FOX Sports Betting Analyst
Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale has made a name for himself over the past few years with his massive sports betting.
The size of the stakes is certainly atypical, but so is the purpose of McIngvale’s stakes.
The outgoing owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston regularly runs promotions where customers get their money back on purchases provided a certain team wins a championship. And he used the huge stakes to offset his business obligations.
In other words, he hedges.
McIngvale took it to another level with the 2022 World Series odds market this year. And if his beloved Houston Astros prevail in the Fall Classic, starting with Game 1 Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies on FOX, McIngvale will take home an estimated $75 million. An amount believed to be the largest recorded win in the history of legal sports betting — which he would then distribute to anyone who took advantage of his promotion.
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How did the furniture store owner get his nickname? McIngvale’s promotions are usually for mattress sets that cost around $3,000. Hence his nickname, Mattress Mac.
Back in May, McIngvale made a splash when he started trying to make up for his latest furniture promotion. Betting with Caesars Sports, he bet $3 million on the Astros to win the World Series at 10-1 odds. And believe it or not, he did it from the palm of his hand, on the Caesars mobile app.
“I think I made that $3 million bet in the parking lot of a Subway sandwich shop in Louisiana,” McIngvale said, noting he made the short trip from Houston to the Louisiana border, where sports betting is legal.
Ken Fuchs, Caesars Sports COO and head of sports, said it’s been an interesting five months since McIngvale made that bet. The potential win of $30 million would be a record by a mile for a bet in the legal, regulated U.S. sports betting market.
“It’s kind of like a very slow moving train that seems far away right now. But here we are on the rails, with the World Series ahead of us,” Fuchs said on a conference call Thursday, noting that Caesars is ready when and if the Astros pull it off. “We have the combo in the vault and we’ll see what happens.”
Fuchs seemed genuinely excited about the prospect of Caesars Sports paying off that huge bet on the Astros.
“For us, it’s just another day at the office. We are in the business of taking sides. That turns out to have a big, big side,” Fuchs said. “The book took a stand.”
McGinvale added, “They really took a stand, and I give Caesars the world of respect for that.”
Caesars Not Alone
Fuchs and his team aren’t the only ones who potentially need access to the vault. Although McIngvale’s biggest bet is with Caesars, he has an additional roughly $7 million on the Astros World Series odds with other sportsbooks. This 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 that his potential winnings from betting are almost exactly in line with how much he’ll owe his customers. “We’re at about $73 million [in refunds], plus bank card fees. We had to end the promotion on Monday. Sunday and Monday were the two busiest days we’ve had.”
This was during and after the Astros finished 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 beating New York 4-0 in the ALCS.
In the customer business
Houston is favored to win the best-of-7 World Series, sitting at -200 at Caesars Sports and FOX Bet, while Philadelphia is a +170 underdog. If the Phillies pull off the upset, Mattress Mac loses its $10 million in bets, but doesn’t have to refund tens of millions more to its customers.
However, this is not his preferred outcome. It’s all about happy customers – and good company PR at that.
“I’m in the customer business. Customers are what we live for,” said McIngvale. “Word of mouth is good for 20-30 years.”
Matt Mack then offered his World Series prediction:
“Astros in six games. They win it on their home court 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 a full seven — the return will be much more than a cup of coffee.
Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and a senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a prominent journalist in the national sports betting space. He is based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys playing golf in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.
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