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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM

Las Vegas Handicapping Contests

SuperBook, Circa lead the charge!

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay said his world-famous SuperContest has set records for sign-ups the past eight seasons, but because of the new kids on the block at Circa sportsbook offering a similar pro football contest with a guaranteed $1.5 million in cash prizes guaranteed, he initially thought the trending sign up growth might be stunted.

"Instead of some people buying two entries as they did in the past, they were buying only one while also buying one at the Circa," Kornegay said.

But his worries were quickly put to rest. With almost three weeks remaining before the SuperContest begins they've already had 1,658 entries which are 600 more than at the same juncture of last seasons record-setting figures where the winner won $1,422,214 and second-place won $409,425. The top-100 finishers in the Supercontest won a cash prize.

In case you don't know what the SuperContest is about, it costs $1,500 to enter and requires five pro football selections against-the-spread for all 17 weeks. Sides only, no totals. It attracts celebrities and every bettor who considers themselves sharp because it's the ultimate sports betting contest. In addition to winning over $1 million, there's also tons of national notoriety.

SuperContest Weekly Consensus Tracker - 2018 | 2017 | 2016

It's that prestige that inspired Derek Stevens, owner of Circa sportsbook at his Golden Gate and The D properties downtown, to start his own sportsbook after using William Hill books for the past nine years. He saw the biggest sportsbook in the world at the Westgate with the biggest football contest in the world and he wanted one of his own.

So while we wait for the Circa Las Vegas property to be finished downtown in 2020, he used the brilliant marketing strategy of branding Circa sooner by opening his own books and starting a high-end contest that everyone absolutely had to enter because of the huge overlay. He's guaranteeing $1.5 million in prize money no matter how many sign-ups they get. And it's worked. People are talking about it and the Circa book everywhere.

The Circa Million costs $1,000 to enter and requires five selections per week against-the-spread. The Champion is guaranteed $1 million and the top-10 finishers all get cash prizes. They also have a unique wrinkle with $50,000 going to the top finisher of each quarter on the season. Start slow and there's still a chance of cashing by finishing strong. 

Through Wednesday, they already had 660 entries meaning there is an $840,000 overlay. (An overlay is the difference between the total guaranteed prize-pool and the actual number of paid entries.)

The Circa is refusing to take a rake or an administrative fee so if the inaugural event does get over 1,500 entries to cover the guaranteed prize pool ($1.5M) then the additional money will be spread across the aforementioned quarter prizes. Stevens and his staff believe the $50K quarter prizes are likely to be split among a few individual winners since each one is based on a 20 or 25-game record and ties will likely occur. So while the prize structure may at first look like 10 or 14 winners, there could be many more folks winning back their initial entry fee and then some.

When the Circa sportsbook at the Circa property opens it will be the new largest sportsbook in the world with five media studios, triple-decker guest seating like a classic opera theater, and a massive movie screen to watch all the games. It is going to make the biggest splash in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry since the SuperBook opened in 1986.

The Supercontest and Circa Million can both be played on their sportsbook apps and for people out of town they can use a proxy service to turn the picks in each week after initially signing up in person.

VI - A proxy service may be needed for contestants who live outside the state of Nevada or for those unable to submit their weekly football contest picks in person. The professional services can be found online, which include Kelly In Vegas Proxy Service.

You can't win it if you don't get in it!

Here's a look at some of the other football contest being offered around Las Vegas:

Golden Nugget

The Ultimate Football Challenge is unique because of picking seven games a week against-the-spread using both college and pro football games. It costs $1,000 to enter and runs 17 weeks and the top-20 finishers all get some end of season prize money. The Golden Nuggets pays out 97% of all entry fees accumulated with 3% kept as an administrative fee. Finishers 11-20 will all get $1,000. The remaining prize money will give the first-place finisher 40% of the pot, second-place will get 20 percent, third-place will get 10%, fourth and fifth-place will get 7% each, sixth and seventh-place will get 5% each, eighth through 10th-place will each get 2%. The thing I've always enjoyed about this contest is watching the strategies of the leaders in December with some choosing bowl games while others stick mostly to pro football. Each contestant may buy up to three entries and the deadline to register is Sept. 3.

Boyd Gaming

Pick the Pro's is the longest-running pro football contest in Las Vegas and it's also the most generous because they have $500,000 in cash prizes up for grabs and it's free to enter. It's a no-points weekly contest with $30,000 given away each of the 17 weeks for picking the most winners with $10,000 guaranteed as the top prize. The only requirement is that contestants must have a B Connected club card and they must turn in their selections in person at the contest kiosks. Registration starts August 27 and depending on your club level status, you may be offered a second entry for free.

That's $500,000 waiting for you to take some home and all you have to do is pick football games straight-up, correctly, and walk through the doors once a week at any of the eight Boyd properties. There's no reason not to play in this contest.

Station Casinos

They have separate Last Man Standing contests for both pro football and college football that each costs $25 to enter and if you buy four you get one free, which is highly recommended because it's a stipulation to win a $1 million prize. Their other important stipulations to win the $1 million are having to win both contests, or be the last man standing in each, and also do the early bird sign-up before September 2.

The premise for each contest is to pick one game against-the-spread each week. If you cover that game, you move on to the next week and so on until one contestant is left without a loss. The winner of the pro football contest is guaranteed at least $150,000, and any other money collected that exceeds $150,000 in entry fees will be thrown into the pot. The college football version's prize has a minimum guarantee of $100,000.

This is a great contest to enter because of the ease of having a Station Casino property close to no matter where you live in Las Vegas. There a total of 22 Station books that include the Fiesta and Wildfire brands, Barley's and the El Cortez downtown.

Station Casinos no longer does the Great Giveaway pro football no-points contest which began in the early 1980s and in addition to cash prizes they gave away new houses and cars. It was extremely popular with sports bettors as well as slot and table game players.

To satisfy the slot players they have a no-points contest picking the games each week and the top prize is $10,000 points and pays up to 250 entries after first-place. No cash, just points.

William Hill

The Pro Pick 'em football contest costs $25 and contestants can enter up to 15 times for this no-points contest. it's just pick the winner of all the game weekly games. There is a $10,000 weekly prize to the winner and a seasons end prize of $20,000 to the winner, $7,500 to second-place and $2,500 to third-place. They also offer a $100,000 bonus to the winner if they picked more than 200 winners on the season. If they collect more than $200,000 in entry fees it will all be added to the Grand Prize end of season payout. Registration and contest selections must be made at a William Hill property or kiosk.

William Hill also has a fun college football contest using the spread called the College Football Pick 'em contest. It costs $500 to enter and each player can have up to four entries. Each week during the college football season -- 10 weeks beginning Sept. 6 -- each contestant will pick seven games against-the-spread with the top-10 finishers at seasons end getting a piece of a guaranteed $75,000. The first-place finisher will get 50% of all money collected, second-place will get 15%, third-place will get 10%, fourth through sixth-place will each get 5% and seventh through 10th-place will each get 2.5% of the pot. Registration and turning in weekly selections must be made at a William Hill book or kiosk.

Roberts is a former Las Vegas sports book director that has been covering the sports betting industry for the last 15 years.

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