The Houston Astros are the betting favorites to win the 2019 World Series and, after a 107-win performance in the regular season, it is easy to see why. After all, the club boasts an elite offense and an elite pitching staff, headlined by the likes of Justin Verlander, Alex Bregman and Gerrit Cole, and the Astros will have home-field advantage throughout the postseason. However, Houston is still facing more than 2-to-1 odds at many sportsbooks and, in short, baseball often yields seemingly unlikely results at the highest levels.
That combination of factors makes what happened in Biloxi, Mississippi on Tuesday all the more interesting, with word breaking that Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale arrived at the DraftKings sportsbook at Scarlet Pearl casino and dropped a $3.5 million wager on the Astros to win it all.
History has been made at DraftKings at Scarlet Pearl Sportsbook, and we are thankful to be apart of it! Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale from Houston has officially placed his $3.5M bet at Scarlet Pearl on the Astros to win the World Series! #TheNewWayToBet pic.twitter.com/nKPgnIwtQp
— Scarlet Pearl Casino (@ScarletPearl_MS) October 1, 2019
McIngvale is the owner of Gallery Furniture store in Houston and, according to ESPN’s David Purdum, he has made similar wagers with many top-tier sportsbooks, including a $200,000 future at South Point in Las Vegas. While $200,000 isn’t unheard of, the size of a $3.5 million future bet is, well, off the charts.
“I’m just amazed how much DraftKings and Scarlet Peal took, and they didn’t blink an eye,” McIngvale told ESPN. “That’s pretty rare in the sports betting business in the United States for someone to take three and [a] half million dollars.”
While the bet is virtually unprecedented (along with the type of public display put forth by Scarlet Pearl documenting it on Twitter), it does come with necessary context and it all comes back to McIngvale’s day job. In 2017, he was reportedly forced to refund more than $10 million in mattress purchases after he ran a promotion based on the Astros winning the World Series. This time around, he has been guaranteeing the purchase of any $3,000-or-more mattress against Houston winning another title and, if it happens, McIngvale is going to have to send a lot of money back to customers.
To offset that investment, he is betting big on the Astros and the Scarlet Pearl is, in effect, “helping” him by taking on some liability. From the sportsbook perspective, it is a massive exposure but, at the same time, there is positive press to be gained from the bet and, more than half of the time (using implied odds), DraftKings will simply pocket a seven-figure win.
Numbers like this are astronomical but, in this particular circumstance, McIngvale might be crazy like a fox… or at least willing to generate buzz even while making sub-optimal sports wagers.