In the early 1980s, Houston furniture store owner Jim McIngvale was down to his last $10,000 when he bet it all on TV advertising.
The fast-talking Texan earned the moniker “Mattress Mack” from wearing mattresses on wacky commercials he credits with saving his Gallery Furniture business.
Forty years later, “Mattress Mack” has upped the ante, wagering millions of dollars to hedge potential losses on furniture promotions.
McIngvale bet $3.35 million in June to win $35.6 million on the Astros to win the World Series. He got the best of the number, as he bet $350,000 at 16-1 and $3 million at 10-1.
Houston was tied with the Giants as the 5-1 second choice Thursday, behind the Dodgers (3-1), at the Westgate SuperBook before Game 1 of its American League Division Series against the White Sox.
“I just thought 16-1 and 10-1 was a good value, so I jumped on that to get it out of the way,” McIngvale said Wednesday. “It’s turned out good so far. I think the Astros have got as good a chance as anybody. Whichever team gets hot will win.”
McIngvale is hedging a promotion in which customers who bought a mattress set of $3,000 or more will get a refund if Houston wins the World Series. He said the promotion is approaching $20 million in sales.
“It generates a lot of business when the Astros are relevant, and they are in Houston right now, as bad as the Texans and Rockets are,” McIngvale said.
Caesars on Houston hook for $20M
Caesars Sportsbook vice president of trading Craig Mucklow will be rooting hard against Houston. William Hill, owned by Caesars, took a $2 million wager from McIngvale to win $20 million.
“Whoever Houston is playing, we’re massive fans for the next few weeks,” Mucklow said. “The size of that bet will make every other selection a winner. As long as it’s not Houston, we’re happy.”
Sportsline.com handicapper Micah Roberts doesn’t see the Astros winning the World Series.
“I just think there are other teams that are better in all categories: lineup, starting rotation, bullpen and reserves,” he said.
The Giants are the largest liability at the South Point, Circa Sports and the SuperBook, which took $1,000 bets on San Francisco at 300-1 and 200-1.
The Dodgers (106-56) finished second to the Giants (107-55) in the National League West and have lost seven of the last 10 meetings. But Los Angeles is a -155 favorite over San Francisco (+135) in their first playoff meeting in the NLDS and -115 in Friday’s opener.
Roberts recommends a play on the Giants to win the series.
“They finally win the division nobody said they could win, and now they come into this series and have home field advantage and the Dodgers are still favored to beat them,” said Roberts (@MicahRoberts7). “That’s a nice driving force.”
Roberts noted that San Francisco has one of the best starting rotations led by Game 1 starter Logan Webb, baseball’s second-best money pitcher this season. The Giants went 21-5 in his starts. San Francisco led the majors in bullpen ERA at 2.99.
“Their bullpen’s amazing, and baseball has turned into a bullpen game,” Roberts said. “It’s more important than ever and can win a World Series.”
Brewing a winner
The Brewers are -145 NLDS favorites over the Braves and -148 in Friday’s Game 1 behind NL Cy Young favorite Corbin Burnes.
Roberts likes Milwaukee, which led the majors with 19 shutouts, to win Game 1 and the series.
“Burnes and (Brandon) Woodruff back to back, that is going to be tough for Atlanta,” Roberts said. “It could be a sweep.”
Roberts likes the Giants or Brewers to win the World Series.
“They’ve got everything worked out with the rotations and bullpens, and they’ll be able to compete strong for every game,” he said. “The Dodgers belong in there as well. But it’s time to say good night to the Dodgers. I’m getting tired of them. They’re just so good.”