FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has made a name for himself over the past few years with his massive sports bets.
The size of the wagers is certainly atypical, but so too, is the purpose of McIngvale’s bets.
The outgoing owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston regularly holds promotions where customers get their money back on purchases, provided a specific team wins a championship. And he utilizes the huge bets to offset his business liability.
In other words, he’s hedging.
McIngvale has taken it to another level with the 2022 World Series odds market this year. And should his beloved Houston Astros prevail in the Fall Classic, beginning with Game 1 Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies on FOX, McIngvale stands to collect approximately $75 million. A sum thought to be the largest recorded win in legal sports betting history — which he’ll then dole out to everybody who took advantage of his promotion.
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He Likes Big Bets …
How did the furniture store owner get his nickname? McIngvale’s promotions are typically on mattress sets that run about $3,000. Hence his nickname of Mattress Mack.
Back in May, McIngvale made a splash as he began efforts to offset his latest furniture promotion. Betting with Caesars Sports, he placed $3 million on the Astros to win the World Series at 10-1 odds. And believe it or not, he did so from the palm of his hand, on Caesars’ mobile app.
“I think I made this $3 million bet in the parking lot of a Subway sandwich shop in Louisiana,” McIngvale said, noting he made the short trek from Houston to just inside the border of Louisiana, where sports betting is legal.
Ken Fuchs, Caesars Sports COO and head of sports, said it has been an interesting five months since McIngvale placed that bet. The potential win of $30 million would be a record by a mile for a single wager in the legal, regulated U.S. sports betting market.
“It’s sort of like a very slow-moving train that looks far away at the time. But here we are on the tracks, with the World Series in front of us,” Fuchs said in a Thursday conference call, noting Caesars is ready when and if the Astros finish this off. “We’ve got the combo to the vault, and we’ll see what happens.”
Fuchs seemed genuinely enthused about the prospect of Caesars Sports paying out on this massive Astros bet.
“For us, it’s another day at the office. We’re in the business of taking sides. This happens to be one that has a big, big side to it,” Fuchs said. “The book took a position.”
Added McIngvale: “They did take a position, and I respect the world out of Caesars for that.”
Caesars Not Alone
Fuchs and his team aren’t the only ones potentially in need of vault access. While McIngvale’s largest wager is with Caesars, he’s got an additional approximate $7 million on Astros World Series odds with other sportsbooks. That includes:
- $2 million with BetMGM at 5-1 to win $10 million
- $2 million with Barstool at 5-1 to win $10 million
- $1 million with WynnBet at 12-1 to win $12 million
- $1 million with BetFred at 5-1 to win $5 million
- $1 million with Unibet at 5-1 to win $5 million
“We’re all in on the furniture promotion,” McIngvale said, noting his potential wagering winnings pretty much perfectly align with how much he’ll owe his customers. “We’re at about $73 million [in refunds], plus the bank card fees. We had to cut the promotion off on Monday. Sunday and Monday were the two busiest days we’ve ever had.”
That was during and in the wake of the Astros finishing off the Yankees in the AL Championship Series. The ‘Stros are 7-0 this postseason, sweeping Seattle 3-0 in the AL Division Series before brooming New York 4-0 in the ALCS.
In the Customer Business
Houston is favored to win the best-of-7 World Series, sitting -200 at Caesars Sports and FOX Bet, while Philadelphia is a +170 underdog. If the Phillies pull the upset, Mattress Mack loses his $10 million in bets but doesn’t have to refund tens of millions more to his customers.
That’s not his preferred outcome, though. He’s all about happy customers – and some good company PR to go with it.
“I’m in the customer business. The customers are what we live for,” McIngvale said. “The word-of-mouth advertising is good for 20-30 years.”
Mattress Mack then offered his World Series prediction:
“Astros in six games. They win it on their home field at Minute Maid Park, that’s my pick. So that and 50 cents will get you a cup of coffee.”
As long as Houston wins it in any number of games – four, five, six or the full seven – the return will be a lot more than a cup of coffee.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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