2 guys with ties to real estate industry win Vegas' biggest NCAA handicapping contests

By Dave Tuley  (VSiN.com senior reporter) 

November 29, 2017 12:48 PM

LAS VEGAS – In real estate, “it’s all about location, location, location.” But Las Vegas real estate expert Teddy Federwitz says in football betting, “it’s all about the numbers.”

Federwitz, 70, of Henderson, Nev., is best known as the owner of Key Realty, one of the valley’s top real-estate companies, as well as Key Realty School, which has trained more than 50% of Southern Nevada’s licensed real estate professionals. 

Now, he can add handicapping champion to his impressive resume as the won the $57,750 first-place prize in the College Pick’Em contest at the William Hill sports books. The entry fee was $500 and contestants made seven picks a week from a list of 25 Saturday-only games each week with contest spreads posted by William Hill.

Federwitz, who makes his own numbers to compare to the lines, put up his own impressive numbers by going 46-23 ATS (66.7 percent). You’ll note that’s one game short of the expected 70 plays as he used the Central Florida-Cincinnati game on Oct. 7 that was ruled no-action because it didn’t meet the 55-minute rule (actually being stopped before the end of the third quarter with UFC leading 51-23).

Federwitz was born in Wisconsin and played offensive tackle for Simpson College in Iowa in the 1960s before injuries cut his playing career short. But he’s used his competitive nature in business, moving to Las Vegas to start Key Realty in 1989, and handicapping football (he said he mostly sticks to over/unders in the NFL).

This was Federwitz’s first handicapping contest of this kind and said without a hint of braggadocio that he usually wins two of every three bets he makes. When asked if he ever considered just doing this for a living, he said he loves the real estate business and isn’t afraid of hard work.

“I grew up on a farm and still get up at 4:30 to 5 every morning,” Federwitz said. “If I wasn’t working hard all the time, I’d be bored.”

He got off to a decent start at 13-8 through three weeks and then went 7-0 in Week 4 to move into third place. He stayed on the leaderboard the rest of the contest and took sole possession of first place in Week 8 at 38-17 (with a shot at a $25,000 bonus if he would have won 11 games over the last two weeks), but went 3-4 in the games of Nov. 5 to fall into a tie for the lead.

“I was afraid I blew it that week,” Federwitz said.

However, he reverted to his winning ways by going 5-2 in the final contest week on Saturday, Nov. 11, and had to wait until that Monday to find out he had won.

“I felt pretty good as I knew it would take a 6-1 or 7-0 from those right behind me,” he said. “Obviously it feels great to win.”

William Hill paid the top 10 finishers (after last year’s contest only paid the top three, so that was a major improvement), with second place worth $17,325 and down to seven players winning $1,237.50 apiece for being tied for eighth place.

We look for the College Pick’Em to continue to grow, though we wish William Hill would include all games on the main betting board as opposed to limiting it to 25 a week, plus running it through Thanksgiving Weekend (and a tiebreaker, if necessary, can be held on Championship Weekend). I run a free “mirror” contest on my ViewFromVegas.com website and know that players prefer having those two big weekends included, plus I also know from experience that in the time it takes to decide which 25 games to use, the whole schedule can be entered into the computer system and give contestants more choices each week (and not have to worry if their best games are included on the contest card).

Last Man Standing at Station Casinos

The other big college football contest winner in Las Vegas this season also has ties to the real estate industry. Pablo Munoz, a 58-year-old retired homebuilder who now works as a carpenter/handyman for his family’s rental properties, won $56,075 in the Last Man Standing survivor-style contest at Station Casinos.

LMS entrants pay $25 per entry (though you can buy four and get one free for five total entries for $100) and make one play per entry against Stations’ contest spread each week. One loss and that entry is dead. The prize pool is winner-take-all that goes to, appropriately enough, the last man (or woman) standing.

After nine weeks, the field of 2,755 entrants was down to seven and Munoz selected BYU plus-3.5 at UNLV and watched as the Cougars won 31-21 on Friday, Nov. 10. The family had to wait until after Saturday’s card to find out how many entrants were still alive. His daughter came home from the Red Rock Resort & Casino and told him that he had won. No one believed it (as the odds of the other six contestants all losing would be around 63-1, if we’re to assume each pick against the spread is 50/50, and presumably higher since these handicappers were all on hot streaks and picking against potentially stale contest lines). They went back to Red Rock and confirmed that that’s indeed what had happened and Munoz was the Last Man Standing.

The Spanish-speaking Munoz, who knows just a little English but understands the language of football, has also won $3,000 as a qualifier for the playoff section of the $2,000 buy-in Friday Football Showdown at the Golden Nugget under the alias Chihuahua Chihuahua with the chance to win more in the coming weeks. 

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