He got 3-1 odds from the Beau Rivage and Scarlet Pearl casinos in Mississippi, which meant a Titans win would have put a very sweet $3 million in his pockets.
Spoiler: The Titans lost.
Placing big bets is kind of a thing with McIngvale, who uses the winnings to cover promotional gimmicks for his stores. Last year, for instance, he offered refunds on purchases of $3,000 or more if the Houston Astros beat the Washington Nationals in the World Series. (Another spoiler: They did not.) He placed bets totaling more than $13 million on the Astros in establishments around the country to cover costs of $20 million to $25 million if the Astros had won. The books kept his money, but he didn’t have to pay off customers, according to the Houston Chronicle.
“I live in Houston, the oil wildcatters’ capital of the world,” he told the Chronicle in the fall. “A lot of Houstonians like myself have a high tolerance risk. I’ve always thought of my life like Columbus. He took a risk, so why not? High risk, high reward.”
He ran a similar promotion in 2017 and refunded more than $10 million in mattress purchases when the Astros defeated the Dodgers in the World Series. He hedged some of it with insurance but also placed around $1 million in bets on the Astros to win the World Series in Las Vegas. Last year, lining up insurance proved to be more difficult.
As for Sunday, he had a simple explanation for his gambling rationale for the Action Network: “I got tricked into thinking Derrick Henry was invincible.”
Weep not for him, because the media value of the publicity his stores get helps trump losses, as was the case in 2014 when McIngvale promised refunds to mattress customers if the Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII, which they did.
“When I picked the Broncos to win the Super Bowl and the center hiked the ball over Peyton Manning’s head, we lost $8 million off rebates. My wife was going to divorce me,” he told the Action Network. “But the truth is, we got $30 million to $40 million in media value.”