Last Updated: 2017-09-09
The Westgate SuperContest is back! We’ve got over 2,700 entries in this year’s field, which is far and away the biggest of all-time. There are 2,748 to be exact. The 2016 season set the record with 1,854 entrants and the prize of nearly $900,000 was won by a gentleman that goes by @pops3284 on Twitter who is a Starbucks barista by day and night, but also a SuperContest champion for the rest of time. Orange Crush, who finished second, is a soybean farmer from the Midwest.
It makes for a great story, and it takes a lot more than luck to be a SuperContest champion, so these two people need to be respected for their efforts and results. It also makes for a massive boost in sign-ups. As sports betting has become more mainstream, TV networks and major online media outlets are taking an interest in the tournament. Some sites are sponsoring entrants. The “Moneymaker Effect” has officially hit the SuperContest and a prize of well over $1,000,000 will go to the winner. Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2003. He was just an Average Joe that gained entry from an online satellite. The poker boom that followed eventually led to a Main Event with over 8,000 entrants. The SuperContest will never get to that point, but the concept remains the same.
There is another new wrinkle this season with the SuperContest Gold. The Gold contest is a winner-take-all event with a $5,000 buy-in compared to the $1,500 buy-in for the traditional SuperContest. We’ll be following along with both contests here at BangTheBook.com, with a Picks and Consensus article on Saturdays and a recap article on Tuesdays. We have two entries at BangTheBook.com in the traditional SuperContest. On Friday editions of BangTheBook Radio, we will have a SuperContest segment to talk about picks and discuss strategies. Sports Cheetah, who is in both the traditional SuperContest and the SuperContest Gold with a team of four others. There are 94 SuperContest Gold entries.
The 10123 BangTheBook.com entry belongs to the site owner, Ryan, and the 10124 Bang The Book Podcast entry belongs to me, BangTheBook Radio host and lead writer Adam Burke. In past years, I have had a partner for the contest, but I have spread my wings and will fly solo this season.
Let’s discuss the format of the SuperContest. It is going to sound remarkably easy and elementary, but it is not. Entrants will make five picks against the spread each week in the NFL. A total of 85 selections will be made and the highest success rate will win a lot of money. Last year, the top 50 plus ties cashed, but with probably 1,000 more entrants this season, it should be around the top 75 or 100 plus ties. Lines come out on Wednesday night and are locked in. They do not move like the rest of the market. For those living outside of Nevada, a proxy is required to submit picks for you. Our deadline to submit picks is very early on Saturday morning.
It sounds easy, right? Pick five games against stale lines in the NFL. Well, look at the winning records. Dating back to 2005, it has taken a minimum of 53 winners out of 82 picks (three pushes), which is a 64.63 percent success rate. In 2014, CH Ballers set the all-time record by going 64-20-1, which is a 76.19 percent success rate. These are insane numbers. Most sharps and professionals strive for 57 or 58 percent during a season. You won’t even sniff the money at those percentages in this tournament. Last year’s winning mark was 54-28-3, which was the lowest winning score since 2010, so maybe there’s a small sliver of hope that it won’t take a superhuman score to be a winner.
One point is awarded for a win, a half-point for a push, and obviously zero points for a loss. The additional elements of strategy are always in the back of each entrant’s mind. Picking winners remains the most important thing, but some people try to fade what they expect to be the consensus, which are the sides with a higher number of picks. That especially rings true when it comes to the top-five consensus. The five most selected picks will be tracked throughout the season. Last year, the top-five consensus was just 38-43-4 (46.91%) and the consensus was 124-123-7 (50.20%). Two games had the same exact number of picks.
Alright, let’s get this thing fired up for 2017. It’s like the start of a season in any other sport or contest. Optimism reigns supreme. Everybody has a shot at 0-0. We’re excited and we hope that you’re excited to follow along throughout the season.
