The explosive growth of the Westgate SuperContest shows no signs of slowing down in 2019.
After drawing a record number of entries (3,123) for the eighth consecutive year in 2018, the world’s most prestigious NFL handicapping contest should be bolstered this year when it plans to open enrollment March 1.
In the past, enrollment always opened July 1.
“We always discussed opening up enrollment earlier to accommodate year-round visitors, especially those that come in for other big events like March Madness or the Kentucky Derby or the beginning of baseball season,” Westgate sports book vice president Jay Kornegay said. “We thought the timing was right.”
Kornegay expects a field of about 4,000 entries this year for the contest, in which contestants pick five NFL games against the spread for the 17-week regular season.
California resident Eric Kahane won the $1.4 million first-place prize in the 2018 SuperContest with a 59-25-1 ATS record (70.2 percent).
The top 100 finishers plus ties were paid, with a 23-way tie for 78th place worth $2,267 each.
Only the top 100 finishers will be paid again in 2019, but Kornegay said the payouts won’t be as top heavy. The winner will receive 32 percent of the prize pool this year, as opposed to 33 percent last year, resulting in better payouts for the top 20.
“The top few places are really life-changing money, and we want to make sure that continues,” Kornegay said. “Yet we’ll spread it out a little more on the top finishers.”
Kornegay said the Westgate still is working on a SuperContest mobile app.
“It’s not just about having it available, it’s making sure it’s a gold standard, ironclad offering,” he said.
The $5,000-entry SuperContest Gold will remain a winner-take-all contest this year.
$150K to win $1,500
A Westgate sports book bettor placed a $150,000 wager to win $1,500 on Novak Djokovic over Mitchell Krueger on Tuesday in the first round of the Australian Open. The gambler won his bet when Djokovic swept Krueger, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.
“We don’t mind taking bets like that because there’s very little downside for us,” Westgate sports book director John Murray said. “If something crazy did happen, it would be such an enormous win. It’s not every day we win $150,000 on a tennis match.”
Stevens pounds props
Derek Stevens, who owns the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate, placed a $100,000 bet to win $105,000 on an intriguing college basketball prop at the South Point sports book.
The prop to win the 2019 NCAA men’s basketball title pits Duke, Gonzaga, Michigan and Kansas against the field (-120). Stevens, a Michigan graduate, took the group of four teams at plus 105.
Stevens also placed a $3,000 wager to win $3,000 that Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes would combine to throw more than 9½ touchdown passes Sunday. The under is minus 120.
Picks for OV
CG Technology sports book presented a $10,000 check to Opportunity Village on Saturday during an NFL watch party at the Palms to match $10,000 in donations, or entry fees, from the 10 celebrity contestants who competed in the inaugural #PicksforOV NFL handicapping contest this season.
UFC Hall of Famer Forrest Griffin was presented a trophy for winning the contest with a 49-34-2 ATS record.