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Golden Nugget handicapping contest down to Sweet 16; first-round playoff matchups set

By Dave Tuley  ( senior reporter) 

November 29, 2017 09:05 AM

LAS VEGAS – The 16 playoff qualifiers have been determined for the Friday Football Showdown at the Golden Nugget.

The Friday Football Showdown, which used to be an invitation-only tournament, was opened to the public two years ago and this year drew 95 entries at $2,000 apiece for a prize pool of $190,000. The contestants made seven plays a week, using GN contest lines for all NFL and NCAA sides and totals on the betting boards each Thursday, for the last 12 weeks that started with the games of NFL Week 1, Sept. 7-11.

The players with the Top 16 point totals (using the same scoring as the Westgate SuperContest, with 1 point per win and half a point per push) now advance to the bracket portion of the contest in head-to-head matchups that are hosted by “The Las Vegas Sportsline” show here in Vegas on ESPN Radio (1100 AM) from 2-3 p.m. PT Fridays (hence the origin of the “Friday Football Showdown” name).

Here is the official leaderboard after the 12 preliminary rounds from the Golden Nugget website):

Place, Alias (Record, Points)

T-1st Tha Good Playa (58-26, 58 points)

T-1st Skins Raj 28 (58-26, 58 points)

3rd DMill (55-29, 55 points)

4th Stag Capital (54-29-1, 54.5 points)

T-5th Mucked Nuts (53-30-1, 53.5 points)

T-5th Schatzi and Brisket (53-30-1, 53.5 points)

T-7th Ed from Vegas (53-31, 53 points)

T-7th Handsome Henry (53-30, 53 points)

T-9th Caboose (51-30-3, 52.5 points)

T-9th Super Mia (52-31-1, 52.5 points)

T-9th TwoNiner (51-30-3, 52.5 points)

T-12th 30mock (51-33, 51 points)

T-12th Pump Jungle (50-32-2, 51 points)

T-14th Chihuahua Chihuahua (50-33, 50 points)

T-14th Roughrider39 (50-34, 50 points)

T-14th Ned Landers (50-34, 50 points)

In what the Golden Nugget’s Aaron Kessler describes as the “old Big East Tournament format,” the top four finishers receive double-byes into the quarterfinal matchups on Friday, Dec. 15. The No. 5 through 8 seeds receive a bye this week into the Dec. 8 round and await the winners of the No. 9 through 16 head-to-head-matchups that will take place this Friday, Dec. 1 (note: the rules state that qualifiers must participate or arrange a replacement for the radio appearances, but we’ll see how many of the eight they require to give their plays on-air this Friday; this is the first time a contest like this in Vegas has featured four head-to-head matchups on one show).

Here are the four first-round playoff matchups set for this Friday, Dec. 1:




#12 30MOCK vs #13 PUMP JUNGLE 

All of the qualifiers will receive $3,000 for making the playoffs (thus guaranteeing a profit on the season, as opposed to past years when they only were guaranteed of breaking even by receiving $2,000) while the top four finishers receive an additional $3,000. The No. 1 seed, Tha Good Playa, also earns a $2,000 bonus for total earnings of $8,000 so far. Then, the winners in the Dec. 1 and Dec. 8 rounds receive $1,000 for advancing each round.

After that $70,000 is taken out of the prize pool, that leaves $120,000 to be distributed as follows: 50% to the champion ($60,000), 25% to the runner-up ($30,000), 5% to the two semifinal losers ($6,000 each), 2.5% to the four quarterfinal winners ($3,000 each) and 5% to the mini-contest winner ($6,000).

Oh, yes, the mini-contest was held over the last three preliminary weeks (coinciding with NFL Weeks 10-12) and was won by longtime Vegas-based handicapper Bryan Leonard with a record of 16-5 (76.2%).

We’ll post the contestants’ picks here on each Friday through the championship match on Friday, Dec. 29 (which will also include the bowl games stretching beyond that weekend) and grade the results through a champion being crowned.



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