Michigan grad misses out on $1M payday with Villanova's NCAA championship win

Update: Michigan graduate Derek Stevens missed out on his $1 million payday with Villanova’s dominant win in Monday’s national championship game. But he can take solace after having the foresight to hedge his bet with $330,000 on Villanova.

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Tilman Fertitta is a restaurant mogul and the billionaire owner of the Houston Rockets. In addition to owning Landry’s Inc., one of the largest restaurant groups in the United States, he runs the Golden Nugget group of hotels and casinos.

On Monday, he tweeted this:

Before the start of the NCAA tournament, Fertitta accepted a $25,000 futures bet on Michigan to win the championship at 40-1. That means if Michigan beats Villanova on Monday night, the Golden Nugget is on the hook for $1 million to Derek Stevens.

So who is Derek Stevens besides being a guy bold enough to put down $25,000 on a futures bet?

First, he’s a Michigan grad. He’s also in the casino business himself, the majority owner of the Golden Gate Casino and D Las Vegas Hotel Casino on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. For those not familiar with Las Vegas, Fremont Street is the old-school, traditional scene in town that stands in contrast to the glitzier, more prominent Las Vegas Strip.

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NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
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NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a free throw against the Michigan Wolverines in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Mikal Bridges #25 reacts with Eric Paschall #4 of the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats and Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines compete for a rebound in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Collin Gillespie #2 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats react in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats bench reacts in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts with his teammates during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Eric Paschall #4 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots a free thros against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 and Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats battles for the ball with Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Matt Marriott/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts on the bench late in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a shot against Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines during the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Head coach John Beilein and Duncan Robinson #22 of the Michigan Wolverines hug after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Villanova Wildcats at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate on stage after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with the trophyafter the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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He told the Detroit Free Press that he and Fertitta talked for a while before Fertitta agreed to take the bet.

“He has been willing to take a couple of big bets over the years,” Stevens told the Free Press. “About a month (ago) I was talking to him and I said ‘I’d like to take a shot at winning a million.’ We went back and forth and he finally said ‘Yes, I’ll take it.'”

So Stevens isn’t just some dude off the street dropping multiple mortgage payments on his alma mater. And now that he’s gotten this far with the Wolverines, he’s making sure he’s not going away empty-handed.

On Monday, he tweeted that he’s hedging his bet to “make sure we come out cashing at least a little bit here.” The Twitter post included a video of himself and his crew carrying a box full of cash to the sportsbook at one of his own casinos, where he put $330,000 on the money line for Villanova.

For those uninitiated with sports betting, a money-line bet pays on whether a team wins or loses. No point spread is involved. The favorite and underdog have different payout structures with the underdog paying out at a higher rate. So if Villanova wins, Stevens wins his hedge bet. If Michigan wins, he gets the big prize of his $1 million payout from the Golden Nugget while losing his $330,000 hedge.

How this works with Stevens betting at his own casino, we’re not exactly sure.

Either way, it’s entertaining to see how the wealthy get their kicks.

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