Twelve entries in the Circa Sports Million III went into Week 3 tied for first at 10-0. There were 70 entries tied for 13th at 9-1. There has not yet been a push with the contest lines.
Every week is a big one in a contest like this, as there are only 18 weeks worth of picks and only 90 total selections. The first quarter is one of two that lasts only four weeks, so this is an important week for entrants to position themselves for a shot at the first set of prizes.
The highest point total for the first quarter is worth $171,750, which is a very nice chunk of change for a four-week section of the NFL season. Second place is worth $50,000, followed by $25,000 for third and another $25,000 for the “Booby Prize” to the entry with the fewest points.
A total of 4,087 entries signed up to inch over the $4 million guaranteed prize pool by $87,000. There is no rake in the contest, so all of the entry fees go into the prize pool, which is why first place got bumped from $150,000 to the $171,750 that will be given out for all four quarters.
Five picks against the spread are required from each entrant. Those lines come out on Thursday morning and do not move, regardless of what happens with the lines in the betting markets. Those static numbers bring a lot of strategy to the forefront, as some look to fade the top-five consensus and public games or just look to take the stale line value.
Here is a quick recap of Week 2:
- Top-five consensus picks (five most popular sides) went 2-3 (Carolina, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New England, Arizona)
- Consensus picks (more popular side in each game) went 8-8
- Overall record was 10,232-10,048 (50.5 percent)
For the year-to-date:
- Top-five consensus picks are 5-5
- Consensus picks are 19-14
- Overall record is 21,623-18,987 (53.2 percent)
As mentioned, there are only four weeks in the first quarter. There are also four weeks in the third quarter, which begins with Week 10. The second and fourth quarters have five weeks with Week 18 added to the schedule this season.
Here are the Week 3 Circa Million lines and pick counts (*denotes home):
1 Panthers 232
2 Texans* (+ 8) 78
3 Cardinals 953 (consensus #5)
4 Jaguars* (+ 7.5) 308
5 Titans* 753
6 Colts (+ 5.5) 548
7 Ravens 473
8 Lions* (+ 8) 481
9 Bills* 458
10 Washington (+ 7.5) 845
11 Patriots* 771
12 Saints (+ 3) 696
13 Chiefs* 595
14 Chargers (+ 6.5) 819
15 Giants* 469
16 Falcons (+ 3) 597
17 Browns* 739
18 Bears (+ 7) 406
19 Steelers* 541
20 Bengals (+ 3) 520
21 Raiders* 1108 (consensus #1)
22 Dolphins (+ 4) 1044 (consensus #4)
23 Broncos* 657
24 Jets (+ 10) 283
25 Bucs 556
26 Rams* (+ 1.5) 1073 (consensus #2)
27 Seahawks 715
28 Vikings* (+ 1.5) 727
29 49ers* 496
30 Packers (+ 3.5) 1062 (consensus #3)
31 Cowboys* 647
32 Eagles (+ 3.5) 675
The top-five consensus is the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals. It is rare to see two top-five consensus picks from the same game, but contestants have strong takes on that Raiders/Dolphins game. By default, the top-five consensus starts 1-1, unless that game lands directly on 4.
We’ll be following along with the Circa Million III all season long and keep up with the pick counts, consensus, standings and more.
We’re also watching the Circa Survivor, where 2,985 entries are still alive out of the 4,080 that started the contest. The biggest loser in Week 2 was the Steelers with 252 entries. The Browns, Packers and Buccaneers all won and were picked by 2,490 of the 3,397 entrants that remained after Week 1. Those three teams accounted for over 73 percent of the field.
The top Circa Survivor pick this week is the Denver Broncos with 1,468 selections in a big favorite role against the visiting New York Jets. The Carolina Panthers were actually second on Thursday night with 736. The Baltimore Ravens are third with 340, so we have a very unbalanced distribution on the picks this week.
The Cowboys, Rams, Jets, Dolphins and Patriots were each taken once. The Bengals and 49ers were taken twice. Four entrants failed to submit picks and have been eliminated.
It is rather fascinating to note that the Rams at + 1.5 were the second-highest pick in the Circa Million, but were only taken once in the Survivor. The chances of the game landing on 1 are pretty low, so the Rams likely have to win outright to cover, but the degree of confidence in the Survivor is far lower than that of the Million.
We’ll see how it all shakes out in Week 3.