No event inspires more headlines or generates more action than the Super Bowl when it comes to sports betting. More than $130 million has been wagered on each of the last six Super Bowls (a high of $158.5 million wagered in 2018) — and that’s only accounting for bets placed in Nevada.
Most of the money comes from small value recreational bets placed by an estimated 31.5 million Americans. That’s not who we’re talking about today.
Our focus is on the heavy hitters — the wealthy maniacs willing to stake obscene amounts of cash on a single wager. We’re looking at the biggest Super Bowl bets ever recorded.
Mattress Mack Places Record-Breaking Bengals Bet
Potential win: $7,707,800
— Caesars Sportsbook (@CaesarsSports) February 4, 2022
You can’t talk about the biggest Super Bowl bets without mentioning Mattress Mack.
The Houston-based furniture salesman is known for his generous charitable acts in the face of his city’s recent environmental emergencies and equally sizable sports wagers.
Last week, Mack – whose real name is Jim McIngvale – made headlines once again by putting $4.5 million on the Cincinnati Bengals to upset the Rams. He didn’t even take the points! If the massive moneyline bet wins, he stands to collect $7.7 million.
Caesars Sportsbook says it’s “the single biggest mobile wager of all-time.” McIngvale told ESPN that the bet had to be made in increments.
By all accounts, Mack’s Bengals ML gambit is the second biggest Super Bowl bet ever recorded.
McIngvale may have the most riding on Sunday’s contest, but he’s hardly the only big-time handicapper with substantial sums of money on the line.
According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, after Mattress Mack, these are some of the largest wagers placed on Super Bowl LVI so far:
- $522,500 to win $475,000 on Rams -4 (Caesars Sportsbook, Jan. 31)
- $522,500 to win $475,000 on Rams -4 (Caesars Sportsbook, Feb. 5)
- $400,000 to win $200,000 on Rams ML (-200) (Caesars Sportsbook, Feb. 7)
- Multiple six-figure bets on Rams -4 (bettor didn’t want to publicize full amount) (BetMGM, Jan. 30)
- $200,000 to win $180,000 on Bengals +4½ (BetMGM, Feb. 7)
- $180,000 to win $100,000 on Rams money line (-180) (Caesars Sportsbook, Jan. 30)
- $110,000 to win $100,000 on Bengals +4½ (Caesars Sportsbook, Jan. 31)
- $110,000 to win $100,000 on Bengals-Rams under 49 (Caesars Sportsbook, Jan. 31)
- $105,000 to win $100,000 on Rams -4 (-105) (Caesars Sportsbook, Jan. 30)
The Biggest Loser
If Mattress Mack’s $4.5 million play isn’t the biggest Super Bowl bet ever recorded, then what is?
According to Caesars, that distinction belongs to the unlucky anonymous individual who staked $4.8 million on the St. Louis Rams moneyline (at -900 odds) over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVI.
The Rams entered that game 14-points favorites as “The Greatest Show on Turf.” The high-powered offense would meet a Patriots franchise that had never won a Super Bowl and relied upon a rookie quarterback named Tom Brady to fill in for an injured Drew Bledsoe.
New England stunned St Louis by a score of 20-17, marking the greatest upset in Super Bowl history. Tom Brady won his first of five Super Bowl MVP, and the Pats dynasty was born.
At least when Mack bets the house, he swings for the fences. You have to respect a man willing to take the underdog moneyline with so much on the line. It would have been a ballsy enough bet had he taken the 4.5 points.
The dufus who lost the biggest Super Bowl bet in recorded history tried to get cute and cash in on what he thought was a sure thing.
He put up $4.8 million on a 14-point favorite to win straight up, thinking it was a free $533,333.
Mack’s Big Super Bowl LV Bet
Mattress Mack just placed the second biggest Super Bowl bet of all time on Brady and the Bucs ?
$3,460,000 on the Bucs to cover? pic.twitter.com/5WMDqFVixK
— ClutchPoints Betting (@CPBetting) February 4, 2021
At this point, Mattress Mack is competing with himself when it comes to absurdly large sports wagers.
