The March Madness is winding down, but it’s far from over.
Leading up to the Elite Eight, major bets are live, including one of the biggest wagers ever made on the NCAA tournament. The Buffalo Sabres are on an unprecedented losing streak on the ice, and the NBA landscape has shifted drastically in recent weeks.
The $1 million wager on ‘Mattress Mack’ is still available.
Late Friday night, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the owner of a Houston furniture shop, flew from Texas to Colorado, signed into his DraftKings sportsbook smartphone app, and bet $1 million on the Houston Cougars to win the NCAA tournament at 9-1 odds. It’s one of the largest NCAA tournament bets ever recorded.
At his shop, Gallery Furniture, McIngvale often places big bets to help reduce risk from furniture giveaways. For example, in Super Bowl LV, he wagered $3.46 million on the underdog Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5, while also promising customers who spent $3,000 or more at his store a refund if the Bucs covered the spread against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers prevailed 31-9, and McIngvale took home $2.7 million.
McIngvale had not introduced a similar campaign tied to the Cougars prior to Saturday’s victory over Syracuse, but with a possible $9 million payday on the table, he wasn’t ruling it out.
McIngvale told ESPN on Saturday morning, “I wanted to get ahead of it in case I had to do a promotion.” “After looking at the bracket, I believe UH has as good a chance as anyone to advance to the Final Four, so it’s an exciting time for the entire city of Houston.”
McIngvale bet over $11 million on the World Series between the Houston Astros and the Washington Nationals in 2019, including a $3.5 million futures bet on the Astros with DraftKings in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Astros were defeated by the Nationals in a seven-game series.
“On the soft side,” McIngvale said of the attention he gets from his major bets and promotions, “the brand-building it does is exceptional.” “We were ecstatic about the Super Bowl campaign in Tampa Bay, as well as the thousands of dollars in supportive PR and consumer feedback and goodwill.”
McIngvale is a well-known Houston figure who has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Houston. He opened his store to those in need of shelter during the February winter storm that ravaged the region. “It was a body blow,” McIngvale said, “but we’re still running.”
So is Mattress Mack, who left about 9:30 p.m. on Friday to travel to Colorado to position his $1 million wager. He got home around 2:30 a.m. and was back at work the next morning. He expects to work until 10:30 p.m. Saturday and watch the Houston-Syracuse game at his shop.
“No, I have a nice mattress,” McIngvale joked when asked if he was tired. Purdum, David