Yet another bet from Mattress Mack to offset his instore promotions, but this time, he won big money and in a dramatic game too.
Mack decided to back the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, for no other reason than they were the team closest to his store that was still in the competition.
As sports betting in his own state of Texas is illegal, he took a helicopter to Lake Charles, Louisiana, had a few milkshakes with his wife, and placed two bets on the same outcome and at the same odds (+190), but with different bookies:
- $3.3 million via the Caesars app
- $2.2 million with Barstools Sports
The amount was specific and all tied in to the sales already made during his store’s promotion, and his expected future sales before the promotion ended.
He had already sold $10 million worth of furniture at this point, and was expecting another $2-4 million before the game took place.
Despite the fact that a loss would probably leave him better of financially in the short term, Mack’s view on the game was much wider than that:
“The best-case scenario is that Kansas wins: The customers get their money back and they’ll be talking about it literally a decade to come.”
He watched the game live on a big screen TV right there in his store, along with many of his customers, so they could all share the experience and celebrate the win together if it happened.
What’s more, he made another $3.3 million bet on Kansas during the game itself (not sure how though, given he was in Texas at the time), so he had $8.8 million riding on the game in the end.
The odds for this final bet will have been different to his initial bet, which is why the listed odds of +190 don’t work out when applied to the stake size and the amount won.
How the Bet was Won
Despite beings fancied by many to win, Kansas ended up trailing by 16 points at the end of the first half.
Incredibly though, they fought back to regain the lead in just 10 minutes, bringing everyone un the building to their feet and silencing the UNC fans.
When they made up that deficit and then went on to win the game 72-69, not only did they win Mack’s bet for him, but they also completed the biggest comeback in a final in the NCAA’s history – no one had ever recovered from a 16 point loss and gone on to win before.
North Carolina did suffer some bad luck when key player, Armando Bacot, slipped and rolled his ankle ten minutes before the end, but Kansas were playing like men possessed at this point.
The crazy thing is, that despite winning his bet, Mack is estimated to have been around $2 million worse off after honouring his store promotion by refunding all of his customers, not to mention the extra bet of $1 million he put on for the team to win to come from the East region, which lost.
But like he said before the game, the publicity for his store and the reputation he was building for his business was worth an awful lot more than that.