Mattress Mack Bets $1 Million on Houston to Win March Madness

Basketball news
  • Mack also bet nine figures on Houston last year
  • The bet was placed at +750 odds at Caesars
  • Houston is second or third in most sportsbooks’ odds

The NCAA Men’s Tournament wasn’t named “March Madness” for being regular and mundane—and as the madness approaches, Mattress Mack is looking for another payday.

Jim McIngvale, known for his frequent million-dollar wagers, recently staked $1 million on the Houston Cougars to win the national championship just the same way he did around this time last year. 

The bet was placed at Caesars Sportsbook for +750 odds, meaning that the longtime Texas resident will win $7.5 million if his hometown team can successfully navigate the single-elimination 64-team bracket. They are second or third in odds at most legal sportsbooks at the time of writing.

Adding to the portfolio 

McIngvale is no stranger to eye-watering bets and the “sweat” that comes with awaiting their outcome.
Last year, the famed gambler and furniture salesman risked $4.05 million on a series of bets targeting Houston as the future national champion. Those bets included the following.
$1.05 million (+850) at FanDuel Sportsbook
$1 million (+900) at DraftKings Sportsbook
$1 million (+800) at Caesars Sportsbook
$500,000 (+1000) at BetMGM Sportsbook
$500,000 (+900) at Barstool Sportsbook
The potential payout for all of these wagers? A life-changing $39.475 million.
But unfortunately for the ever-confident Texas sports fan, Houston fell short—but that doesn’t mean that he can’t end up in the green if Houston avenges an early 2023 tournament exit during this year’s competition.
McIngvale holds the record for the largest sportsbook win in the history of USA legal sports betting. He made out with $75 million after the Houston Astros won the 2022 World Series, though he suffered several nine-figure losses since.
“Mack” lost $3 million on the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2022 College Football Playoff last year and another $1.2 million when Michigan beat Alabama in the semifinal this year.
He also stood to gain more than $50 million if the Astros beat the Texas Rangers in the ALCS and then won the World Series, but they fell to their in-state rivals in seven games.
McIngvale is able to offset some of his losses by running promotions that guarantee full refunds to customers who spend a certain amount of money at his store if the team he bets on wins. That way, if they lose, he still has the proceeds from all of the store’s sales.

Can Houston win March Madness? 

College basketball betting racked up more than $15 billion in wagers during March Madness last year, per the American Gaming Association. The general expectation is that this year’s numbers will still dwarf those following the growth of online sportsbooks and several states legalizing sports betting since the conclusion of last year’s event.

The reigning champion Connecticut Huskies are the favorites to take home the tournament crown at +500 on FanDuel—however, no team has won back-to-back national championships since Billy Donovan’s Florida in 2006-07.

FanDuel has Houston at +700 on its board, followed by the Purdue Boilermakers at +750. The Big Ten leaders made history as the second No. 1 seed ever to lose in the Round of 64 (against Fairleigh Dickinson University) last year but have reigning Wooden Award and repeat favorite Zach Edey anchoring the interior of their team.

Popular basketball statistics website KenPom ranks Houston as the top team in the country, just ahead of its two co-favorites. The school’s first year in the Big 12 has gone mostly without a hitch, as they lead the standings at 26-3 (13-3) and are 4-1 against ranked teams at the time of writing. 

The March Madness bracket will be revealed during “Selection Sunday” starting at 6:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 17, shortly after the conclusion of the conference tournaments. First Four games will be held on March 19-20 before the full bracket gets underway on March 21-22.