‘Mattress Mack’ bets big on Texas teams in NCAA Tournament

Mattress Mack is back and banking on a Texas team to win the NCAA Tournament.

Houston furniture store owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale made a $1 million bet to win $2.6 million on his Caesars Sportsbook mobile app Wednesday night in Louisiana on a team from the East Region to win the NCAA men’s basketball title.

The East Region includes two of six Texas teams in the tournament in No. 1 seed and defending national champion Baylor and No. 6 Texas.

The wager is the latest in a series of hedge bets placed by Mack to reduce risk on promotions at his Gallery Furniture stores. In his current promotion, customers who buy $3,000 or more of furniture get their money back if a Texas team wins it all.

“I figured there’d be five or six in there, and each team has their own alumni base that would be excited about it,” Mack said while driving back to Texas from Louisiana. “If one of two Texas teams gets to the Final Four, it will really explode the promotion. If four Texas teams get in, it will be the greatest promo ever.”

Mack said he plans to place bets on other Texas teams throughout the tournament. Texas Tech, Houston, Texas Christian and Texas Southern also will represent the Lone Star State.

There’s also an added wrinkle in the promotion that ensures customers will have a team in the Final Four. If a Texas team doesn’t make the Final Four, customers will get the team that’s closest geographically to Mack’s store in Houston. If that team wins it all, they’ll still get their money back.

“It’s a good deal for the customer,” he said. “We want them to win.”

Mack lost $9.5 million in bets on the Bengals on the money line (no points) to win the Super Bowl when they lost 23-20 to the Rams. Customers didn’t get their money back on the promotion because Cincinnati lost. But Mack gave each customer who participated a $1,500 gift card.

“They all liked that,” he said. “Our slowest time of the year is March and April, so we wanted to do something to juice up sales, plus we wanted to have a made-in-American furniture sale right now. We’re the biggest made-in-America store in the world.”

Houston joined Baylor in last year’s Final Four. Baylor is the 11-1 seventh choice at Caesars to repeat as champs. Texas Tech is 17-1 to win it all, Houston is 40-1, Texas is 50-1, TCU is 200-1 and Texas Southern is 3,000-1.

“Texas Southern is a long shot, but that’s what this tournament is about,” Mack said. “There’s a good chance to get one, if not two, to the Final Four. If we do, we’re off to the races.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at [email protected]. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.


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