Punters tend to back home teams or players, and so the triumphs for the likes of Bradley Wiggins, Andy Murray and Team GB at the Olympics as a whole have left bookies facing big payouts.
And some results – such as the European Ryder Cup triumph – were picked off at sizeable odds thanks to some improbable comebacks.
But the most damaging result for the bookmakers in 2012 was the final twist in the Premier League season, with Sergio Aguero striking in injury time of the final day to seal the title for Manchester City.
That strike cost Ladbrokes alone £5m, one of five events which left the bookmaker with seven-figure bills.
In figures quoted by The Sun, Wiggins winnings the Sports Personality of the Year award cost Ladbrokes £2m, while bets on the Ryder Cup, the Tour de France and Murray’s Olympic and US Open triumphs all cost in excess of £1m.
It wasn’t all bad news for the bookmakers, however – Murray’s defeat at the hands of Roger Federer in the Wimbledon final was one instance where a heavily-backed British competitor came up just short.
- Sports & Recreation
- Bradley Wiggins
- Andy Murray