The Houston Astros are strong favorites to win the World Series, which starts Friday, and one of the team’s most famous fans is going all in on oddsmakers’ predicted outcome for the “Fall Classic.”
Flamboyant Houston furniture store owner Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” made a series of bets – $10 million in all – earlier this year on the Astros to win the World Series.
If the Astros do regain their MLB crown – the team’s first title came in 2017 – McIngvale will win an eye-watering $75 million, which has been widely reported would be largest payout in sports betting history.
“The excitement is very real in Houston. The entire town is fired up about the Astros,” McIngvale told reporters during a press conference, adding that he had “high propensity for risk.”
“When Yordan Álvarez hit the home run to beat the Seattle Mariners in Game 1 (of the American League Division Series), there were seven million people running around giving each other hugs. “Winning the bet is important but what’s more important is giving money back to our customers who bought around $75 million worth of furniture,” said McIngvale.
In an interview with CNN last year, McIngvale said he had bet $3.35 million back in June 2021 that the Astros would win last year’s World Series.
McIngvale told CNN in October last year that he made the huge wagers to cover another gamble of sorts – customers who bought certain mattresses that cost $3,000 or more will get their money back if the Astros win.
“It’s a hedge,” said McIngvale, who’s well known in Houston for his commercials and for his charitable work in the community, turning his stores into shelters to help people displaced by severe weather events, such as Hurricane Harvey.
During Thursday’s press conference, McIngvale said that his first major bet was during the Houston Texans’ first season in the NFL back in 2002.
Mack added that his “wife frets more than” him over the enormity of his wagers.
As a passionate Astros fan, backing the team was an easy decision for McIngvale, but he sees baseball’s impact as more far-reaching.
“Baseball brings joy to the city. The entire country is divided politically between Republicans and Democrats but baseball brings us all together; all races, colors and creeds,” said McIngvale.
“And I say, thanks to the Houston Astros for bringing Houston together. I got to all the games and I can’t tell you how many people are down there and it’s a big deal to them.
“It’s their birthday, it’s their anniversary but they’re there cheering on the Houston Astros. Whatever we can do to make people’s lives better through this wonderful, magical game called baseball, we’re happy to do.”
Game 1 of the 2022 World Series begins on Friday, October 28 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.