The Houston Astros are strong favorites to win the World Series, which begins on Friday, and one of the team’s most famous fans is talking about the outcome predicted by oddsmakers for the “Fall Classic.”
Flamboyant Houston furniture store Jim McIngvale, known as “Mattress Mack,” made a series of bets (totalling $10 million) earlier this year on the Astros to win the World Series.
If the Astros regain the MLB crown (the team’s first title came in 2017), McIngvale will earn a whopping $75 million, which is rumored to be the largest payout in sports betting history.
“The excitement is very real in Houston. The whole country is on fire for the Astros,” McIngvale told reporters at a press conference, adding that he was “highly risk-averse.”
“When Yordan Álvarez hit a home run to beat the Seattle Mariners in Game 1 (of the American League Division Series), there were seven million people running and hugging each other. “Winning the bet is important, but more importantly, we made money from customers who bought about $75 million in furniture. it’s about giving back,” McIngvale said.
In an interview with CNN last year, McIngvale said he bet $3.35 million in June 2021 that the Astros would win last year’s World Series.
McIngval told CNN last October that he made the big bets to cover another type of bet: Customers who bought some mattresses worth $3,000 or more will get their money back if the Astros win.
“It’s a cover,” said McIngval, who is known in Houston for his ads and charitable work in the community, turning his stores into shelters to help people displaced by severe weather such as Hurricane Harvey.
At Thursday’s news conference, McIngvale said his first major bet was during the Houston Texans’ first season in the NFL in 2002.
Mack added that his “wife worries more than him” about the enormity of his gambling.
As an avid Astros fan, backing the team was an easy decision for McIngvale, but he sees baseball’s impact as broader.
“Baseball brings joy to the city. The entire country is politically divided between Republicans and Democrats but baseball brings us all together; all races, colors and creeds,” McIngval said.
“And I say, thank you to the Houston Astros for bringing Houston together. I’ve been to every game and I can’t tell you how many people are there and it’s a lot for them.
“It’s their birthday, it’s their anniversary but they’re there cheering on the Houston Astros. Whatever we can do to improve people’s lives through this wonderful and magical game called baseball, we are happy to do it.”
Game 1 of the 2022 World Series begins on Friday, October 28 at Minute Maid Park in Houston.