Last Updated: 2017-12-23
The days are getting longer now that we have passed the Winter Solstice, but the holidays and the start of a New Year mean that the NFL regular is coming to a close. Playoff scenarios that require a PhD are the theme of Weeks 16 and 17 in the NFL, but those in the Westgate SuperContest have a lot of playoff scenarios of their own. Ten picks remain in the world’s ultimate handicapping test and each individual selection could mean thousands of dollars won or lost. That type of pressure is quite intense.
First place in this year’s SuperContest is a record $1,327,284 thanks to the record-high in entrants with 2,748. The top 50 plus ties will make money, but with so many entries tied or separated by a half-point, the chance to move up into more significant money or fall out of the money altogether weighs heavily on the minds of those looking for a pay day. Then, there’s also the Mini Contest, eligible to those that signed up before the 4 p.m. PT deadline on September 4. The Mini Contest is a 15-pick sprint, in which the best record over the last three weeks takes down $15,000.
As we head into Week 16, our BangTheBook.com entry is off to a good start in the Mini Contest after a 4-1 week. There were 12 perfect cards last week, 80 that went 4-0-1, and 59 that went 4-1. Our BangTheBook.com entry, run by our site creator, Ryan, was one of those 59 to improve to 40-34-1 on the season. Host Adam Burke of the Bang The Book Podcast entry is 38-36-1 after a 2-2-1 week. A 12-2-1 mark won’t win the Mini Contest and a 10-0 run won’t get into the full-season money, so it’s simply about pride and finishing strong now. The cut-off for the cash right now is 46.5 points, or a minimum of 62.2 percent.
A lead of 1.5 points has to seem massive in the SuperContest with how tight things have been all season, but it isn’t. No lead is safe in this thing. Grannys Boy holds that lead with 52.5 points. Schematic Advantage is second with 51 points. Biosoft Global is third with 50.5 points. HowDoIPlay XX is fourth with 50 points. The Ville is fifth with 49.5 points. Four entries are tied for sixth. The winner will get seven figures. Second place will get over half a million. Third place will get over $265,000. Ties can play a role in how the monies are split, obviously, but we’re talking about significant money for being in the top 10.
In the inaugural SuperContest Gold, Stag Capital holds a one-point lead over BrettFavre444 with 45 points. Midwest Square and BKSF, who has held the lead most of the season, are tied for third place with 43.5 points. Only one entry in the Gold is over 60 percent, whereas 113 entries in the traditional SuperContest are over 60 percent. The leader is over 70 percent. Expect more investment in the SuperContest Gold next season.
The SuperContest field has rattled off five straight weeks on the plus side. Last week’s 51.92 percent success rate was the lowest in that span. Overall, the field sits at 50.34 percent and will cross 100,000 winning selections this weekend. The Gold SuperContest field also has five straight weeks on the plus side with a low of 51.64 percent. On the year, the Gold field is at 50.67 percent. Last week, there were three games that pushed, so we had 3,347 pushes in the regular SuperContest and 114 in the Gold.
Going into Week 16, the year-to-date consensus sits at 104-109-9 and the top-five consensus is 36-37-2 over 15 weeks, so virtually 50/50. The year-to-date consensus in the SuperContest Gold sits at exactly 50 percent with a 104-104-9 record. The reason that the sample size is smaller is because of more games with the same number of picks. The top-five consensus record is 37-35-3.
We’ve got a trio of matching picks this week for our BangTheBook cards. We’ll be looking for that elusive 5-0 for the BangTheBook.com entry in hopes of staying alive in the Mini Contest.
10122 BangTheBook.com (40-34-1, 54.05%)
8 JETS +6.5
13 PANTHERS -10
22 BILLS +11.5
23 JAGUARS -4.5
30 TEXANS +9
10124 Bang The Book Podcast (38-36-1, 51.35%)
8 JETS +6.5
10 TITANS +6.5
22 BILLS +11.5
23 JAGUARS -4.5
31 EAGLES -8.5
The guys are hoping for two barking dogs with the Jets and Bills and a favorite in the Jaguars. A couple of big favorites appear on each card, with the Panthers for Ryan and the Eagles for Adam. Things have gone well for us here lately with a 20-9-1 run over the last three weeks on our collective picks.
