10 greatest outsider wins, ever!

History is littered with a number of the most unlikely of sporting results, where the outside has won and upset the odds predicted by sports journalists and bookmakers alike. Outsider wins provide punters with not only greater pay-outs, but the excitement derived from sports unpredictable nature.

Which upsets rank as the top outsider wins? The team at Sportsbet provide their 10 greatest upsets.

1# Leicester City win the Premier League, 2016

Relegation favourites, managed by a new yet simultaneously embarrassed manager after his failure at Chelsea, pushed on by a former non-league striker, way behind others regarding financial clout - yet Leicester City ended up champions with 5000-1 odds!

Claudio Ranieri manager of Leicester City celebrates the win - English Premier League

Leicester City's Premier League triumph will forever be remembered as one of the greatest outside wins in history - the Foxes stunned regular Premier League giants Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea to finish above them and claim their first and only title.

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2# Goran Ivanišević wins Wimbledon in 2001

A talented player who had reached the US Open semi-finals 5 years earlier, capping his best tournament placing, Ivanišević found himself a lowly 125th in the world and was granted a wildcard to enter the 2001 Wimbledon Open.

Croatia's Goran Ivanisevic lifts the mens singles trophy

At 150/1 you'd be forgiven for saying that Ivanisevic's best days were behind him. Yet the wildcard knocked out player after player, including the big-hitting Andy Roddick, home-crowd favourite Tim Henman and after a marathon, three-hour final, beat highly-fancied Pat Rafter to be crowned Wimbledon Champion. Even today, Ivanišević is the lowest-ranked player and only wildcard entry to ever win Wimbledon.

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3# Brawn GP wins 2009 Formula 1 championship

At the end of 2008, the Honda F1 team placed themselves up for sale after an appalling season where the car was never close to competing against rivals Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari. The team's primary driver, Jenson Button, wondered what he had to do to get a race car for the 2009 season.

F1 heavyweights Ross Brawn and Nick Fry bought the team, named it Brawn GP and managed to build a car just weeks before the curtain raiser Grands Prix at Melbourne, Australia. Brawn was a technical genius, and despite exploiting a regulatory loophole that made their car design better than their rivals - stunned the F1 world when they won six of the first seven races with Button driving the car.

Jenson Button of Brawn GP celebrates on the podium after winning the F1 Grand Prix

Although Button and Brawn GP not winning a further race that season - they managed to maintain a presence on the podium enough to be crowned the 2009 drivers and constructors’ championships.

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4# Michael Campbell, 2005 US Open

Prior to the tournament kicking off, outsider Campbell was ranked a lowly 80th in the world with an improbable 500-1 odds to clinch the title.

New Zealand's Michael Campbell celebrates with the trophy after winning the final

Furthermore, Tiger Woods was at the height of his golfing prestige sweeping aside all those in front of him. Yet, the Kiwi had a phenomenal tournament, with Woods unable to get past Campbell, who shot a one-under 69 to finish even par, two shots clear of Woods.

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5# Boris Becker wins 1985 Wimbledon aged 17

As a 17-year old novice heading into his first Wimbledon tournament, German Boris Becker was unseeded and unfancied to make an impression in the competition. He laboured in his wins over experienced players Joakim Nystrom and Tim Mayotte. Yet Becker progressed all the way to the final where he was to play the big-serving South African Kevin Curren. Curren himself was playing an outstanding tournament, having knocked out both former champions and tennis heavyweights John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors.

In the final, Becker powered to the first set. A stunned Curren was waiting for the young German to implode, yet this did not materialise and despite winning the second set, saw the final slip away from him as the teen became ever-increasingly confident.

Boris Becker wins the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament on 07 July 1985

Becker took the third and fourth sets to become the youngest ever player to win the Wimbledon tennis tournament. Becker was also the first unseeded player and first German to win the title.

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6# England follow-on to beat Australia in 1981

An epic Ashes test that will forever go down in history. England was trailing 227 runs behind Australia after their first innings score and was forced to follow on. (Australia had scored 401-9 declared).

Bookmakers quoted England as an unlikely 500-1 to win the test, and these odds looked spot on as England slumped to 135-7.

