Last Updated: 2017-12-16
While some are focused on the top 50 or the top prize of more than $1.3 million, most of the focus for Week 15 of the Westgate SuperContest is on the start of the Mini Contest. Those that got off to a lackluster start or faded in the middle of the season have a new lease on their SuperContest lives with the $15,000, 15-pick sprint that makes up the last three weeks of the season. The best record over that span will grab 10 times the buy-in amount and have something to show for the world’s ultimate handicapping test. The Mini Contest is only available for those that entered before 4 p.m. PT on September 4.
Obviously, life-changing money is on the line for other people, and we’ll focus on them as well, but the Mini Contest creates a really interesting dynamic in this contest. Last week, there were 90 entrants that didn’t bother to submit picks. This week, a lot of them will be back. That could end the really strong run we’ve had over the last four weeks to get over 50 percent as a collective group in the SuperContest. Four straight weeks over 53 percent is a great streak in this contest and it is very much on the line this week with those entries coming back into the mix. Those that stopped sending picks are either dead or have done so bad, that they simply gave up on the season. With them back, the talent level of the SuperContest, in theory, should drop a bit.
As we head into Week 15, our BangTheBook entries would love to grab the Mini Contest prize, but a solid finish is a point of pride. The BangTheBook.com entry is 36-33-1 with 36.5 points and narrowly owns site bragging rights over the Bang The Book Podcast entry of host Adam Burke, which is 36-34 on the season. Finishing in the top 50 is not impossible, as the cut-off for the money is currently 43.5 points, but it would likely take nothing short of a 14-1 type record over the last three weeks. That would be in the running for the Mini Contest.
Will we see some more drama added to the field this week? Grannys Boy holds a two-point advantage over Schematic Advantage in the quest for $1,327,284 and first place. Grannys Boy is 48-19-3 on the season and the only entry above 70 percent. Schematic Advantage is 47-22-1. The Ville is tied for third with 47 points and a 47-23 mark. Biosoft Global is 46-22-2 with 47 points. HowDoIPlay XX is alone in fifth with 46.5 points. Three entries are tied with 46 points. There are almost 70 entries at 60 percent or higher that are currently out of the money.
As mentioned above, we’re up over 50 percent for the season. Last week’s 54.39 percent bumped the year-to-date results up to 50.25 percent. The SuperContest Gold, the winner-take-all $470,000 prize pool, is currently at 50.55 percent for the season. Stag Capital holds a half-point lead over Midwest Square for the championship in that contest with a 42-27-1 record. Only two entries are at 60 percent or better in the SuperContest Gold. There are 127 in the traditional SuperContest.
The year-to-date consensus is at 95-105-6 after a 10-6 week. The top-five consensus has been steadily rising, hence the good run lately. It sits at 34-36 for the year. On the Gold side, the consensus is 98-99-6 and the top-five consensus is 35-34-1.
We have no matching picks this week and we are not on opposite sides here at BangTheBook. Last week, we had two opposite sides and split those games, as Adam’s pick of the Seahawks was his only loss of the weekend.
Here are our Week 15 SuperContest picks:
10122 BangTheBook.com (36-33-1, 52.17%)
4 BEARS +5.5
9 PANTHERS -3
13 BILLS -3.5
24 RAMS +2
32 BUCCANEERS +6.5
10124 Bang The Book Podcast (36-34, 51.43%)
6 CHIEFS PK
7 EAGLES -7.5
11 VIKINGS -10.5
20 CARDINALS +4
29 COWBOYS -3
It is a chalky card for Adam with a couple of big favorites. The Buccaneers narrowly missed the cut for Adam, but made it on our other entry. Over the last two weeks, our entries have combined to go 14-6, so hopefully we’re finding a bit of rhythm and will finish the season strong. It has been a season in which adjustments have been necessary and we’ll be looking to keep those things in mind for future years.
Adam Burke of the Bang The Book Podcast enlisted the help of Joe Everett once again this week because he is 8-2 over the last two weeks and Joe must be a good luck charm. You can hear Adam’s thoughts on the card and his reasoning behind the picks from the Friday edition of BangTheBook Radio.
