Dave Portnoy Ends Gambling Retirement for $1 Million Michigan-Bama Bet

USA Legal Betting


  • Portnoy recently “retired” from gambling after several big losses
  • Alabama was controversially included in the playoff over Florida State
  • Portnoy could win close to $1 million if the Wolverines win

Barstool founder Dave Portnoy is ending his gambling retirement with a $1 million wager on Michigan to beat Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

“I will be betting 1 million on Michigan,” Portnoy said on X (formerly Twitter). “That's how confident I am.”

Portnoy recently admitted to taking “some monster losses.” Despite that, the controversial multimedia figure’s confidence is unwavering as the top team in the country prepares to take on the most dominant program of the CFP era.

Controversial selection  

Portnoy’s bet on Michigan is not only in support of the undefeated Big Ten champions, but it’s a bet against a team he believes is undeserving of a spot in the playoff. 

Florida State, the team ranked fourth a week ago, went 13-0 and won the ACC Championship with a 16-6 victory against No. 14 Louisville last Saturday. But even though they did nothing to fall back in the standings, the selection committee excluded them from the field of four teams in favor of one-loss Alabama.

The committee justified its decision by saying that FSU QB Jordan Travis’ injury-induced absence changed how competitive they were. The Crimson Tide, meanwhile, won 11 straight games and beat back-to-back national champions Georgia in the SEC Championship Game their last time on the field. 

Michigan, Washington, Texas, and Alabama were announced Sunday as the four teams that will participate in the CFP. Florida State became the first undefeated Power Five conference champion to be excluded from the playoff. 


“FSU GOT SCREWED,” Portnoy tweeted after the field was announced. “FEED ME BAMA!”

Florida State still has the opportunity to play in an extremely competitive matchup against Georgia, the aforementioned back-to-back national champions, in the Orange Bowl. However, the Michigan-Alabama matchup will be for a spot in the national championship game against the winner of Texas-Washington.

A video of the Michigan football team watching the playoff field reveal captured their disappointment when Alabama was picked over the Seminoles. 

Portnoy, for one, isn’t worried. He said Sunday “You Have to Be A Gigantic Idiot To Think The #1 Team in the Country Michigan is Scared of Alabama.”

Wins and losses 

According to odds from FanDuel Sportsbook, Michigan is a 1.5-point favorite on a neutral field against Alabama. They also have +175 odds to win the national championship, the shortest of all four teams.

Bama has the second-best odds (+210) to win the national title.

Portnoy is no stranger to taking huge risks while gambling. He filed for bankruptcy in 2004 after amassing a long list of major losses and has been in the headlines for enormous wins and losses around the time of major sports events. 

He recently lost $120,000 betting on the Cincinnati Bengals to cover as four-point underdogs against the Baltimore Ravens in the game in which star QB Joe Burrow suffered a season-ending wrist injury. He also lost an unspecified amount of money following the Buffalo Bills’ loss against the Philadelphia Eagles, which led to his short-lived step away from online sports betting.

“I retire [from gambling] 10 times a week,” said Portnoy. “When I'm going bad, I quit and retire every day.”

A bet at FanDuel’s current line of -1.5 (-110) would net Portnoy $909,090.91 in profit. The moneyline odds of -120 would win $833,333.33 in profit. 

Big-money wagers can also move lines on their own, which means that Portnoy’s bet—as soon as it is placed—could shift the odds for the rest of the betting public. 

Portnoy is a Michigan graduate. Although the Wolverines have not lost this season, Bama coach Nick Saban is 8-2 in his career against top-ranked opposition.

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself in his up-to-the-minute reporting on the latest events in the industry. A member of Virginia Tech’s 2021 graduating class, he has quickly put together an impressive portfolio since moving to the professional world full-time. Grant’s favorite sports to cover are basketball and both types of football (American and soccer), and he is pushing written, audio, and video content. He has been employed by companies as highly regarded as Forbes and continues on a great trajectory in the industry. When he’s not on the clock, you can find Grant at the gym, looking for adventures, or hanging out with his family.