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Longshot Wagers: Understanding 500/1 Odds

If you’ve ever bet on sports, you know that most betting lines feature odds in the +100 to +500 range. But every once in a while you’ll see massive longshot odds like 500/1 pop up, offering a huge potential payout but a very unlikely chance of winning. So what do odds this high actually mean?

As a fraction, 500/1 odds show the amount you would win on a $1 bet if you picked the correct outcome. At 500/1, a $1 wager would return $500 if it wins. Since the denominator is so much higher than the numerator, it indicates a very low probability event – in this case just a 0.2% implied probability (1 chance in 500).

Some examples of when you might see these types of very high odds:

  • Small underdog teams in major championships. Think a #16 seed beating a #1 seed in the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament.
  • Supposed “sure-wins” in political elections. For example, challengers running against incumbent Presidents often face 500/1 or higher odds.
  • Extreme parlay bets combining multiple unlikely outcomes. A 10-team parlay bet could easily hit 500/1 odds or more.
  • Individual exotic prop bets like a football player scoring 5 touchdowns in a game.

The appeal of making bets at 500/1 or higher is the chance to turn a small wager into a huge payday. Who wouldn’t want to turn $10 into $5,000? But there’s a reason the potential payout is so high – it’s extremely unlikely to happen.

While fun to dream about, bets with 500/1 odds or longer are basically lottery tickets. You’ll cash them very rarely. The key is being smart and never wagering more than you can afford to lose on what is essentially a low-percentage gamble. 500/1 shots add excitement, but long-term success requires discipline and avoiding foolish risks.

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