NCAA tournament: Man could win $1 million if Spartans go all the way

Bet made in December could result in a million-dollar payout if Michigan State wins the NCAA title

Derek Stevens made a $20,000 bet back in December that could result in a $1-million payday on Monday.

All he needs is for Michigan State to win the national championship.


FOR THE RECORD: An earlier version of this post had incorrect pairings for the Final Four.


When Stevens made the bet, ESPN's Darren Rovell says, such an occurrence didn't seem likely because the Spartans had just dropped to 5-3 on the season.

Which is why Tony Miller, sportsbook director at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino, accepted the bet at 50-1 odds, with the approval of the owner.

"In my nine years at this sportsbook, I never accepted a bet that could result in us paying $1 million," Miller said. "The most I've ever seen won here was a $100,000 parlay."

It was also an unusual move for Stevens, a Michigan native who owns the D and Golden Gate hotels in downtown Las Vegas.

"I bet $1,000 on an NFL game," Stevens said. "I don't do bets this big."

The Spartans ended up turning their season around and, after an overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament championship game, earned a No. 7 seeding in the East Regional for the NCAA tournament.

Impressive, but still not exactly money in the bank for Stevens. But after wins over 10th-seeded Georgia, second-seeded Virginia, third-seeded Oklahoma and fourth-seeded Louisville, Michigan finds itself in the Final Four and Stevens is two wins away from a big payday.

The Spartans have to beat Duke and the Kentucky-Wisconsin winner before the massive payout would occur, but it's enough to make Miller pretty nervous at this point.

"This would be a massive loss for us," Miller said. "I see days where we lose $10,000 to $30,000, but nothing close to $1 million."

Here's a simple solution for Miller -- just put down $143,000 or so on the Spartans at one of Stevens' casinos. With the odds of Michigan State winning the title now at 7-1, he could win back the Golden Nugget's million dollars.

Problem solved.

Twitter: @chewkiii

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