Adam Burke of the Bang The Book Podcast enlisted the help of Joe Everett once again this week because he is 10-4-1 over the last three weeks and Joe must be a good luck charm. You can hear Adam’s thoughts on the card and his reasoning behind the picks on the Westgate SuperContest Selections segment from the Friday edition of BangTheBook Radio.
Here are the lines, pick counts, and the consensus for Week 16:
1 Ravens* 293 (16)
2 Colts (+13.5) 266 (15)
3 Vikings 423 (8)
4 Packers* (+9) 397 (23) (consensus #3)
5 Lions 541 (7)
6 Bengals* (+4.5) 558 (38) (consensus #1)
7 Chargers 432 (6)
8 Jets* (+6.5) 312 (12)
9 Rams 766 (consensus #1) (15)
10 Titans* (+6.5) 559 (consensus #5) (24) (consensus #2)
11 Bears* 212 (5)
12 Browns (+6.5) 461 (22) (consensus #4)
13 Panthers* 414 (14)
14 Buccaneers (+10) 197 (9)
15 Saints* 671 (consensus #3) (16)
16 Falcons (+5.5) 536 (13)
17 Redskins* 426 (10)
18 Broncos (+3.5) 241 (14)
19 Chiefs* 214 (5)
20 Dolphins (+10.5) 268 (12)
21 Patriots* 244 (6)
22 Bills (+11.5) 519 (14)
23 Jaguars 694 (consensus #2) (14)
24 49ers* (+4.5) 519 (19) (consensus #5)
25 Cardinals* 232 (6)
26 Giants (+3.5) 227 (16)
27 Cowboys* 606 (consensus #4) (12)
28 Seahawks (+4.5) 464 (15)
29 Steelers 286 (9)
30 Texans* (+9) 296 (14)
31 Eagles* 450 (14)
32 Raiders (+8.5) 216 (7)
The top-five consensus is Los Angeles Rams, Jacksonville Jaguars, New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, and Tennessee Titans. Once again, two sides of the same game are in the top-five consensus.
This is a challenging card for a lot of reasons. Favorites have been dominating over the second half of the season and we definitely see some line inflation this week as a result. There are a lot of home dogs and those that aren’t at home are catching numbers of more than a touchdown. While those are often popular picks in the NFL, we have to question the motivation levels of a lot of teams this week. It will be very stressful for those in the hunt this season to rely on these teams to play as expected. Once the picks are in, nothing more can be done, other than second guess, which happens all the time in this contest. Imagine losing out on tens of thousands of dollars because an NFL team quit this week when you picked them. It will be an anxious week for many, to say the least.
The games with consensus differences this week are Cowboys vs. Seahawks, Cardinals vs. Giants, Redskins vs. Broncos, Rams vs. Titans, Chargers vs. Jets, and Vikings vs. Packers.
Another wrinkle this week is that we’ll see some more contrarian sides in the SuperContest Gold. Those that need to make up ground aren’t going to do so by picking the popular sides. The pick counts could be very skewed in the Gold the next two weeks. Some players are in that position in the traditional SuperContest, but it won’t be as noticeable with the much larger sample size of picks.
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 16 UPDATE-
Only two weeks are left in the NFL regular season, which means that only 10 picks are left to calculate in the Westgate SuperContest. This year’s event has been a long and windy road for all of the entrants. Some are still hoping to pass through that final tunnel and run into a lot of light, while others are suffering from football fatigue. The 17-week grind is far more difficult than most would believe, especially because everything seems so simple. It’s not and for those that don’t finish in the money, a lot of lessons have been learned heading into what should be a record-setting season again next year.
Twenty-eight entrants managed a perfect 5-0 last week to kick off the Mini Contest and 35 others went 4-0-1, so it appears that the pace has been set for the three-week sprint for $20,000. The big prize is still hanging in the balance, as the standings are as tight as can be at the top. The winner out of 1,854 entrants will snag over $890,000 for his or her troubles and those entries in the top 50, plus ties, will split what’s left of the $2,558,520 prize pool.
