The Westgate SuperContest is the biggest handicapping competition in football. Entrants pay $1,500 and pick their five best bets of the week, with the top 100 players cashing in at the end of the season.
Last year, the SuperContest brought in more than 2,700 entrants and awarded a top prize of $1.3 million. This year, I entered for the first time along with my cousin Trey and will be writing up and posting our picks here.
I have never set myself up for public embarrassment more in my life.
On Thursdays, we’ll be picking every game against the spread, but this Friday column is dedicated to our true best bets of the week. Simply put, you can’t always be confident in every game on the board.
In addition to our SuperContest picks, each week we will use this space to also go through:
- One lock for your eliminator pool
- One moneyline underdog to win outright
- A weekly teaser
- One Monday night bet to either increase our winning day or win back some of our losses before the end of the week
Even if you’re not in the SuperContest, these picks serve as what we see as the best value bets on the board. Take a look below as we try to beat the books for Week 1 of the NFL season.
SuperContest Pick 1: Carolina Panthers (-3) over Dallas Cowboys
This play jumped off the board to me immediately, almost to a point where it felt too obvious. But simply put, I don’t see a position aside from running back where the Cowboys hold an edge in this game. Maybe my Philadelphia bias is showing, but I have Dallas marked for a nightmare season of sorts.
Dak Prescott is attempting to bounce back from an off year, and most football fans can’t name a receiver on his team. Meanwhile, Cam Newton has a plethora of weapons at his disposal, and is playing in the NFC South where one dropped game could spell the end of your season. Ezekiel Elliott has averaged over 100 yards rushing per game in his 25 career starts, but Carolina should be able to stack the box and keep him contained.
SuperContest Pick 2: Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) over Cleveland Browns
For years, I loved losing money on the Browns. As a contrarian bettor, Cleveland was almost always the ugliest side on the board, leading the public to bet against them again and again.
I was sure that this year would finally be the year my Browns love paid off, and then suddenly, one season of „Hard Knocks“ and two crafty quarterbacks pickups later, the public was all over Cleveland as well.
This line was originally three points higher, but with the absence of Le’Veon Bell and some newfound public faith in the Browns, the spread worked its way down to where it now stands. I don’t like betting against a divisional home dog in Week 1, but this is an overcorrection.
The Steelers might look like a mess behind the scenes right now, but they’re still the Steelers, and the Browns are still 1-31 in their past two seasons of NFL play. I think the Browns wind up winning six or seven games this year, I just don’t think this is one of them.
SuperContest Pick 3: New Orleans Saints (-9.5) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another tough pick — it’s never good to lay this many points early in the year when so much is unknown — but when I play this game out in my head, it’s always the same.
New Orleans takes the opening kick, drives the field, and scores. Tampa Bay goes three-and-out against the Saints‘ solid defense. Saints score again. 14-0 in the first, everything is covered.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is pretty solid as far as backup quarterbacks go, but it would take an inspired effort to lead a team with such low expectations for 2018 into the Superdome and keep things close, let alone walk out with a victory.
Historically, these two teams have played each other close, but I have the Saints rolling here.
All that said, I remember how New Orleans stumbled out of the gate in 2017, and I am absolutely terrified I’m way off here, and the Buccaneers ruin my day. But it’s not gambling without a bit of fear.
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Source: Business insider