Here are the lines, pick counts, and consensus for Week 15:
1 Broncos 130 (11) WIN
2 Colts* (+2.5) 121 (3)
3 Lions* 325 (9)
4 Bears (+5.5) 555 (22) (Gold #5)
5 Chargers 719 (consensus #3) (19)
6 Chiefs* (PK) 750 (consensus #2) (31) (Gold #1)
7 Eagles 367 (10)
8 Giants* (+7.5) 263 (10)
9 Panthers* 566 (21)
10 Packers (+3) 481 (12)
11 Vikings* 481 (12)
12 Bengals (+10.5) 195 (7)
13 Bills* 396 (9)
14 Dolphins (+3.5) 268 (15)
15 Jaguars* 388 (9)
16 Texans (+10.5) 288 (11)
17 Saints* 405 (10)
18 Jets (+15.5) 174 (8)
19 Redskins* 332 (8)
20 Cardinals (+4) 198 (8)
21 Ravens 496 (8)
22 Browns* (+7) 304 (19)
23 Seahawks* 484 (7)
24 Rams (+2) 621 (consensus #5) (23) (tie Gold #3)
25 Patriots 670 (consensus #4) (14)
26 Steelers* (+3) 570 (29) (Gold #2)
27 49ers* 765 (consensus #1) (23) (tie Gold #3)
28 Titans (+2) 396 (17)
29 Cowboys 595 (12)
30 Raiders (+3) 351 (19)
31 Falcons 422 (10)
32 Buccaneers* (+6.5) 269 (14)
The top-five consensus is the San Francisco 49ers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Chargers, New England Patriots, and Los Angeles Rams. Yes, the Chiefs and Chargers are both top-five consensus picks, so they are a wash.
One interesting thing to note in the SuperContest Gold is that we’ve got some clear game theory going on. Those looking to make up ground looked to go contrarian, so that’s why we’ve got a high number on teams like the Texans, Browns, Raiders, and Titans. It does no good to match picks with those entries that they are chasing, so they’re more willing to take some chances at this stage of the game.
Motivation is such a big factor when betting football at this point in the season. As we’ve discussed, it is huge in college football, but it means something late in the NFL calendar as well. Are teams willing to fight for coaches on the chopping block? Are guys looking for contracts or jobs going to be impact players? How will teams that have endured mountains of injuries fare over the last three weeks? Will teams get up to play spoiler? A lot of times, we don’t know the answers to those questions or aren’t confident in the answers we do have. As a result, we’ll continue to see picks split over the next two weeks. Week 17 is an altogether different animal.
Follow along each week with our SuperContest preview article on Saturday and our recap article on Tuesday. Check out our Friday editions of BangTheBook Radio for the Westgate SuperContest Selections segment with host Adam Burke discussing his picks and thought processes for the upcoming weekend.
-END OF 2017 WEEK 15 UPDATE-
The weather outside is frightful, but the Westgate SuperContest is so delightful. Not only do we get to follow along with the dash for the cash for the full-season pool, but the Mini Contest starts up here in Week 15. The Mini Contest is a three-week sprint for $20,000. The final three weeks of the SuperContest will determine which entrants get a cut of the $2,558,520 prize pool. The top 50 plus ties will get a late holiday gift and the others will play the hindsight game on certain picks and decisions that caused it all to go awry. It’s a fun, but stressful time of the year for a lot of the 1,854 entrants that signed up.
With the first week of the Mini Contest, everybody feels like they have a chance at the $20k. The last two years, it has taken a 14-1 record over Weeks 15, 16, and 17 to grab all of those Benjamins and it would be a surprise to see anything less than that take down the crown this season. The Mini Contest draws a lot of attention because all entrants have a shot at that, but only a chosen few have a shot at money in the 17-week grind.
Fortunately, one of our two BangTheBook entries is still within striking distance of finishing in the money. Technically, both of our entries have a chance at finishing in the money with the Mini Contest, but it would be a remarkable achievement to cash in a contest like this, so hopefully things fall our way here this week.
