How two gamblers could turn $300 bet on Packers into $76K in NFC title game

When you're hot, you're hot, and right now Aaron Rodgers is hot. The Packers quarterback heads into Sunday afternoon's NFC Championship Game riding an incredible streak of strong football, having won eight straight games. And he's not alone.

Two gentlemen, Brian Yankelevitz and Russ Axelrod, are on the exact same winning streak as Rodgers and the Packers. They've parlayed an initial $300 bet on the Packers into an opportunity to win more than $76,000 on the NFC Championship Game.

For the second straight year, the two guys picked a team struggling at Thanksgiving to bet on and see if they could win out. Last year it was the Cowboys, this year it was the Packers.

So they, based on what they told Brett McMurphy of ESPN, dropped a $300 moneyline ticket at the Aria in Las Vegas on the Packers to win straight up back against the Eagles in Week 11.

The impetus for the bet? Rodgers saying he believed Green Bay could "run the table" and finish 10-6.

"He said, 'We're just going to win out,'" Axelrod told McMurphy. "I sent it to the guys and said, 'Let's do it again.'"

Two of the guys from last year's wager on the Cowboys (the first game was against the Panthers on Thanksgiving and it was toast within minutes) declined to join in, so Axelrod and Yankelevitz put the bet down themselves.

Green Bay would beat the Eagles, and they let the winnings ride the next week against the Texans. The Packers beat the Texans, so the guys let it ride again. Rinse, repeat on up until the Packers-Cowboys playoff game last Sunday, when the payout equaled $28,213.60, courtesy of Rodgers throwing the pass of the year to tight end Jared Cook on the sideline and Mason Crosby kicking a game-winning field goal.

The ticket was chronicled online by Jonathan Shecter, an editor at CuePoint Music.

A couple of things to note here. One, can you imagine watching that game with these guys when the Cowboys stormed back and appeared poised to take the lead late in the game? You think he appreciated the mind-numbing spike that Jason Garrett had Dak Prescott do late in the game?

Two, maybe they were reading our Super Bowl odds column all season long, because back when the Packers were 4-6, we suggested throwing some cash on them at 80-1 (the lowest you'll ever see Green Bay). Although the gamblers in question are actually doing better on this particular bet, because betting $300 on 80-1 odds would only pay out $24,000 -- not to mention Yankelevitz and Axelrod would need two more wins by Green Bay to cash out on the Super Bowl victory.

Instead (and, um, three), THEY'RE LETTING IT RIDE AGAIN. The guys cashed out the $28 grand and immediately put it on the Packers to win the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta for a massive $76,000 payout.

That takes some serious onions not to walk away with $28,000 in your pocket and instead doubling down AGAIN on Aaron Rodgers in the Packers-Falcons game this weekend.

It gets even more aggressive, because if the Packers win, the duo won't be cashing out then either. They'll take the $76 grand and lay it on Green Bay to win the Super Bowl. Apparently the "journey" is better than "money," which is the dumbest thing anyone has ever said.

"It's more about the journey," Yankelevitz said. "Texting friends and conversations with friends than winning the bet."

The payout on that could be MASSIVE -- the Packers are projected to be more than a touchdown underdog to the Patriots. If that's the case, the moneyline will be more than 2:1, which could mean over $150,000 on a $300 bet. Pretty good investment. Even if it's the Steelers and Packers playing in the Super Bowl, the moneyline would still be somewhere in the range of +150, which would be nice as well.

Green Bay has to get past Atlanta first, though. And there's very good chance that these guys have a pretty intense squeeze coming on their heart valves, because the Packers are underdogs in Atlanta and the projected total in Vegas, 60.5, is the highest ever for championship weekend or the Super Bowl.

If these guys win big on their initial bet, it will have been hard earned.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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