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Bettor hits 396-1 long shot picking against Clemson, Michigan, Washington in parlay

Out of the tens of thousands of college football bets that William Hill took in the state of Nevada this past weekend, one particular bet stood out late Saturday night.

At 12:24 p.m. PST on Saturday, six minutes before the Clemson-Pitt game was to kick off, a bettor logged into the William Hill app, offered to gamblers who live in the state, and customized the following parlay moneyline bet:

  • Unranked Pitt to beat No. 2 Clemson

  • Unranked Iowa to beat No. 3 Michigan

  • No. 20 USC to beat No. 4 Washington

The odds, which are automatically added up by the app, spit out at 396 to 1.

By the time the night was done, Pitt beat Clemson 43-42, Iowa beat Michigan 14-13 and USC beat Washington 26-13.

After the games were over, the bettor, Jeff Swartzlander, walked into the Silver Seven sportsbook behind the Las Vegas strip and collected his winnings of $792. That payout hardly made a blip on the Vegas radar, nor did the odds -- there are 10-team parlays that pay out at well north of 1,000 to 1 -- but the three-team underdog parlay that had the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 team losing on the same day for the first time in 31 years caught the attention of the oddsmakers at William Hill.

"I talked to a bunch of guys here and they can't remember a three-team parlay as impressive as this one," said the bookmaker's spokesman Michael Grodsky.

Swartzlander, a 37-year-old who works for an internet marketing company, says he has been betting on college football since he became of age to do so.

He specializes on small risk, big return bets through parlays and betting underdogs to win straight up. But he can't remember ever matching up three teams like this.

"I didn't think it was that crazy," Swartzlander said. "Clemson was looking vulnerable all season, USC was the hottest team in college football outside of Alabama, and Iowa was at home for a night game."

After Clemson lost, Swartzlander had planned to drive to a sportsbook to watch the other two games, but couldn't find a comfortable spot to leave, so he stayed home.

After Iowa kicked the last-second field goal to beat Michigan, Swartzlander got in his car to pick up the cash. Even though the odds are high he might roll his money over, "it's not real until you hold the money in your hands."