The Week 1 picks are in for our BangTheBook.com and Bang The Book Podcast entries. They are as follows:
10123 BangTheBook.com (0-0)
4 JETS +8.5
6 BEARS +6.5
10 REDSKINS +1
17 BENGALS -2.5
28 GIANTS +4
10124 Bang The Book Podcast (0-0)
4 JETS +8.5
6 BEARS +6.5
7 TEXANS -5
13 TITANS -2.5
30 SAINTS +3
For more insight on this week’s Bang The Book Podcast selections, I point you towards the Friday edition of BangTheBook Radio and the Westgate SuperContest Selections segment.
The BangTheBook.com entry has site bragging rights three years running, with a 47-36-2 record in 2014, a 42-42-1 record in 2015, and a 45-38-2 record in 2016. The Bang The Book Podcast entry was 46-39 in 2014, 38-46-1 in 2015, and 38-45-2 in 2016, but it will be a solo entry instead of a team effort this year, so we’ll see if that can change the fortunes a bit.
As we go throughout the season in our recap article, we’ll look at how notable entrants and past champions, if we know their aliases, did the previous week and how they are doing overall. This Saturday article will showcase the lines and the pick counts for each side. These are ordered by SuperContest rotation number. Note that the underdog is always on the bottom and the team with the asterisk is at home.
With the SuperContest Gold this season, we will keep track of pick counts in both pools, so please make note of that with the counts below.
Here are the lines and the pick counts for Week 1 (top-five consensus in bold; SuperContest Gold pick counts in parentheses and top-five consensus in bold):
1 Patriots* 191 (3)
2 Chiefs (+9) 195 (7)
3 Bills* 172 (2)
4 Jets (+8.5) 374 (15)
5 Falcons 819 (consensus #4) (14)
6 Bears* (+6.5) 429 (26)
7 Texans* 863 (consensus #2) (15)
8 Jaguars (+5) 244 (27)
9 Eagles 542 (23)
10 Redskins* (+1) 449 (14)
11 Cardinals 792 (consensus #5) (18)
12 Lions* (+2) 351 (19)
13 Titans* 839 (consensus #3) (39)
14 Raiders (+2.5) 421 (9)
15 Bengals* 866 (consensus #1) (25)
16 Ravens (+2.5) 148 (6)
17 Steelers 706 (16)
18 Browns* (+8.5) 209 (9)
19 Rams* 691 (16)
20 Colts (+4) 106 (7)
21 Packers* 456 (13)
22 Seahawks (+3) 304 (9)
23 Panthers 539 (9)
24 49ers* (+5.5) 484 (26)
25 Cowboys* 267 (10)
26 Giants (+4) 581 (13)
27 Vikings* 336 (23)
28 Saints (+3) 448 (16)
29 Broncos* 232 (14)
30 Chargers (+3) 667 (22)
The top-five consensus is the Cincinnati Bengals, Houston Texans, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Falcons, and Arizona Cardinals.
Week 1 is an interesting challenge because these lines have been up for a long time and a lot of preseason perceptions are influencing the market. It isn’t a surprise that we see the Titans and Cardinals in the top-five consensus with a lot of buzz entering the season and significant line moves over the summer. The fact that Joe Flacco didn’t practice or play in the preseason seems to play a big role for the contestants in Week 1.
Follow along with our SuperContest picks every week at BangTheBook.com in this Saturday article and with the Bang The Book Podcast entry on Fridays during the Westgate SuperContest Selections segment.
-END OF 2017 WEEK 1 PICKS & CONSENSUS-
Even though it actually started on Thursday, the Westgate SuperContest officially begins for us here at BangTheBook.com on Sunday. This is the ultimate test of handicapping strength and, quite frankly, one of the biggest mental tests for those that are involved in the industry. It seems easy to pick five games against the spread for 17 weeks, but the margin for error is so thin that the importance of each week just gets bigger and bigger.
We have two entries once again this year at BangTheBook.com. The first, BangTheBook.com, belongs to Ryan, the proprietor of our great site. Last season, Ryan posted a 42-42-1 record over the 85 selections for a total of 42.5 points. He won website bragging rights, as Adam Burke and Cole Ryan, who combine for the BangTheBook Podcast entry, went 38-46-1 for 38.5 points. It was definitely a disappointing year for both entries, but adjustments have been made and the slate has been wiped clean.
