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Major wagers: ‘Mattress Mack’ leads biggest wins, losses

Billy Walters is arguably the greatest sports bettor of all time. But he’s not the biggest bettor — though he won the largest wager of his life, for $3.5 million, on the New Orleans Saints (+5) over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl.

When it comes to the amount of money wagered and won or lost on a sporting event, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale is in a league of his own.

The Houston furniture store owner has $10 million riding in World Series futures bets on the Astros to win $72.6 million. If they beat the Philadelphia Phillies, his win would be the largest on any event by any sports bettor ever. And it’s not even close.

Though some would argue McIngvale, 71, is in a win-win situation and is not actually gambling at all. That’s because the series of multimillion-dollar bets he’s placed in recent years are to reduce risk on promotions. In this case, customers who purchased $3,000 or more of furniture will get their money back or double their money back if Houston wins it all.

Regardless, when compiling a list of the biggest bets and wins and losses in sports betting history, McIngvale leads the way. Here are his four biggest wins and losses:

— Lost $13 million in wagers on the Astros to win the 2019 World Series. Houston lost to the Washington Nationals in seven games.

— Lost $9.5 million in money-line bets on the Bengals to beat the Rams in February’s Super Bowl. Cincinnati covered the spread in a 23-20 loss to Los Angeles.

— Lost $6.1 million in money-line wagers on Alabama to beat Georgia in January’s college football national championship. The Bulldogs beat the Crimson Tide 33-18.

— Won $12.2 million on Kansas to win the NCAA men’s basketball title. The Jayhawks overcame a 15-point halftime deficit en route to a 72-69 victory over North Carolina.

Other notable bettors and bets:

Bettor X: An unidentified bettor known as “Bettor X” beat Las Vegas sportsbooks out of an estimated $20 million during an incredible hot streak wagering on the 2017 World Series and 2018 Super Bowl.

The gambler won more than $10 million on the World Series. He made six- and seven-figure bets on Games 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6 and won them all. The Astros beat LA in Game 7 to win their first World Series title.

Three months later, Bettor X beat the books out of almost another $10 million after he bet millions on the Eagles on the money line (+160) over the Patriots in Super Bowl LII. Philadelphia beat New England 41-33.

Million Dollar Marco: Chicago car dealer Marco Piemonte became known as “Million Dollar Marco” after winning eight wagers over the past year that paid more than $1 million. He hit a $65,000 six-team parlay Sept. 25 that paid $2.9 million at PointsBet.

The parlay would’ve paid $5.6 million had Arkansas covered instead of pushed as a 2-point underdog in a 23-21 loss to Texas A&M. Razorbacks kicker Cam Little’s game-winning 42-yard field goal try bounced off the top of the upright with 1:30 left.

His improbable run began on Oct. 21 of last year when he hit a $33,000 four-team parlay that paid $1.3 million. The next day, he rolled over $117,000 to win $1.1 million on the Rams to win the Super Bowl.

— A BetMGM bettor lost a $7.6 million money-line wager on the St. Louis Rams in the 2002 Super Bowl. The Patriots, who were 14-point underdogs, dealt “The Greatest Show on Turf” a stunning 20-17 defeat in the first of Tom Brady’s seven Super Bowl titles.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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