At least 14 people can make 1,000 times their wager if Auburn University’s charmed run continues all the way to college football’s national championship.
The Las Vegas Hotel Superbook sold 14 tickets after installing Auburn -- which went 3-9 in 2012 -- at 1,000-1 in January to win the national title. The odds have been slashed to 5-1 since the Tigers went 11-1 to move into third place in the Bowl Championship Series standings behind undefeated Florida State and Ohio State.
Jeff Sherman, the assistant manager at the LVH Superbook, struggled to recall another example of a long-shot future bet becoming a legitimate possibility for a payout.
“As far as college football goes it’s really rare,” Sherman said yesterday in a telephone interview.
The Tigers three days ago beat No. 1-ranked Alabama, the two-time defending national champion, 34-28 in their annual Iron Bowl game as Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal try by the Crimson Tide 109 yards as time expired.
In Auburn’s previous game, quarterback Nick Marshall threw a deep pass in the final minute that bounced off a Georgia defender and into the hands of receiver Ricardo Louis, who scored to give the Tigers a 43-38 win.
Auburn is a 1 1/2-point favorite at the LVH Superbook to win the Southeastern Conference championship game against Missouri on Dec. 7. Missouri also has exceeded preseason expectations, as the LVH Superbook in January offered 500-1 odds on the Columbia, Missouri, school to win the national title. It sold one ticket.
Should Auburn win the conference title it probably would need a loss by Florida State or Ohio State on Dec. 7 to reach the national championship game, scheduled for Jan. 6 in Pasadena, California.
The Seminoles (12-0) are 29-point favorites over Duke (10-2) in the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game and the Buckeyes (12-0) are favored by six points over Michigan State (11-1) in the Big Ten title game.
The last long-shot future bet to pay off that Sherman could remember was the 1999 St. Louis Rams, who were 200-1 preseason before Kurt Warner led the team to victory in the Super Bowl in January 2000 in his first full National Football League campaign.
Warner’s path from undrafted player out of the Arena Football League to the 1999 NFL Most Valuable Player in some ways mirrors that of Marshall, who transferred to Auburn in June from Garden City Community College in Kansas.
Marshall completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the win over previously undefeated Alabama, while also rushing for 99 yards and a score. For the season, he’s completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 1,627 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. He has also rushed for 10 scores and 922 yards.
“If you’re talking about the best players in America at this point of the season you’ve got to mention his name,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said yesterday in a televised news conference.