DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado native Eli Sawaged had the sports betting sweat, and ultimately the sports betting win, of his life last Sunday. Sawaged placed a $10 bet on a 10-team parlay for NCAA’s March Madness, which, if it hit, would pay out more than $33,000.
On Sunday night, Sawaged needed Oregon State to win over Oklahoma State in men’s basketball to complete the 10-team bet.
“I fully went in expecting to lose that $10,” he said. “I’ve never been an Oregon State fan, but I’m debating getting a tattoo or something because they came through for me. Nobody in my family has ever been an Oregon State fan, but we all are Oregon State fans now.”
When his bet made the rounds on the internet on Sunday night as the game was going on, his social media accounts blew up with people suggesting that he “cash out.” The sportsbook was offering a “cash out” option of more than $23,000.
“It was amazing. The amount of people supporting me and sending me DMs. It was unbelievable. It was like nothing I could ever imagine in my life.”
Sawaged watched the game with his family, but had to separate those who thought he should take the “cash out” option from those who thought he should let it ride.
“Everybody telling me to cash it out was upstairs. Everybody telling me to ride it out was downstairs. My grandma was there. She was team ‘cash it out.’ She wanted me to do the responsible thing, but I had a good feeling.”
As the game clock ticked toward zero, the reality of turning $10 into more than $33,000 started to sink in, and as the celebration ensued, Sawaged shared an emotional hug with his mother.
“That was unbelievable,” he said. “She isn’t really big into sports betting. It wasn’t about the money. She a single mom. Raised us for years, and just to see her happy just made me so happy.”
Sawaged also has big plans for his big pay day.
“I saved some. I put most of it into a savings account. I gave some to my mom. I cleaned out my closet. I’m donating all my clothes, and so I’m going to replenish that, and then I’m going to help out the community however I can. Whatever I can do. It’s just the right thing to do. Yes, the money is nice, but it’s about helping people especially in a time like this. It’s just better to help out people.”