Suchat Pederson, USA Today Sports.
- Las Vegas oddsmakers share stories about the infamous bettor known as "Duffel Bag Boy."
- The big bettor rarely plays underdogs and regularly fades Rutgers.
LAS VEGAS — It’s always fun to follow the big wagers in Las Vegas. Last autumn there was a lot of buzz regarding Houston-based businessman James “Mattress Mack” McIngvale.
He is a huge Astros fan, and when his team made the World Series he offered a promotion at his three Texas furniture stores that if Houston won the World Series, select furniture purchases would become free if you bought in advance.
So when Mack came to Vegas to bet his ‘Stros, people started to wonder if this was his way of getting insurance on the promotion or just the way he likes to gamble.
The Astros’ World Series victory easily cleared seven figures at various books around town and, reportedly, the furniture promotion was a hit.
With the Astros in ALCS this year, many Vegas bookmakers expect “Mattress Mack” to pop back up at some point, but so far no major sightings have been noted.
In the meantime, another deep-pocketed bettor, our friend “Duffel Bag Boy,” has been very busy placing his action all over the valley with mostly positive results.
This past weekend was easily one of his best scores of the past few years.
This bettor gets his nickname because he’ll enter sportsbooks carrying a duffel bag with stacks of cash. While many big players for various books will be allowed to bet by phone as long as they are calling from Nevada so they can remain anonymous, Duffel Bag Boy is happy to trot into the sports books where he likes to bet (primarily MGM, Westgate, William Hill and the South Point).
Although those books will not reveal his name or any information about his background, he has allowed them to speak freely about his action…which is becoming the stuff of legend around Las Vegas.
Last week was easily one of his best weeks in a long time, according Tim Fitzgerald, supervisor at the South Point.
“He started with a six-figure win on the Patriots last Thursday,” Fitzgerald said. “Then I’m told he hammered the MGM for a bundle on Saturday.”
When asked how often he’ll bet an underdog, Fitzgerald explained this particular player is a fan of laying chalk.
“I can’t recall him ever betting a dog. He loves betting the Big Ten and usually against Rutgers (at which he’s been pretty successful this season). He likes a lot of points and he also loves to bet Michigan or Ohio State,” Fitzgerald said.
“Duffel Bag Boy” has been making huge bets at these shops for years, and that has earned him the privilege of not having any limits set on his wagers.
When asked if there any limits set on his action, Fitzgerald said, “We would never set a limit for him and he would never ask if there is one. He’s simply too good a customer to ever have to set limits with.”
Nobody at MGM was willing to confirm extent of Duffel Bag Boy’s past few weeks, but he has been making some of his bigger bets there.
John Murray, the manager at the Westgate SuperBook, gave a little background on the infamous punter.
“It should be no surprise he’s doing well,” Murray said. “He’s been up on us for a few years now. If he never won he’d probably stop coming to Vegas. A few years back he hit us for high six figures on a massive three-team parlay that included both NFL conference championship games and Clemson to win the national championship.”
One team that Duffel Bag Boy, who is rumored to be from the East Coast, loves to fade is Rutgers. That strategy has been profitable so far this season as the Scarlet Knights are 1-5 against the spread.
“He does love to bet against Rutgers. I guess I can’t blame him there,” Murray said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he bets Maryland heavy this week at -24.5 over Rutgers, but we haven’t seen him here just yet. Honestly, we never know when he’s going to stroll in, but obviously he’s just as welcome elsewhere around town, too. He’s always ready to fire when he does come in. He’s a cowboy!”
At William Hill, Director of Trading Nick Bogdanovich confirmed Duffel Bag Boy hit them for more than $500,000 last weekend, winning a $100,000 two-team parlay on Illinois and Fresno State, netting him a total of $260,000. He also hit on a $50,000 parlay of Illinois, Fresno State and Washington State (which all came in fairly easily) that profited him $300,000 at 6-1.
So put all those numbers together, it seems as if Duffel Bag Boy will be loaded for bear this coming weekend. We already have heard that he’s bet $100,000 at two separate properties on Army -16 vs. San Jose State this Saturday.