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FAU basketball gets Final Four blessing from Houston's 'Mattress Mack'

HOUSTON — The Florida Atlantic basketball team appears to be the Final Four favorite for one of the country's most famous sports bettors.

Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale has put together a Name, Image and Likeness package to help family members of the FAU basketball team travel to Houston for the Final Four, the Palm Beach Post has confirmed.

McIngvale's investments this week to support FAU's athletes and athletics, including NIL deals, is around $50,000.

McIngvale made a "significant" donation to the Paradise Club, an athletic department fundraising group. He also provided tickets to Houston Astros games to FAU players' families. The Astros opened defense of their World Series title at home Thursday.

The NCAA currently provides $3,000 to each athlete's family to cover flights, hotels and meals for the Final Four. Those amounts are increased for teams that qualify for the national championship game.

McIngvale, who spoke to the team since they arrived in Houston, is a big supporter of the University of Houston. Since the Cougars were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament, he has embraced FAU and its underdog story.

FAU's NIL profile has risen in all sports, and especially basketball, this year. Dusty May's players "have increased their NIL profile and they've brought creativity to the table."

FAU is currently a 2.5-point underdog to San Diego State, according to Tipico Sportsbook.

McIngvale has yet to announce a bet on the 2023 Final Four publicly.

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Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale bet $2 million on Jan. 19, 2023 at the Lake Charles Horseshoe on the Dallas Cowboys to win an NFL playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale bet $2 million on Jan. 19, 2023 at the Lake Charles Horseshoe on the Dallas Cowboys to win an NFL playoff game against the San Francisco 49ers.

McIngvale is the owner of Gallery Furniture in Houston and has parlayed his business success into viral Internet fame for large sports bets, particularly on teams associated with Texas.

In 2022, McIngvale won $75 million when the Astros won the World Series, a total that was believed to be the largest sports betting payout in history. His original bet was $3 million for Houston to win the World Series at 10-1 odds on the Caesars Sportsbook's mobile app.

FAU surprised by Adidas upgrade

Joe Donzelli, Fort Lauderdale, poses for a picture holding a t-shirt referencing the Florida Atlantic men's basketball team's appearance at the NCAA Tournament Final Four in line at the FAU Campus Store on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, in Boca Raton, FL. FAU Campus store staff said the Tuesday afternoon shipment of merchandise celebrating the men's basketball team's appearance at the NCAA Tournament Final Four sold out the same day it arrived.

Adidas upgraded FAU's team apparel on Wednesday with the team receiving new shoes, shirts and gear, according to FAU men's basketball Twitter page.

FAU athletics is sponsored by Adidas.

The Owls have also taken part in promotional events for Adidas in Houston. The Owls will host games, giveaways and discounts at the Adidas store in the Houston Galleria mall.

Eric J. Wallace is deputy sports editor for The Palm Beach Post. He can be reached at ejwallace@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: FAU basketball gets travel boost from 'Mattress Mack'