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August 19, 2017

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Down $109,000, casino owner still has shot at $1 million NCAA Tournament bet

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Tom Donoghue

Derek Stevens appears onstage for a Boston concert Friday, July 15, 2016, at Downtown Las Vegas Events Center, which he owns.

Las Vegas casino owner Derek Stevens had a forgettable first weekend of NCAA Tournament betting, but he still has hope for a possible $1 million payout.

Stevens, who owns The D Las Vegas, bet $352,000 on the first round, $11,000 to win $10,000 on each of the first 32 games, and went 10-19-3 to lose $109,000.

But Stevens still has a chance to end March Madness a winner.

Before the tournament began, the Michigan University grad put $12,500 on his alma mater to win the championship at 80-to-1 odds.

Michigan beat Oklahoma State on Friday and upset No. 2 seed Louisville on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16, putting Stevens four games away from $1 million.

The Wolverines opened up at 100-to-1 odds at the beginning of the season but were one of the hottest teams in the country after winning the Big Ten Tournament. After winning its first two games, Michigan is now 18-to-1 to win it all.

In 2015, Stevens placed a similar bet on Michigan State that would have earned him $1 million. He eventually hedged his bet before the Final Four, betting $49,000 on Duke to beat Michigan State. The Blue Devils won 81-61 and Stevens won $20,000.

It’s a little early for Stevens to consider hedging his bet on Michigan. The Wolverines are 1.5-point favorites over Oregon in the Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday. If Michigan wins that game, it would likely be underdog to the winner of the Kansas-Purdue game in the Elite 8.

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