It’s the time of year when SuperContest participants seriously second guess some of the decisions that they made throughout the season. We’re definitely doing that with both of our entries. The 7226 BangTheBook.com entry run by Ryan, our site creator and fearless leader, has 42 points and is tied for 246th place, but some recent bumps in the road have widened the gap between finishing in the money and simply finishing with a good record. The cut line right now is 45 points to make some money.
The 7227 BangTheBook Podcast entry has 36 points. A 7-3 over the final two weeks is the goal, even if finishing one game above .500 doesn’t mean much in this contest. From a moral victory standpoint, finishing over .500 is a better way than spend the offseason than the alternative, but it certainly isn’t the performance that Adam Burke and Cole Ryan expected.
The field has been on a roll recently. Here are the week-by-week results through Week 15:
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%
Week 15 – 52.44%
The year-to-date record in the SuperContest is now over 50 percent at 66,500-66,191-4,653 thanks to five straight weeks above the break-even point.
You already know the point totals and the tasks at hand and the goals for our respective entries this week. A 10-0 should be good enough to get the BangTheBook.com entry into the money. A 9-1 may do it as well. Here are our picks for Week 16:
7226 BangTheBook.com (41-32-2, 56.16%)
11 PACKERS -6.5
15 TITANS -5
20 COLTS +3.5
27 STEELERS -3.5
29 CHIEFS -3.5
7227 BangTheBook Podcast (35-38-2, 47.95%)
5 BILLS -3.5
18 BROWNS +6
20 COLTS +3.5
25 TEXANS -1
30 BRONCOS +3.5
For more insight on the BangTheBook Podcast selections, we encourage you to listen to this week’s Westgate SuperContest Selections segment from the December 23 edition of BangTheBook Radio. The guys included additional thoughts on every other game in the Rapid Fire Rundown segment.
Orange Crush stands alone in first place with 49.5 points, as the pressure of life-changing money really starts to set in for the entrants at the top. Greybeard has 49 points and holds sole possession of second place. Lots of different leaders have held the top spot over the last several weeks and many of them are still very much in the hunt. The Golden Goose, Just Cover Baby, Vegasportsline.com, UncleBobN4Brothers, and last week’s leader, Mac Sports Inc. are all in the hunt with 48.5 points. Five entries have 47.5 points. Four more have 47 points. Seven more have 46.5 points. The dual entries of Mark Davis/Janknation have been matching picks throughout, but that strategy was a disaster last week with a 0-4-1 for both entries. Those two are tied with several others with 46 points.
Surprisingly, we only had 1,806 sets of picks last week out of the 1,854 entrants. Usually the Mini Contest brings everybody back, but that was only an increase of 17 sets of picks from the week before. The entrants not looking at any money in either the full-season pool or the Mini Contest may pack it in for the season now.
With that in mind, let’s check out the pick counts and the top-five consensus (in bold) for Week 16:
New York Giants 192
Philadelphia WIN (+2.5) 119
Chicago (+3) 280
Miami (+3.5) 215
New Orleans 274
Tampa Bay (+3) 397
Atlanta 430 (consensus #3)
Carolina +2.5 290
Green Bay 468 (consensus #2)
Minnesota (+6.5) 202
New England 130
New York Jets (+16.5) 160
Jacksonville (+5) 220
San Diego 296
Cleveland (+6) 300
Indianapolis (+3.5) 351
Los Angeles 179
San Francisco (+3.5) 85
Arizona (+7.5) 170
Houston 409 (consensus #5)
Cincinnati (+1) 214
Baltimore (+5.5) 414 (consensus #4)
Kansas City 296
Denver (+3.5) 263
Detroit (+7) 519 (consensus #1)
The top-five consensus is the Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, and Houston Texans.
The top-five consensus went 2-2-1 last week. It is now 32-39-4 (45.1%) on the season, which is well behind last year’s pace. The overall consensus record is now one game over .500 at 108-107-7 (50.2%).
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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