Ryan LeGates of Atlanta was a model of consistency as his SA247LLC entry held on to win the $197,200 first-place prize in the Westgate SuperContest.
LeGates is the 32-year-old owner of Sports Analytics LLC (sportsanalytics247.com, hence his contest aliases). SA247LLC topped a field of 1,598 that paid $1,000 per entry and made 5 NFL picks a week against the Westgate’s contest point spreads as he finished with a record of 60-29-1 (67.4%).
SA247LLC went 4-1 in Week 1 and 5-0 in Week 2 and never fell out of the Top 78. He went 5-0 in Week 9 to move into the lead for the first time at 32-12-1 (72.7%) and, in fact, tied with his other entry, SPORTSANALYTICS24/7, and early leader GAMBLING RATS as each entry won $56,666.65 as the first-place finishers in the nine-week, in-season contest on NFL Weeks 1-9.
That was a nice $113,333.30 payday at the midpoint of the season. The SPORTSANALYTICS24/7 entry also held on to finish in a tie for 26th place overall worth another $1,175.60 and bring LeGates’ SuperContest earnings to $311,708.90, plus the custom-made champion's ring.
LeGates, who had a 3-point lead over his nearest competitors heading into Sunday’s final day of the season and was hoping to coast to the victory, stayed home in Atlanta to sweat out the games while his contest proxy, Tom Caroll of vegasfootballproxy.com, did the same in Las Vegas.
“I was 0-3 in the 1 p.m. [ET] games with the Browns, Patriots and Bears and thought ‘I could really blow this,’” LeGates said. “After the Dolphins [+1] beat the Jets, I figured out that I still controlled my own destiny with the Broncos -2.5. That became my Super Bowl.
“I took the Broncos because I figured the Bengals would beat the Ravens in the early games and the Chargers would rest their starters and the line would go to Broncos -5 or -6. At Sports Analytics, we ‘bet on numbers, not teams’ and look for discrepancies in the market, so the -2.5 contest line was a no-brainer.”
Instead, Chargers coach Brandon Staley played QB Justin Herbert and most of the starters well into the game, even after WR Michael Williams was injured.
“I couldn’t believe that was how I was going to go down,” LeGates said.
LeGates watched as the Chargers led 17-10 late in the second quarter before the Broncos rallied with Russell Wilson TD passes with :06 left before halftime and on the opening drive of the second half to grab a 24-17 lead. They extended it to 31-20 early in the fourth quarter and held on for the 31-28 to cover by the crucial half-point to give SA247LCC the SuperContest title.
“After feeling like it could have been a choke-job,” LeGates said, “clinching it with my own pick made it all that much sweeter.”
3 tie for 2nd place in SuperContest
BENNY STROUP (59-30-1), HEINEKEN 21 (58-29-3) and MARVELOUS MARK3 (58-29-3) finished in a three-way tie for second place with 59.5 contest points as each win is worth 1 point with pushes worth 0.5. They will collect $39,440 apiece plus SC rings.
BENNY STROUP is the contest alias of Brian Hyland, a 51–year-old TV producer from New York City, and his high school friend Scott Mabry, a 52-year-old salesman. They named their alias after two classmates (and fellow Steelers fans) that passed away too young.
“We read about the SuperContest for years and decided we should join this year,” Hyland said. “We lost our second friend right before signing up and felt this was a fitting tribute.”
They were 5-0 ATS when using the Steelers during the course of the season but didn’t use them in Week 18 against the Browns, but they were cheering hard against SA247LLC’s play on the Browns +2.5 as the Steelers won 28-14 to put BENNY STROUP back into the running at the top spot.
“After we lost with the Raiders [+9.5 in a 31-13 loss vs. the Chiefs] on Saturday, we thought we didn’t have a shot,” Hyland said.
BENNY STROUP did bounce back with the Titans +6 in their 20-16 loss at the Jaguars on Saturday night. They won along with SA247LLC with the Dolphins +1 in Sunday’s early games and added another point with the Rams +6.5 in their 19-16 OT loss at the Seahawks in the afternoon games. They still had a shot at tying for first place until SA247LLC clinched the title with the Broncos’ cover, and then moved into the second-place tie with the Lions +4.5 in their 20-16 upset of the Packers in the Sunday night season-finale.
Hyland and Mabry actually earned more money in the in-season mini-contests during the course of the year. After ranking outside the Top 100 in the field for the first eight weeks of the season, they went 4-1 in Week 9 to win $50,000 the third three-week in-season contest in Weeks 7-9 with the best record of 13-2. They then carried that momentum to win $75,000 more with the top record of 23-7 in the second six-week contest on NFL Weeks 7-12.
“We clinched the six-week contest [in the Steelers’ 24-17 win over the Colts on Monday Night Football] on a touchdown by Benny Snell, so we really felt like we had help from above,” Hyland said.
For good measure, they went 12-2-1 to tie for third place in the three-week contest on Weeks 13-15. BENNY STROUP’s total earnings were $165,940 as the clear-cut second-biggest winner in this season’s SuperContest.
Winner-take-all SuperContest Gold
A contestant going by the alias of VO KHAN topped the 80-player field in SuperContest Gold to collect the $400,000 prize.
SC Gold uses the same lines as SuperContest Classic but has a $5,000 entry fee and is cut-throat as it’s winner-take-all.
VO KHAN finished with a record of 57-32-1 (64%) after going 2-3 in Week 18. The wins were on the Chiefs -9.5 at the Raiders on Saturday and Texans +2.5 at the Colts in Sunday’s early games as they played catch-me-if-you-can. BIGLIB had a chance to split the pot but lost with the Packers -4.5 on Sunday night.
The Westgate also holds a “Reboot” contest on the second-half of the NFL season on Weeks 10-18.
Reboot drew 156 entries at $500 apiece and also uses the same weekly lines as the other SuperContests. Entry in SuperContest Classic isn’t required as it’s a separate pool, mostly aimed at people who miss the regular contest or get off to a poor start (though some do enter prior to the season, especially out-of-staters using proxies).
MIDNIGHT RUN went 32-13 (71.1%) to collect the $31,200 first-place prize for finishing 1.5 points ahead of NOOBLEMANN9.
Tom Keffury, 50, of Arroyo Grande, Calif. is the contestant of record for MIDNIGHT RUN, but said it’s a group entry with his friends – Pat Leachman, Bryan Muth, Rich Watson and a silent partner – all of which are in their mid-50s and also live in Arroyo Grande.
“We entered the regular SuperContest the last 5-6 years and felt we would have a better chance against a smaller field,” said Keffury, who added that the group’s previous cash was in the Top 5 of William Hill’s College Pick’em a few years ago. “We meet every Thursday night to get food and drinks and go over the games.
“We went 4-1 in Week 18, which was a good thing as NOOBLEMANN9 went 5-0.”
NOOBLEMANN9 settled for the second-place prize of $15,600.