Back in 2014, the Bang The Book.com entry was 47-36-2 for a very solid 56.6 percent rate of winners. The Bang The Book 2 entry was 46-39 for a 54.1 percent rate of success. Unfortunately, while 54 and 56 percent would be good years in regular handicapping circles, especially with the NFL, it’s nowhere near good enough in this contest.
Last year’s winning score was 60.5 points. The winners, rounding again, were 59-23-3, which is a 71.95 percent rate of success. The winning score in 2014 was absolutely astounding. CH Ballers took the crown at 64-20-1. That’s a 76.2 percent rate over the 17 weeks of the season. It just goes to show how hard this contest is to win and how much accuracy it takes to even cash.
This year, the SuperContest has a record number of entries. For 2016, 1,854 brave souls (or teams of souls) have put down their $1500 to look for that magical payday to kick off the 2017 calendar year. There were 1,727 entries in last year’s record-setting contest. To offset some of the administrative costs in running the contest, an eight percent admin fee has been plucked from each entry. Some of the money was added to the Mini Contest, which makes up Weeks 15, 16, and 17 of the season, but most of it goes for the additional staff, time, and efforts of the Westgate Superbook.
The total prize pool this year is $2,558,520 after the eight percent fee was removed from each entry. As a result, the first place prize is actually lower than last year’s record high. Last season, rounding again picked up $906,675. This season, the winner after 85 picks and 17 weeks of agony will enjoy a check for $895,482.
For those unaware of how the SuperContest works, Cole Ryan had a solid preview earlier this week. As a cliff notes reminder, entrants pick five games against the spread from stale lines that are released on Wednesday night. Selections are due by 11 a.m. PT every Saturday morning. For those that require the use of a proxy because they live outside of the state of Nevada, deadlines vary based on the proxy. For our entries, picks are due Friday night. If the entrant wishes to use the Thursday Night Football game, all five games must be submitted prior to the kickoff of that game.
With that, here are the Week 1 selections for our two BangTheBook entries:
5 VIKINGS -1.5
14 CHARGERS +6.5
22 DOLPHINS +10.5
23 GIANTS -1.5
26 LIONS +3.5
7227 BangTheBook Podcast
3 FALCONS -2.5
10 JETS +2.5
11 SAINTS -1.5
14 CHARGERS +6.5
26 LIONS +3.5
It’s always interesting on Saturdays to see the consensus selections and the counts for each pick. Here’s a list of each game, including the Thursday night game, with the top five consensus picks highlighted:
1 PANTHERS (180) 2 BRONCOS (141) +3
3 FALCONS (232) 4 BUCCANEERS (369) +2.5
5 VIKINGS (368) 6 TITANS (265) +1.5
7 EAGLES (133) 8 BROWNS (300) +4
9 BENGALS (292) 10 JETS (403) +2.5
11 SAINTS (334) 12 RAIDERS (311) +1.5
13 CHIEFS (268) 14 CHARGERS (399) +6.5
15 RAVENS (411) (#5) 16 BILLS (181) +3
17 TEXANS (419) (#4) 18 BEARS (289) +6
19 PACKERS (294) 20 JAGUARS (342) +5.5
21 SEAHAWKS (165) 22 DOLPHINS (216) +10.5
23 GIANTS (428) (#3) 24 COWBOYS (232) +1.5
25 COLTS (193) 26 LIONS (465) (#1) +3.5
27 CARDINALS (452) (#2) 28 PATRIOTS (169) +6
29 STEELERS (322) 30 REDSKINS (322) +3
31 RAMS (192) 32 49ERS (173) +2.5
The top five consensus this week is Detroit, Arizona, New York Giants, Houston, and Baltimore. The Monday Night Football matchup between Pittsburgh and Washington is a dead-even split among the 644 contestants that are playing this one. A lot of people picked up the line value on Arizona with the Rob Gronkowski news, as that number is now through a touchdown in the market.
Follow along with us each and every week at BangTheBook.com and also on BangTheBook Radio. Adam Burke and Cole Ryan share general NFL handicapping analysis and free picks on Wednesdays on The Gridiron Gambling Report and then share their SuperContest thoughts and selections on Friday editions of the show.