Sky Bet said the shock result earned their customers millions, Ladbrokes revealed it handed over its largest in-play payout in 12 years and William Hill was stung by a string of customers that guessed the correct score at odds of +8000.
The remarkable story began in Paris a couple of weeks ago, when Barcelona went into the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie as outright favorites to win the tournament and -333 to qualify for the quarter-finals.
They were humiliated as PSG ran out 4-0 winners. No team had ever overturned such a deficit at this stage of the world’s leading club soccer competition, and Barcelona were written off. They were made +1700 to qualify and +4000 to win the Champions League.
PSG turned up for the second leg of the tie last night and knew that all they had to do was avoid being thrashed. Even a 3-0 defeat would have seen them through. Sadly for PSG fans, this encouraged the team to sit back deep and let Barcelona come at them as they tried to protect their heavy lead. By half-time, they were 2-0 down and the tie was delicately poised, 4-2 on aggregate.
The soccer odds on Barcelona shortened considerably when they made it 3-0 and 4-3 on aggregate at the start of the half but then went all the way out again when Edinson Cavani scored for PSG. In the result of a tie at the end of the two legs, away goals count as double, so that was a precious goal for PSG. It meant Barcelona would need to score three more times before the end of the game, something considered unthinkable. At that point, the odds on Barcelona qualifying went back out to +1100.
William Hill was offering +5000 on Barcelona going through to the next round as the minutes ticked on without a goal. By the 88th minute, with the score still 5-3 on aggregate, the odds went up to +10000 at William Hill and +20000 at Sky Bet.
The rest is history. Neymar scored an outrageous free kick, put away a penalty and then tied up Sergi Roberto for a remarkable 95th-minute winner, deep in stoppage time. The stadium went wild, grown men were crying and Barcelona had pulled off a feat that eclipsed the Patriots in the Super Bowl by prevailing 6-5 on aggregate.
The longest odds on the Pats were +1600 when they were 28-3 down ahead of their amazing comeback. William Hill took a bet of £40 ($50) from one customer at odds of +5000. Even when Barcelona was 5-1 up, William Hill was still offering +1200 on Barcelona to qualify.
Sky Bet said: “It was one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the beautiful game. But it was also one of the most profitable evening's for Sky Bet customers, as plenty of goals, cards, and corners helped to seal some big priced Request a Bet winners.”
Among the bizarre winning prop bets placed by Sky Bet customers were Barcelona to score a penalty, four-plus corners for each team and Verratti and Busquets to be booked at odds of +10000; Messi and Suarez to score and Verratti, Marquinhos and Correa to be carded at +8000; Neymar to score from outside the area and Verratti and Marquinhos to be carded at +8000; Suarez to score, over 2.5 goals, four-plus corners and 20-plus booking points for each team at +8000; and many more.
Ladbrokes spokesman Richard Marsh said: “More than a few savvy customers correctly predicted last night’s stunning comeback and the Sportsbooks have been left counting the cost following PSG’s capitulation at Camp Nou. And it’s hats off to one patient customer, whose week-long 17-fold acca [parlay] came home in sensational fashion last night.”
The customer in question won £120,00 ($150,000) on a 17-strong parlay bet with a stake of around $60. Immediately after the result, Barcelona was installed at +275 favorites to win the Champions League, ahead of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, and they certainly deserve to be favorites after that stunning performance.