Things have been falling in good ways for a lot of the field recently. For the second time this season, we are in a stretch with four straight winning weeks in the SuperContest. We’re almost to .500 as a collective unit on the season in a sample size of over 124,000 picks, so this could be a big week in that respect as well. Here are the week-by-week results:
Week 1 – 52.62%
Week 2 – 45.18%
Week 3 – 40.19%
Week 4 – 42.76%
Week 5 – 53.95%
Week 6 – 55.01%
Week 7 – 51.36%
Week 8 – 51.50%
Week 9 – 45.80%
Week 10 – 40.67%
Week 11 – 55.40%
Week 12 – 58.63%
Week 13 – 51.75%
Week 14 – 56.57%
It just seemed easier to list them that way. Overall, the SuperContest field is 62,155-62,251-3,909 for a 49.96 percent success rate.
Our 7226 BangTheBook.com entry is still in the mix for the money. With a record of 39-29-2 and a total of 40 points, our site creator, Ryan, is just two points out of the money. Right now, the cut-off is at 42 points and there are so many ties that it would only be worth about $190, but cashing in the SuperContest is an accolade worth more than the money at that point. It’s a little different if you’re in line for the win or a top-five spot, but the pressure is on to finish strong and get into the top 50. Our 7227 BangTheBook Podcast entry has been coming on fairly strong in recent weeks and now sits at 33-35-2 on the season following a 3-1-1 week last week.
With the stage set, here are our Week 15 picks:
7226 BangTheBook.com (39-29-2, 57.35%)
3 DOLPHINS -2.5
7 GIANTS -4
9 RAVENS -5.5
13 VIKINGS -4.5
19 TEXANS -6
7227 BangTheBook Podcast (33-35-1, 48.53%)
6 BUCCANEERS +6.5
12 BEARS +6.5
13 VIKINGS -4.5
21 CARDINALS -2.5
31 REDSKINS -6.5
For more insight on the BangTheBook Podcast selections, we encourage you to listen to this week’s Westgate SuperContest Selections segment from the December 16 edition of BangTheBook Radio. The guys included additional thoughts on every other game in the Rapid Fire Rundown segment.
Mac Sports Inc. currently leads the SuperContest standings with a record of 46-23-1 and 46.5 points. That’s good for a half-point lead over Orange Crush with a 45-23-2 mark and 46 points. Six entries are tied with 45.5 points. Three entries, including past leaders morley the 15th and BNEV, have 45 points. Three more entries have 44.5 points. Seven entries have 44 points. Four entries have 43.5 points. Ten entries have 43 points. Thirteen have 42.5 points. Twenty-six entries have 42 points.
The Mini Contest will bring back a lot of the dormant entrants. Last week, we had picks from 1,789 of the 1,854 that signed up. Expect that number to go up by about 50 entries or so. There are some that won’t return for the Mini Contest and others that aren’t eligible because they missed the early-bird sign-up. Those that go 1-4 or 0-5 to start out the Mini Contest will probably crawl back into a shell if they are not close to cashing overall.
Without further adieu, let’s check out the pick counts and the top-five consensus (in bold) for this week:
Seattle WIN 46
Los Angeles (+16) 88
New York Jets (+2.5) 199
Tampa Bay (+6.5) 593 (consensus #2)
New York Giants 238
Detroit (+4) 433 (consensus #5)
Baltimore 456 (consensus #4)
Philadelphia (+5.5) 121
Green Bay 382
Chicago (+6.5) 376
Indianapolis (+4.5) 230
Cleveland (+10) 131
Kansas City 335
Tennessee (+5) 362
Jacksonville (+6) 179
New Orleans (+2.5) 102
San Francisco (+13.5) 72
New England 430
Denver (+3.5) 360
Oakland 501 (consensus #3)
San Diego (+3) 244
Pittsburgh 603 (consensus #1)
Cincinnati (+3) 215
Carolina (+6.5) 336
You’ll notice that the Sunday Night Football game appears first on the card because it was flexed into that timeslot and the rotation numbers had already been set for Week 15. That’s why Pittsburgh vs. Cincinnati, originally scheduled for that spot, is slotted at the bottom.
The top five consensus this week is the Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens, and Detroit Lions.
The top-five consensus went 4-0-1 last week to improve to 30-37-3 (44.78%). I seemed to have a minor difference in my numbers last week or perhaps I missed a game in my calculations throughout the season. In any event, the overall consensus record is 100-100-6 (50%), with the PIT/WAS and DET/HOU ties.
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.
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