Mattress Mack loses $2 million on Houston : ‘the way it works sometimes’

Coaches can’t game-plan for injuries. Nor can sports bettors.

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale found that out Friday night, to the tune of $2 million in lost bets in the March Madness championship odds market.

Jamal Shead, the standout guard for No. 1 seed Houston, suffered an ankle injury late in the first half against Duke, and he didn’t return.

“It’s kind of like losing your MVP quarterback and best defensive player at the same time,” McIngvale said.

Duke went on to barely beat Houston 54-51. McIngvale took a few minutes Saturday to reflect on what might’ve been with a healthy Shead.

All Day Long

Even with Shead out, Houston’s defense was up to the challenge against No. 4 seed Duke. Shead exited with 6:38 remaining in the first half and the Cougars leading 16-10.

The Blue Devils responded with a 13-6 run to close the half, taking a 23-22 lead. But even without its star player, Houston never trailed by more than six in the second half. And the Cougars had a chance to tie it on their final possession, missing a 3-pointer.

“If somebody would’ve told me before the game that Duke only scores 54 points, I would’ve bet on Houston all day long. But that’s the way it works sometimes,” McIngvale said.

No-Lose Situation

Back in February, McIngvale bet $1 million on Houston +750 to win the national title at Caesars Sports. A Cougars championship would’ve given him a profit of $7.5 million for a total payout of $8.5 million.

As an aside, Houston was a large liability for Caesars Sports, as that bet would’ve paid out $7.5 million.

Then, ahead of the NCAA Tournament’s first round, McIngvale put down another million-dollar play, again at +750, this time with DraftKings. So he stood to profit $15 million if Houston went all the way.

The Cougars got through their first two games, including a nail-biting 100-95 overtime win against Texas A&M in the second round. But losing Shead against Duke proved too much to overcome.

“Obviously, he’s the heart and soul of the team. That was a major problem,” McIngvale said. “You don’t take out the best defensive player in the country without consequences.”

However, the consequences of Mattress Mack’s two major wagers evened out in the end. Per usual, McIngvale had his bets tied to a bedding promotion at his Houston furniture store. If Houston won the title, customers partaking in the promotion would get up to $4,000 in purchases refunded.

So, although McIngvale lost $2 million, his business retained all the money from the mattress purchases over the past couple of months. Not a bad hedge bet if you have the monetary means.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas. 

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