Yet nobody, both the Australians and bookies expected a herculean batsmen's innings from Ian Botham, who plundered 149 runs not out to give England a precarious lead before the Australians batted for the second time. England needed to dismiss the Australians very cheaply, and that is precisely what Bob Willis did, blowing away the line-up taking eight wickets and securing an unlikely win for England.

England Cricketer Bob Willis demonstates his fast bowling action at The Oval

It remains only the third win following on in test cricket history, with Australia also the losers to England in 1894 and India in 2001.

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7# Greece wins Euro 2004

Even when Greece shocked hosts Portugal in the opening game of Euro 2004, few believed it was much more than a one-off victory, especially as they only took one more point from their other remaining group games and were lucky to qualify for the knock-out stages.

Yet from there on, the Greeks never looked back - stunning France in the quarter-finals, and another 1-0 victory over the talented Czechs in the semi-finals set up a rematch against the Portuguese in the final.

Angelos Charisteas celebrates with his teammates Traianos Dellas, Stylianos Giannakopoulos and Zisis Vryzas, after he scored the 1-0 lead in the 57th minute

Although the element of surprise was now over, Greece nevertheless played to their strengths and, marshalled by veteran German coach Otto Rehhagel again stunned the Portuguese. A headed goal from Angelos Charisteas winning Euro 2004 for the Greeks and breaking the host's hearts.

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8# New England Patriots win Super Bowl XXXVI

Back in 2001, Tom Brady was just a lowly backup for Drew Bledsoe. Brady, the 199th player selected in the 2000 NFL draft that season was handed an unlikely opportunity after Bledsoe was forced out of the game. Brady took over as the starter.

More astonishingly was that Brady had only thrown three passes the previous season, but he played well enough for Coach Bill Belichick to leave Bledsoe on the bench once he returned back from injury and continue with Brady.

New England quarterback Tom Brady looks for room to pass the ball in the second quarter of Super Bowl XXXVI

Brady continued to impress as starting quarterback, and his stellar form carried the team through the playoffs and into the Super Bowl XXXVI, where the New England Patriots were up against the league's top offensive side the St. Louis Rams. The Patriots prevailed thanks to an Adam Vinatieri’s 48-yard, game-winning field goal - yet the season will be remembered for the introduction of Tom Brady, an NFL legend.

#9 The Miracle on Ice, 1980

Known as a miracle because that is what it would take for the USA men's Olympic ice hockey team to defeat the Soviet Union juggernaut that stood in their way in the 1980 Olympic semi-final.

The USA team was filled with college players, amateurs, and had never played together previously. Contrastingly, the Soviet Union squad boasted some of the best talents in the ice hockey world and were widely expected to 'walk' their way to the final, after dominated the sport for several years.

The USA team celebrate winning gold

Amazingly, the USA pulled off a shock 4-3 upset knocking out the Soviet Union and placing the Americans into the final against Finland, where they prevailed to win the gold medal.

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10# Iron Mike humbled in 1990

Tyson, the self-confessed 'baddest man on the planet', was not called 'Iron Mike' for nothing. He was widely considered to be the best boxer anywhere in any division in the world, feared by opponents and dominating the heavyweight division. He looked menacing and had an aura of invincibility in every fight.

The undefeated, undisputed heavyweight champion of the world had won 37 fights and lost none before meeting number 7 ranked James "Buster" Douglas in Tokyo, 1990. Douglas also had only lost his mother 23 days beforehand and was expected to be squatted aside by Tyson.

When they stepped into the boxing ring that night in the Tokyo, Douglas seemed impervious to Tyson’s punches and power. As the fight progressed, Tyson looked more and more confused as Douglas refused to budge.

Referee Dennis Alfred counts out America's Mike Tyson

Then, in the tenth, Douglas landed a right, left, right, left - that floors the champion, and one minute and 23 seconds later, is counted out.

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There are countless other sporting underdog stories that didn’t make the Sportsbet list, which greatest outsider wins did we miss? Any we should have included? Leave your suggestions in the comments!

Words: David Bailey-Lauring

Images: PA


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