Contestants have sent in picks 26 through 30 for the Circa Sports Million III and the second week of the second quarter is ready to commence. The NFL markets are really tightening up with five data points per team and entrants will also have fewer games to pick from for the next eight weeks.
Bye weeks have started in the NFL, with the Falcons, Saints, Jets and 49ers all idle this week. Six teams will be on a bye next week. The bye weeks are particularly important in a contest like this because it can be really challenging to find five plays in an efficient market. Being able to pick five of 16 games is a lot different than picking five of 14 or five of 13.
When you also consider how most contestants shy away from the Thursday game to avoid having to submit all five picks early, the card is cut down even more.
It sounds really simple to just pick five NFL games against stale spreads, but a lot of contestants wind up with strong opinions about maybe two or three games and have to hope that they pick the right leans. Bye weeks do complicate that process.
The leader going into Week 6 is Hannibal Barca with a record of 22-3 and a score of 22 points. A full point is given for a win, a half-point for a push and zero points for a loss in this contest. We had our first push last week, which left Stoney alone in second place at 21-3-1. There is a three-way tie for third with 21 points, including Hannibal Barca’s second entry. There is a two-way tie for sixth and a nine-way tie for eighth to round out the top 10.
Week 5 marked the start of a new quarter as well. The quarter prizes are $171,750 for first, $50,000 for second, $25,000 for third and then a $25,000 “Booby Prize” for the lowest point total to pick every game. The second quarter will run through Week 9 and 52 entries started off 5-0 last week. A total of 96 entries started 4-0-1.
We’ll talk more about the prizes for the full-season standings when the end of the year gets closer. For now, a recap of Week 5 and an update on the year-to-date results.
Recap of Week 5:
Top-five consensus picks (five most popular sides) went 3-2 (Panthers, 49ers, Titans, Chargers, Bills)
- Consensus picks (most popular pick in each game) went 8-7-1
- The first push of the season was Packers/Bengals
- Week 5 record was 8979-9395-1891 (48.9 percent)
For the year-to-date:
- Top-five consensus picks are 15-10
- Consensus picks are 48-31-1
- Overall record is 53,068-46,491-1891 (53.3 percent)
The losses for the top two consensus teams really did a number on the contest as a whole, as the field had its first losing week of the season.
Let’s see if the contestants can get back on track this week.
Here are the Week 6 Circa Million lines and pick counts (* denotes home):
1 Bucs 189
2 Eagles* (+ 6.5) 146
3 Dolphins 270
4 Jaguars (+ 3.5) 880
5 Colts* 319
6 Texans (+ 10) 618
7 Packers 1439 (consensus #2)
8 Bears* (+ 4.5) 352
9 Chiefs 1231 (consensus #4)
10 Washington* (+ 6.5) 241
11 Vikings 1107 (consensus #5)
12 Panthers* (+ 1) 519
13 Ravens* 706
14 Chargers (+ 2.5) 985
15 Bengals 505
16 Lions* (+ 3.5) 908
17 Rams 638
18 Giants* (+ 9.5) 475
19 Browns* 1695 (consensus #1)
20 Cardinals (+ 3) 579
21 Broncos* 620
22 Raiders (+ 3.5) 616
23 Cowboys 1409 (consensus #3)
24 Patriots* (+ 3.5) 800
25 Steelers* 822
26 Seahawks (+ 5) 503
27 Bills 894
28 Titans* (+ 6) 734
The top-five consensus is the Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings.
There are a lot of half-point lines on the board and one game theory element to the contest is taking half-point spreads because the risk-reward of going for a full point outweighs the potential benefit of a half-point with so many people in the contest. The Browns still wound up being the top consensus pick on the flat 3, but that also has a lot to do with the circumstances surrounding the game and the line move.
Check back each week with a Saturday preview of the Circa Million III to keep up with the pick counts, consensus, standings and more.
We’re also following along with the Circa Survivor each week. A lot of entries barely survived last week, as the Vikings kicked a game-winning field goal for 1,343 of the 2,333 entrants that were still alive. The Patriots were also taken 443 times and led for 15 seconds of game play, but the most important ones. The Ravens were the third-most popular team and also gave Survivor players a scare.
As it turned out, the field only lost 65 contestants in Week 5, but it could have been a whole lot more than that. We’ve got 2,268 still alive for the $6 million prize pool.
The top pick for Week 6 is the Indianapolis Colts with 1,185 selections as the biggest home favorite on the board. That is over 52 percent of the field. The Rams were taken by 385, followed by the Steelers with 277 and the Chiefs with 238. No other team was taken more than 58 times. One brave soul took the Jaguars in London this week, while seven are on the Dolphins.
Ten entries failed to submit a pick for the Survivor and have been eliminated.
We’ll see how it all goes in Week 6. Dave Tuley will have contest updates in his Tuley’s Takes column on Monday and also Tuesday, so keep an eye out for those.