Ever since competitive sports have existed, gambling has never been far behind. Even in countries where gambling is illegal, you can always count on sports to bring punters together for some under-the-table action. Whether it's fish-fighting, cock-fighting, Thai kickboxing or frog racing, when sports and betting collide the world usually gets all the more weirder and wonderful.

As for some of the greatest sport bets of all time? Take a look at these; some of which sound so far-fetched that even a fiction writer would find them seemingly incredulous. Maybe these can even serve as inspiration the next time you're on the fence about making a bet!

Ascot Racecourse, Dettori Magic
Ascot, the famous British horse racing venue where legends are made, was the venue for a very ambitious bet in 1996. Italian jockey Frankie Dettori, on the day, didn't fancy his chance of coming in with a victory in all his seven races but one. The third he was reported to have thought he Ďmay win'.

Then came Darren Yates, a carpenter, who had bet on Dettori many times previously but had ended up largely disappointed and financially worser off. That day, Yates wagered close to $100 on Dettori riding the winner in all seven of his races at Ascot. Dettori did the impossible. Yates got a payout of over $860,000 USD.

The bookies couldn't believe it. Nor could anybody else.

Liverpool Dreams, Xabi Alonso
Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso was a firm favourite in the eyes of Liverpool fans the world over in the mid 2000's right before his move to European champions Real Madrid. For punter Adrian Hayward though, Alonso took on an even more godlike significance when a bet he made on Alonso scoring a goal from his own end of the pitch came good.

The opposing team? Lowly Luton Town, who Liverpool just happened to match in the FA Cup 3rd Round. Hayward made over $40,000 USD on a $313 USD bet with odds of 125-1. Alonso, thanks to transfers, ended up making a lot more.

Plane Madness
Although skydiving hasn't seen its fair share of bets, that's not to say nobody has ever gambled. One of the riskiest dare-devils of all time, Japanese parachutist Yasuhiro Kubo, decided to forego money all together when he made his bet, that he could toss his chute from a plane and jump after it 50 seconds later.

Thankfully having made it, Kubo's payout was probably sweeter than any amount of the aforementioned.

Young Hope
Lewis Hamilton, one of Formula 1's best known drivers, has always had people rooting for him, even way before he ever became a driver or had ever stepped on his first podium.

Richard Hopkins, ten years prior to Hamilton taking the 2008 F1 World Championship, had placed a bet that one day he would win motorsport's biggest trophy before he reached the age of 25. The payout came to over $150,000 USD but another similar bet, made much later in Hamilton's racing career when he was 18, also paid out $10,000 for another punter taking odds of 100-1.

Sports betting, as the above four cases have shown, can almost be as exhilarating as taking part in the sports themselves. For punters with guts, the rewards can be phenomenal. Statistically speaking, you have to be in it to win it. Perhaps these examples might just tease you into taking a chance the next time you fancy a flutter.