Vegas football sports betting contests offer little risk, big reward

Joe Berra

We have big ambitions at SportsHub. The boss also has big dreams, and with them, he’s got a couple of guys out in the desert all set to fire in weekly plays in annual Las Vegas football sports betting contests. Risk a little, and win – potentially – a lot.

Playing out our sports betting contests in Las Vegas
Playing out our sports betting contests in Las Vegas

Cash In on Vegas Sports Betting Contests

That’s the dream, and it filters down all the way from the top, with $5,000 winner-take-all extravaganzas all the way to $25 entry fee “Last Man Standing” and “Pro Football Pick ‘Em” contests. NFL and NCAA Football sports betting contests get a lot of press out of Las Vegas all season, and we’re here for it all!

With that in mind, we decided we were going to chronicle the season for you, the reader, by me, Kyle Parker. Hell, if you’re not involved, it can give you a rooting interest. We’ll be participating – and posting plays late in the week – in seven different sports betting contests totaling $3,500 in entry fees that are all paid up front.

The advantage of playing in season-long contests is that once you put the money up, you’ve got a vested interest in the competition throughout the season. Some of the contests make it worth your while to stick around throughout.

The Cost of Popular Sports Betting Contests

The Westgate SuperContest, with its $1,000 entry fee, was the biggest and best for the longest time. Circa’s “Millions” has come along to challenge for that title, and does have a bigger field now. This is partly aided by the ever-popular “Survivor” that they run in coordination to the “Millions”. Each of those sports betting contests also sets you back a grand per entry.

Westgate’s SuperContest has taken some overall money out of the main prize pool to keep players interested throughout. With six three-week mini-contests, three six-week and two nine-week ones for in-season bonus cash awards to whoever accumulates the most points during those respective time frames.

On the opposite end, the SuperContest Gold is the Westgate winner-take-all lottery ticket. It’s designed to draw in wiseguys and those with the bankroll and appetite to afford such risk. The entry fee is $5,000 there – a little rich for the taste of the Sports Hub brass – at least in 2023. That contest is expected to net the winner somewhere in the low-to-mid-seven figures in early January.

Only Big Dogs Need Apply For $6M

The richest (legal) football contest in history will happen when Circa pays out over $8 million to the winner or winners of its Survivor.

Owner Derek Stevens guaranteed $6 million last year, and the contest just did get to 6,100-plus entries on the final day. As of Labor Day, there were just under 6,900 entries, so the Circa bean counters and analytics folks fully expect it to soar over that number.

Since there is no rake in any of the aforementioned sports betting contests this year, whatever money goes in, it all goes out. The Survivor has some separate small weeks for Thanksgiving and Christmas, so there are 20 weeks and not 18. Once you use a team to “Survive”, you can’t use them again going forward. We will talk strategy there very soon.

Sports Betting Contests Guarantees Are Costly

Circa’s Millions is the same format as the SuperContest, but Stevens has offered a $6 million guarantee. That contest only had 4,300 entries as of the time Stevens left his property on Labor Day night – that means if no one else decided to play, he would be on the hook for the other $1.7 million out of pocket.

Obviously the +EV and advantage players won’t let that happen, and there will be a flurry of late signups to get the number very close to or over his necessary 6,000 entries to ensure Circa doesn’t lose to the contest.

Last year, that contest had the same guarantee, but only got to 4,600 entries so Stevens was on the hook for $1.4 million out of pocket. He said on VSiN’s “Follow the Money” early Tuesday that he expects a small overlay for Millions, though this author says it will come closer to 6,000 than to the 5,500 that he projects at the contest deadline on Saturday afternoon.

Rules Around PickEm & Last Man Standing Contests

On the other end of the sports betting contests spectrum, we’re also trying our luck at William Hill and Stations, with three total contests at $100 each. The William Hill “Pro Football Pickem” and Stations “Last Man Standing” each gives you a fifth entry free if you purchase four for $25 each. The concepts for each contest are a little different, however.

William Hill’s contest is a pick-em-all that allows you to invest up to $300 (15 total entries), and you must select the full slate of games – but just picking outright winners. Weekly high scorers collect $10,000 (or split, in the case of ties) with the season-long high scorer pocketing $20,000 for their efforts.

Everyone's favorite sports betting contest - Last Man Standing Survivor
Everyone’s favorite sports betting contest – Last Man Standing Survivor

At Stations, much less work is involved and the rules are far different, though the same buy-in applies. Buy four, get a fifth free.

When we walked into the Green Valley Ranch Tuesday and plopped down our $200 for five entries each to the college and NFL “Last Man Standing”, we knew that we were going to have 10 entries this week. But Stations sets the lines in the middle of the week (going forward) and customers fire in entries afterward. You only make one play each week against the spread, and the goal is survive and advance; to be the “Last Man Standing”. Simple enough, eh? Sports betting contests don’t need to be complicated.

Strategies Used for Sports Betting Contests

There’s also strategy here, which we’ll get into soon (and for you to heed now and beyond). We have a full section dedicated to sports betting strategies, take a look. But we largely ignored some of it today as we fired in entries at GVR and saw some of the true horse sicko degenerates getting their fix betting Parx and some tennis junkies never sweating Novak Djokovic easily dispatching of Taylor Fritz in the U.S. Open quarterfinals while in the book earlier.

For one last season-long sweat, the Westgate Superbook is offering a $200 season Pro Football Season Wins Challenge in the NFL. Pick “OVER” or “UNDER” for all 32 teams, and sweat it right down to the very end. These sports betting contests drew 200-plus players in 2022 and figures to be a little more popular this time around. A friend of a friend won it last year, so that should give us hope.

And in September, with bankroll intact, what else do we have but hope?

About the Author
Joe Berra
Joe Berra
Sports Writer
Content Covered on SportsHub: Blog and News
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Joe takes care of the bits and pieces that sometimes slip through the cracks of the sports world. Efficiency and consistency is what makes different. JB helps keep Sports Hub’s content fresh and exciting, managing its many authors. From the New York area, Joe knew he had a knack for sports betting when his uncle was always asking him which side he was on as a young boy. His meticulous approach to the numbers formed his career path as a professional handicapper. Joe is sometimes called Jimmy Bagpipes, JB or Mr. B.