- In 2021, he staked more than $13 million on the Astros’ failed World Series campaign.
- Then, he sunk $3.7 million into taking Alabama moneyline over Georgia in the National Championship Game.
Furthermore, if this year’s $4.5 million backing of the Bengals is good for second on the list of biggest Super Bowl bets ever recorded, then Mack’s $3.46M wager on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year is good for third.
Mattress Mack has $3.46 million on the Bucs +3.5 in the #SuperBowl and is offering money back to customers who spend at least $3,000 on mattresses/box springs if Tampa Bay wins. So, his sweet spot looks like a close Chiefs victory. https://t.co/YZkizEI9aH via @houstonchron
— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) February 4, 2021
The furniture mogul picked the Bucs to cover a 3.5 point spread over Kansas City, netting him $6,150,440 after a 31-9 shellacking of the Chiefs. After the victory, he offered to refund any customer who spent $3000 or more on a mattress or box spring at his store – effectively giving away free furniture.
McIngvale’s $3.5 million winning play was the biggest Super Bowl bet of 2021, but not by as much as one might expect. It was one of several seven-figure wagers reported.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that these were some of the biggest Super Bowl bets in 2021:
- $2.5 million to win $1.5 million on Chiefs money line (-165) (BetMGM, Feb. 7)
- $2.3 million to win $2 million on Buccaneers +3½ (-115) (BetMGM, Jan. 28)
- $1.16 million to win $748,387 on Chiefs -155 money line (William Hill, Feb. 7)
- $1 million to win $1.35 million on Buccaneers +135 ML (BetMGM, Feb. 6)
- $1 million to win $770,000 on Buccaneers +9 and over 50 two-team teaser (-130) (BetMGM, Feb. 7)
- $520,000 to win $433,333 on Chiefs -3 (-120) (William Hill, Feb. 1)
- $500,000 on Chiefs ML (Circa, reported by owner Derek Stevens Feb. 6)
- $345,000 to win $300,000 on Buccaneers +3½ (-115) (BetMGM, Jan. 26)
- $330,000 to win $275,000 on Buccaneers +3½ (-120) (William Hill, Feb. 6)
- $325,000 to win $325,000 on Chiefs -3 (+100) (Westgate, Feb. 7)
- $310,000 to win $200,000 on Chiefs -155 ML (Westgate, Feb. 7)
- $275,000 to win $220,000 on Buccaneers +½ in the first quarter (-125) (BetMGM, Feb. 7)
- $250,000 to win $208,000 on Buccaneers +3½ (-120) (William Hill, Feb. 6)
Michael Gaughan’s $10 Million Super Bowl
So far, we’ve only discussed the most significant wagers made by members of the public. We haven’t considered the other side of the equation.
In 1992, Michael Gaughan made the biggest Super Bowl bet in gaming history as the controlling owner/operator of two Las Vegas casinos: Barbary Coast and Gold Coast.
The Washington Redskins were set to face the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl XXVI; the Redskins opened as a 7-point favorite. In trying to attract more betting action on the game, Gaughan decided to invite bettors to “middle” him. He set the Redskins line at –6.5 and the Bills at +7.5. The gamble was that if the Redskins won by precisely 7 points, a person who took the point spread for both teams could win both bets.
Handicappers flocked to the opportunity. Barbary Coast and Gold Coast accounted for 30% of Nevada sportsbooks’ $50 million of total betting action for Super Bowl XXVI.
As a result, Gaughan was on the hook for $10 million if Washington won by seven.
Fortunately for Michael, Lady Luck was on his side that Sunday. The Redskins beat the Bills 37-24, and the bookmaker at the heart of the action forever etched his place in Vegas history as the winner of the biggest Super Bowl bet ever made.
That said, give Mattress Mack time. At the rate he’s going, the Houstonian will surpass $10 million before Super Bowl LX in 2026.