Football season is in full swing — in Las Vegas, anyway. A little over a month after Circa Sports opened its Circa Millions NFL betting contest up to game-day prognosticators, Westgate’s SuperBook is back with the 33rd edition of its SuperContest, which kicks off today and will accept entries through Sept. 11.
The SuperContest’s classic format remains relatively intact: After paying an entry fee of $1,000 (down from $1,500 in 2020), contestants pick five games each week against the contest line, earning points for successful predictions. The participant who earns the most points throughout the NFL regular season is the winner.
According to SuperBook Executive Vice President Jay Kornegay, this year’s SuperContest champion can expect to take home about $547,000 based on a 2,500-entry estimate. The top 30 finishers will receive prize money, with the runner-up expected to pocket $164,000 and the 30th-place finisher cashing out at around $6,800.
But SuperContest isn’t the only game in town. Due to its penchant for lucrative guarantees, Circa has proven to be a formidable entry into the rich pantheon of NFL-prediction contests, which date back to the 1970s and helped put sports betting on the map in Sin City.
SuperBook counters Circa’s edge with volume
“What gives Circa the edge is guaranteed prize money — having a chance to win $1 million without knowing how many entries there would be,” said Matty Simo, who runs a Vegas-based proxy business.
Kornegay conceded that he’s “sure there are some” high rollers who will be put off by the reality that the SuperContest’s top prize is unlikely to approach the million-dollar mark, as it has in years past. Instead, he’s betting that this year’s expansion of in-season mini contests will spread the wealth enough to attract entrants.
“I’m sure the majority of people prefer more chances to win,” Kornegay said, adding that there’s no rake in the 2021 contest. “And we base our decisions on the majority. We understand some of our competitors have bigger prize pools, but we’re the only ones to offer in-season.”
With @CircaSports guaranteeing $4 million in #CircaSportsMillionIII & $6 million in #CircaSurvivor, I think 4,000 & 6,000 are good guesses (no overlays probably); #SuperContest has great chance to get back to 3,328 (2 years ago) w/ its changes @SuperBookNV https://t.co/SVmd7WrpcS
— Dave Tuley (@ViewFromVegas) June 28, 2021
18-week schedule means more mini contests
Whereas in previous years, the SuperBook offered prizes to whoever had the most points after each quarter of the season (currently what Circa is offering alongside its grand prize), with the NFL’s new 18-week schedule, the amount of in-season offerings has grown from four to nine, with six three-week contests and three six-week contests baked into each entry.
The six three-week contests will pay out a guaranteed $75,000 for first place, $25,000 for second place, and $5,000 for third, while the three six-week contests will offer slightly larger guaranteed payouts of $100,000 for first, $50,000 for second, $10,000 for third, $5,000 for fourth, and $2,500 for fifth place.
“We have 10 ways to win,” said Kornegay, who included the main, season-long contest in his tally.
Simo doesn’t think the SuperContest’s changes will lure business away from Circa, but he thinks they’re “good for contestants,” adding that he thinks the SuperBook is “doing something unique and I think they’ll get back to the entry numbers they did before COVID last year.”
While Simo says he has plenty of old-school clients “who’ve done the SuperContest for years and still don’t know what the Circa Million is,” he thinks the fact that Circa opened its contest for entries on Memorial Day Weekend instead of July 1 might give it an edge over the SuperContest. But Kornegay is unconcerned, explaining that when his book has offered early signup for the SuperContest, it’s been “very minimal.”
“We know the majority of signups happen in August and September,” he added.
Mark your calendars! We will begin accepting SuperContest sign-ups on July 1st 🏈 pic.twitter.com/7WtOOdh9OB
— SuperBook Nevada (@SuperBookNV) June 24, 2021
Another new wrinkle for 2021 is that all SuperContest contestants are automatically entered into a raffle for Westgate’s New Year’s Eve Super Suite Weekend, a prize package that includes complimentary lodging, college football tickets, and a round of golf, among other perks.
All contestants must show up in person to register for the SuperContest. Those who live in Nevada have the option of submitting their weekly selections through the SuperBook app. Contestants who don’t live in Nevada still have to travel to Westgate Las Vegas to sign up in person, but they can make independent arrangements with in-state proxies like Simo to place their bets from then on out.