $352,000 in bets just moments after the lines had been posted by the South Point on Selection Sunday.
Chris Andrews, who ran the Club Cal Neva sports book in Reno, said that this is something that Stevens has done in the past and he “usually did pretty good.” This year, Stevens sat with his $352,000 in cash in front of Vegas Stats and Information Network (VSiN) owner, Brent Munsburger, as the brackets were announced on CBS.
Stevens took a big hit on the first day of the tournament, losing all four of his bets in the first four games and ending with a record of 3-14-2 on Thursday and found himself down $124,000 with Fridays games looming on the horizon. Friday was a big day for Stevens, as he won four out of his first five. Although Michigan was able to emerge as the victorious underdog after a 3-point buzzer beater in their game against Oklahoma State, they were not able to cover the 2 and a half point spread that was needed.
Stevens finished Friday with a record of 7-5-1, with a number of extremely close games, most of them within a point or less than their opening lines. “Man, these things have been tough,” Stevens said in an interview with VISiN.com. Stevens praised the Las Vegas bookmakers’ ability to get so close to the exact points spread of each and every game in the tournament.
The tournament as a whole has been lucrative for Las Vegas who has seen record amounts bet on this year’s tournament. Between Thursday and Friday alone, wagers placed had equaled the amount that was bet on the super bowl and the results saw the majority of that money. A sportsbook operator and CG Technology reported that more money was bet on Duke to win the tournament than any other team. On Sunday night Duke was eliminated by South Carolina, marking a huge win for the house.
However, the largest payout Stevens could see would be from a bet he placed on No. 7 Michigan to win the national title. On March 14th, Stevens a Michigan Native, put down $12,500 on Michigan to win it all at 80-1 odds. What looked like a long shot at the start of the tournament is becoming more and more likely as they have moved within four wins of taking the title.
On Sunday Michigan upset No. 2 seed Louisville by a score of 73-69. Their current odds to win the tournament are 18-1, and they are set to face No. 3 seed Oregon in their next game. Having already beaten the No. 2 seed, Michigan are slight favorites to win over the Oregon Ducks. If the Michigan Wolverines manage to pull it off Stevens’ bet would earn him $1 million.