Isaac Meier was just doing his job when he turned a $1,000 investment into a $1 million payday in the inaugural Circa Sports Million football handicapping contest.
Meier, a 34-year-old portfolio manager for an investment firm in Los Angeles, managed his own portfolio of five NFL picks a week against Circa’s contest point spreads to go 57-25-3 (69.5 percent) under the alias of “Booty Blockers” and top the field of 1,875 entrants who signed up at downtown Las Vegas’ Golden Gate and D hotels owned by Derek Stevens.
“I work with numbers all day in my job,” Meier said. “I do data analysis, separating good date from bad data, and how markets work. The sports-betting market is the same. Teams are like companies and sometimes people get excited about sexy stocks or hot teams, but those aren’t always the best bets.”
Booty Blockers was leading the contest by 1 game heading into Week 17 on Sunday over Ace2019 with another three contestants trailing by 2.5.
“I took the Titans and Colts trying to match some of the people chasing me,” Meier said, “and I split those, so that was OK. But I didn’t want to go away from what had been working for me all season. I didn’t really ‘pick’ a single game, what I really did was go through a process of elimination to get down to the five best plays each week.”
In Sunday’s early games, Meier won with the Saints -13 in their 42-10 rout of the Panthers but lost with the Patriots -16 as they lost 27-24, but fortunately for him, Acer2019 and some others were also on the Pats. In the afternoon games (L.A. and Vegas time), Meier knew he could clinch the title with his play on the Eagles -4.5 at the Giants as other contenders were on the underdog.
“I felt confident but it was aggravating to watch,” Meier said of watching the game with his wife and dog with so much money on the line and the game tied 17-17 after three quarters. “The Eagles were in control, but I needed them to start playing better late like they have a lot this season.”
The Eagles did pull away in the fourth quarter to win 34-17 and clinch the championship for Meier, who will also win a custom-made Circa Sports blue blazer from Stevens.
“The money is great as I’ve never been handed a million-dollar check before,” Meier said, “but this whole experience has was very good for me, proving what I’ve always known that if you know what you’re doing and work hard, you can have success.”
Meier actually won more than the million as he collected $71,875 from Circa by splitting the “3rd Quarter MVP” prize of $143,750 with “MICHCONN” as they both went 16-4 (80 percent) during NFL Weeks 9-12 in November. Booty Blockers actually first moved into the lead after Week 11 and was 43-16-1 after Week 12 (72.9 percent).
“I turned down interview requests at that time because I wanted to stay under the radar,” Meier said, “plus, just like in sports, people believe their own press clippings and get overconfident and I wanted to keep focused on the big picture which was winning the million.”
Meier said he’s not a professional gambler by any stretch, but he loves betting (“It’s not legal here yet, but Vegas is a 40-minute flight away”) and loves the direction it’s going nationally. He said he felt well-prepared for the season and also credits two books he read over the summer: Bill Walsh’s “The Score Takes Care of Itself” and Michael Lombardi’s “Gridiron Genius.” Meier said he also met Lombardi at a conference in Philadelphia and the VSiN host was the first to congratulate him on his victory.
And what about the Booty Blockers alias?
“I didn’t put too much thought into it,” said Meier, who is on Twitter @IMY310, “but my friend had recently become a new dad and was having some anxiety, so he was taking beta blockers. I joked that they should be called booty blockers and thought it would be a good contest alias as it’s completely outrageous and fun. I also thought it would be funny if used by the hosts on VSiN if I was in contention.”
And now the champion known as Booty Blockers is laughing all the way to the bank.