Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban found Super Bowl XLVIII to be very entertaining despite the Seattle Seahawks’ thrashing of the Denver Broncos, but fans and pay per head sportsbooks were left baffled.
Pay per head sportsbooks saw that the billionaire owner spiced up the game with a social media experiment after the Seahawks scored a safety on the first snap, claiming in a tweet that he won $20 million after getting a million-to-one odds on that play happening from a casino in Las Vegas.
I HAD SAFETY ON THE FIRST PLAY IN VEGAS !!!!!!!!!! 1mm to 1.. $20mm BABY. #Unbelievable
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) February 2, 2014
Why did Cuban make the false claim? Pay per head sportsbooks found out that it was an experiment to see if he could make a tweet go viral on Twitter’s most popular night, and also said that it was a “prank for my own motivation”.
“Just because I could,” Cuban said. “I said to my wife when that happened, ‘Watch this, I’m going to make Twitter go nuts.’ She was like, ‘Don’t do it!’ I said, ‘I’ve got to do it,’ so I did it.”
Then pay per head sportsbooks saw that Cuban tweeted “Psych” with a smiley face, but after a couple of hours deleted the tweet because he was having fun with the reaction to his fake bet winnings. By Monday evening, the original tweet was retweeted 24,445 times. On Twitter, the reaction was a mix of gullibility and skepticism.
“It was fun,” Cuban said. “It really, really was. Because the game was so bad, you had just as many people talking about my tweet, it seemed like. Not just as many, but it was just such a huge thing, it was fun.”
Bovada put the odds on the first score being a safety 40-to-1. That sportsbook didn’t include a safety on its first snap as part of its prop bets.
For the most part, fans who bet that the first score would be a safety cashed in at 60-to-1, as reported by The Associated Press. Prop bets for a safety at any point in the game were paid out by casinos at 8-to-1.
Price per head services were surprised to see that it was the third consecutive year that sportsbooks were hit on the safety bet.
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Cuban, as an NBA owner, is not allowed to bet on sports. However, the Mavericks’ owner did not hear from the NBA office about his tweet.