If Leicester City has taught us anything, it’s that you never say never in the world of sports.
Also, if your team is getting crazy longshot odds to win its respective league, you better put down a bet, no matter how small, just in case.
As you’re probably aware by now, Leicester came into the 2015-16 season getting 5000-to-1 odds to win the league championship. They and seven other sides received those odds, the longest of longshots to win a league only won by four clubs since 1995.
The favorites are usually the favorites for a reason, but Leicester’s run reminds us that every so often, Cinderella really does show up unannounced and steal the show. While watching Leicester’s run was magical, it’s now whet the appetite for American sports fans to see something similar happen here.
So let’s take a look around the pro and college leagues for who has the chance to pull a Leicester in the near future. Get that $10 bill burning a hole in your pocket ready because you’re about to make a probably-stupid-but-possibly-amazing bet.
Major League Baseball – Philadelphia Phillies
Before the season started, the Philadelphia Phillies were the longest shot of them all at 300-1, according to Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. But if you check the standings, the Phils are currently only 2.5 games back of the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. In fact, if the playoffs started today, they’d be in as a Wild Card. And once you’re in, anything can happen.
If you wanted to take the odds as they stand right now, put $5 down on the moribund Atlanta Braves. The worst team in baseball is currently 1,000-1 to win the World Series. Understandably.
National Football League – Cleveland Browns
Makes too much sense, doesn’t it? What would be crazier than the Cleveland Browns suddenly becoming good, let alone making the playoffs — let alone winning the Super Bowl? Leicester’s got nothing on that.
There’s reason to hope after the NFL Draft. There’s a chance the team could get some kind of Ewing Theory bounce after dropping Johnny Manziel. The league is set up for parity, right? It’s gotta happen for someone…
So take those 200-1 odds and see what comes of it. The worst thing that happens is… well, you’re a Browns fan. The worst thing has already happened.
NCAA Football – Boston College Eagles
College football’s a bit of a tough one because oddsmakers generally cut off their odds after they hit most of the potential contenders and then just lump everyone else under “Field.” But of the teams actually named, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook listed 14 schools at 1,000-1 odds.
Of the schools on the list, the Colorado Buffaloes, Indiana Hoosiers, Kentucky Wildcats, South Florida Bulls, and Temple Owls all make good candidates. But we’re going to call out the Boston College Eagles. BC is coming off of a season in which they went 3-9 overall, 0-8 in ACC conference play, and only managed one win over an FBS school on the year. They failed to score double-digits four times and didn’t cross the 20-point mark once against an FBS opponent.
There is perhaps no outcome in American sports that could match Leicester this year like the Eagles somehow putting it all together that quickly and that well.
NCAA Basketball – Boston College Eagles
Vegas Insider listed 26 teams at 2,000-1 odds to win the National Championship in 2017. Once again, we have a lot of good choices available to us and the idea of seeing the Washington State Cougars or UTEP Miners make a magical run to the title game sure fits the bill.
And yet… we find ourselves looking at you again, Boston College.
Something was in the water in Chestnut Hill this past year. Not only did the football team fail to win a conference game, but so did the basketball squad. The Eagles finished the season 7-25 and 0-18 in ACC play. That includes a 19-game losing streak to cap a season that ended with one of the team’s seniors failing to come up with a good memory of his time with the squad. It was sad and painful, and seemed to represent the nadir for a once-proud program.
So the chances that they’ll somehow find a way to win more games than they lose next season, let alone make a magic run to the championship, just seem outlandish and absurd.
Just like Leicester’s chances before the season started.