The Best Underdog Success Stories of the 2010s

A person holding up a gold medal with the number 1 on it.

If there’s one thing that even the most hardened of fans have a soft spot for, it’s got to be a good underdog sports story. Nothing beats the emotions of seeing David overcoming Goliath – unless, of course, it’s against the team you support! There have been countless stirring movies made about teams and individuals that have won against all odds.

Of course, as any online sports betting fan knows, predicting when these teams are going to take down their much bigger rivals is no easy feat. It’s difficult to listen to what your heart is telling you when it goes completely against all sport betting odds, however, sometimes these teams really do get it right.

Here are just some of the best underdog stories in sports that have taken place in the past decade.

2013: Wigan Athletic

Chances are that you’ve never even heard of Wigan Athletic, and that’s because they only have one major title under their belt: The 2013 FA Cup. They were up against soccer powerhouse Manchester City in what was expected to be a bit of a whitewash, given that Man City had won two of the last three Premier League titles.

Ben Watson was the man of the moment of this game that will forever be remembered at Wigan. He came off the bench in the dying embers of the second half, and slotted the ball into the net off of the last-minute corner kick. The celebrations that unfolded after this match will certainly go down in the history books.

2014/15: Golden State Warriors

A basketball going through the net.

The Golden State Warriors have had some ups and downs over the past few seasons, but even so, they are one of the NBA’s annual contenders. However, the Dubs entered the 2015/15 season having not won a Larry O’Brien Trophy since 1975 – which was also the last time they had made it to the NBA Finals. 

Although their 2013/14 season showed some promise, the oddsmakers still had them at an outside bet at most. By December however, these odds had shortened significantly as they went through to the finals against the Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors finally ended their trophy drought when they won against the Cavaliers in six games, and kickstarted a much more positive future for the franchise.

2015/16: Leicester City

Leicester City’s Premier League title in the 2015/16 EPL soccer season is probably one of the best underdog stories in sports history. The team were more likely to be relegated that season than win the League, according to countless sportsbooks.

Claudio Ranieri was the new manager at the helm of a team filled with players that other clubs didn’t want, in a job that many wouldn’t take.

Although they had won their first eight games of the season, Ranieri wasn’t happy with the leaky defense, and so he promised his players pizza after every clean sheet that they kept. This tactic seemed to work spectacularly, as they became one of the best defensive setups in the league that season.

The final match was at Old Trafford, Manchester United’s home ground – a place not many opposition clubs have been able to celebrate winning the League. Unfortunately for Leicester and luckily for United, the game ended 1-1 and Leicester were unable to celebrate at the stadium. However, Tottenham failed to win against Chelsea the following evening, and this handed Leicester the title. 

If you know anything about soccer, you’ll know that Leicester City have been a force to be reckoned with ever since.

2017/18: Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles had one of their most pedestrian seasons in 2015/16, and it’s safe to say absolutely no one had put them down as the team to lift the Lombardi Trophy in the next football season.

They were on about +6,000 odds in January 2017, but managed to get down to about +4,000 at the beginning of the regular season in September. By week 7, these odds had fallen all the way to +800.

The Eagles would go on to take the division with a 13-3 record, despite losing their QB Carson Wentz to an ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury. And when they defeated the New England Patriots 41-33 in the Super Bowl, it was one of the biggest upsets of the NFL in the 2010s.

2019: Washington Nationals

An illustration of a baseball pitch and stadium.

In 2018, the Washington Nationals finished 16th in the MLB and missed the playoffs. Given their exploits that season, it makes sense that so little was expected of the Nats going into the 2019 World Series. The (arguably) biggest underdog in sports history had such a slow start that their odds dropped to +6250 on June 1, and this didn’t improve much by September. However, a 17-11, including an eight-game winning streak, saw them enter the Wild Card at +1200.

From this point forward, they beat the Brewers 4-3, defeated the Dodgers in five games, the Cardinals in four, and finally took down the Astros in a thrilling seven-games series. They took the opening two games in the series, but fell behind three games to two after that. But the Nats were able to dig deep, though, and proudly took home the coveted title.

Place your sports bets from anywhere with Borgata Online

Whether you think that you know when the next upset will take place, or you’re simply looking for the best sports betting lines, Borgata Online has you covered. Register with us and take advantage of our huge variety of sports betting options. We even offer mobile sports betting so you can place your wagers on the go, if that’s how you roll.