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Las Vegas football handicapping contests enter stretch run

Tuco Salamanca is a deranged drug lord in the TV series “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul.”

Turns out Tuco also is insanely good at picking winners in the NFL.

An entry using the alias Tuco led the prestigious Westgate SuperContest with a sizzling 27-3 record against the spread (90 percent) after six weeks.

Tuco has since gone 20-18-2 but is tied for the lead with Crispr., at 47-21-2 (69.1 percent), with three weeks left in the NFL season.

The two lead a record field of 3,328 entries who paid $1,500 each and pick five weekly NFL sides ATS. The winner will get $1.46 million, second place is worth $505,190, and the top 100 places will be paid.

“When you have a few thousand people in a contest, you’re going to have somebody that is just on an insane hot streak,” said Chris Kozak, a back-to-back winner of the Golden Nugget’s Friday Football Showdown in the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

Tuco and Crispr. have three common picks in Week 15 in the Panthers (+6½), Jaguars (+6½) and Colts (+8). Tuco’s other plays are the Bears (+4) and Broncos (+9). Crispr.’s other picks are the Buccaneers (-3) and Falcons (+10½).

Here’s a rundown of the other major football handicapping contests in Las Vegas:

Circa Sports Million

Booty Blockers leads the Circa Sports Million Pro Football Contest with a 48-19-3 ATS mark (71.6 percent). Blockers has a one-point lead (one point for a win, half point for a push) over MJTADE (48-21-1).

There are 1,875 contestants in the inaugural $1,000-entry contest that pays $1 million to the winner and $100,000 to the runner-up. The top 10 places are paid, and there also are quarterly prizes of $143,750.

The top two entries have entirely different picks this week. Booty Blockers has the Eagles (-4½), Bengals (+9½), Titans (-3), Giants (-3½) and Falcons (+10½). MJTADE has the Packers (-4½), Panthers (+6), Steelers (-1½), Cowboys (+1½) and Chargers (+2½).

SuperContest Gold

Workman WW2 leads the $5,000-entry, winner-take-all SuperContest Gold with a 43-26-1 ATS mark (62.3 percent). Workman has a 1½-point lead over two other entries vying for the $585,000 grand prize. There are 117 entries.

Here are Workman WW2’s picks this week: Buccaneers (-3), Redskins (+4½), Broncos (+9), Dolphins (+3½) and Rams (-1).

Ultimate Football Challenge

Sirius leads the Golden Nugget’s $1,000-entry Ultimate Football Challenge with a 64-31-3 ATS record (67.3 percent). Sirius also is second with another entry (64-32-2) and has a third entry in sixth place.

There are 282 entries in the contest, in which players make seven weekly picks on college and NFL sides. The top 20 places are paid.

Sirius has common plays on all three entries in the Buccaneers (-3½), Patriots (-9½) and Titans (-3). The other picks on the first-place entry are the Eagles (-4½), Chargers (+2½), Dolphins (+3½) and Colts (+9).

Kozak, a derivatives trader from Chicago who uses the alias Mucked Nuts, is entered in all four high-end contests. He’s tied for 21st in Circa at 43-26-1 and is in the running for the quarterly prize at 9-1. Kozak is seventh in the UFC at 61-33-4 (64.9 percent).

“These contests, there’s so much luck involved,” Kozak said. “I’m kind of on the outside looking in on the Golden Nugget and Circa contests.

“People that have multiple entries in the top 10 are at a pretty advantageous spot.”

Last Man Standing

Three entries remain from a starting field of 6,492 in Station Casinos’ $25-entry Last Man Standing pro football contest. The final three contestants have picked a point-spread winner in each of the NFL’s first 14 weeks. The victor in the winner-take-all contest will pocket $150,000.

Station’s $25-entry Last Man Standing college football contest was decided in Week 12. There were two entries left after Week 10 from a starting field of 3,555. Both contestants won in Week 11, but there was only one unidentified entry still standing after Week 12. The person won $100,000.

College Pick’em

In the $500-entry William Hill College Pick’em contest, two entries — Oregontilt and an undisclosed alias — tied for first place with a 45-25 ATS mark (64.2 percent) and took home $41,925 each. There were 258 entries.

More Betting: Follow at reviewjournal.com/betting

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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