Trying to hang with the best in the hardest sports betting contest in Vegas is harder than it looks.
(ed’s note: By Week Four of this season, Justin already sounds just like Kramer.)
For those of you sports fans/bettors who don’t follow Chad Millman, shame on you.
Stepping off my pedestal for a second though, Millman, the Senior Deputy Editor of ESPN The Magazine, hosts the Behind the Bets podcast. While listening to it a couple years back I learned about the Las Vegas Hilton SuperContest.
This is like the World Series of Poker for football bettors, and this guy won two years in a row.
Every week the entrants (who paid a cool $1,500 to buy in) select five games of their choice against the spread. You can pick any team, any week, but you have to pick five. The winners generally have a winning percentage of 55-60 percent for the season. To a football fan/novice gambler, that seemed pretty easy.
So my buddy and I decided last season we would simulate our picks every week and see how we stacked up against the best (and save ourselves the $1,500 buy-in).
We did, in a word, abysmally.
After posting only one winning record in the first seven weeks we decided to hang up our betting shoes and try again this year.
So, every week I’ll post our picks (and more than likely publicly humiliate myself).
Here were our selections from Week 1 (based on Bovada lines);
GB -5 (vs SF) → Loss
SEA -3 (@ ARI) → Loss
NE -6.5 (@ TEN) → Win
BUF +3 (@ NYJ) → Loss
DET -7.5 (vs STL) → Loss
As you can see it was a rough week one but, like any degenerative gamblers, we KNEW our luck was about to change.
Here’s what we thought for Week 2. Better but not great;
TB +7 (@ NYG) → Tie
MIN -1.5 (@ IND) → Loss
BAL +3 (@ PHI) → Win
DET +7 (@ SF) → Loss
SEA +3 (vs DAL) → Win
And another stunningly awesome week 3 (not):
MIN +7.5 (@ SF) → Win
TB +8 (@ DAL) → Win
IND -3 (vs JAX) → Loss
PIT -4.5 (@ OAK) → Loss
GB -3.5 (@ SEA) → Loss
That brings our current record to 5-9-1. Woof.
So for Week 4, we’ve come up with the following, fail-proof, sure-thing, take-it-to-the-bank picks that will surely hit 5-for-5 … right???
TEN +13 (@ HOU)
Plus-thirteen is a gigantic number for a divisional game. Houston has looked dominant in every game so far, but Tennessee put up over 40 points last game. Houston is going to win, but we’ll take our chances on the spread.
CAR +7.5 (@ ATL)
Here we go again, picking against elite teams. Carolina has been in a funk so far due to an ineffective ground attack and a sub-par defense (genius analysis, I know). Once again, though, it’s a divisional game and if my horrible betting over the last few seasons has taught me anything, it’s that I shouldn’t bet on teams this week because they had a big performance last week.
NE -4.5 (@ BUF)
New England hasn’t lost 3 games in a row in 10 years.
Digest that for a second, get a stomach ache, vomit, pass out in a pool of your own Patriot-loathing yack and then have the same epiphany I did: The Patriots won’t keep losing. This is especially true against a team they have utterly dominated over that 10-year span. I know it’s a road game, but the Bills are playing musical running backs and Ryan Fitzpatrick is athletically bi-polar, so I’ll stick with the
SF -4.5 (@ NYJ)
Bounce-back game! The Jets have looked mediocre all season and I don’t see their offense doing much of anything against a pissed-off 49ers D.
CIN -3 (@ JAX)
My sole motivation for betting against Jacksonville this week is that I cannot possibly believe that the Jaguars could win 2 games in a row this season. Cincinnati’s offense can put up more points than MJD all by his lonesome.
Hopefully we get off the schnide this week. Always helps to set the bar low.
Justin Elliott is a co-founder of Hire Me Grantland.
Send in your picks or tweet them @HireMeGrantland and see how you stack up against the football Nostradamus-es of the world.