LAS VEGAS – Over the years, we’ve seen that SuperContest champions cross the whole spectrum of those that enter the long-running and increasingly famous NFL handicapping competition at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.
We’ve had plenty of professional sports bettors win the $1,500 buy-in contest, but we’ve also had a social worker, a Chicago cop, an algorithmic trader who also consults for a pro sports team, two teams of golfing buddies, another team of high school basketball teammates (long after they turned 21), and, of course, a Starbucks barista last year.
Some willingly jumped right into the spotlight while others – like the non-English-speaking woman who won in 2012 as Al Sr. – choose to fly under the radar and stay hidden behind their contest aliases.
So, I was prepared for anything as I was set to interview Grannys Boy on Tuesday morning after he topped this year’s record field of 2,748 SuperContestants to claim the first-place prize of $1,327,284. The contest requires players to make five picks a week against the Westgate’s contest spread and he went 58-22-5 (72.5%), tied for second-highest in SC history.
Grannys Boy had only communicated with yours truly via Direct Message on Twitter and turned down invitations to be interviewed or appear on VSiN before, during or after Sunday’s games. Grannys Boy stressed that he wasn’t trying to be rude but was just concentrating on his plays and didn’t want to be distracted from completing his goal of winning the SuperContest (and all that cash!). He watched Sunday’s action alone in his Las Vegas hotel room like he does at home. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said.
Grannys Boy said he didn’t want me to print his real name but said he’s a 39-year-old entrepreneur and just wants to be known by his alias. When asked the significance of the name, Grannys Boy said it was in tribute to his foster mom who raised him in Portland, Ore., where he still lives. (Note: he later said we could print his real name of Briceton Lamar Branch Sr.)
He had a 2.5-point lead (note: SuperContestants earn 1 point per win and half a point per push) heading into Sunday and went 3-2 to hold off the other top contenders. After winning his sole play of Lions -6.5 over the Packers in the 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT kickoffs as the Lions rolled to a 35-11 rout, he only needed a win from his other picks on the Bills -2.5 vs. the Dolphins, Falcons -3.5 vs. the Panthers, Saints -7 vs. the Buccaneers and Jaguars 3 vs. the Titans in the 4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. kickoffs.
“I knew I had to get the Detroit win out of the way and that was a cakewalk,” Grannys Boy said. “When HowDoIPlay XX [his nearest competitor entering the weeknd] lost with the Redskins, I knew it was over.”
When asked if he considered using some of the obvious line-move plays on the SuperContest card like the Browns plus-11 (which had been bet down to plus-6 around Vegas after the Steelers announced they were resting starters) or 49ers minus-3 (bet up to -4) as a way to eliminate contenders with common plays, he simply said, “No, I was done with the Browns after Week 8.” He said he felt very strong about his play on the Lions as well as the Bills and Falcons playing for their playoff lives in the later games.
Grannys Boy was in great shape most of the afternoon as the Bills built a big lead over the Dolphins, but the Falcons’ 22-10 victory reached the final gun first to officially give him the championship. The play on the Bills also won while the Saints and Jaguars both lost, but those were academic (or mathematic for those still keeping score).
Well, Grannys Boy was still keeping score as his 72.5% winning percentage fell short of the record of 64-20-1 (76.19%) posted in 2014 by CH Ballers, the aforementioned four high school basketball teammates from Campbell Hall High School in Los Angeles who also had one member go by "Mr. Anonymous" and another withhold his last name. However, it did match the second-highest win percentage as he had the same record as 2011 champions San Souci, one of the golf teams fronted by Brady Kannon, who appears frequently on VSiN programs.
Grannys Boy said he was hoping to at least match the record of least losses of 20 by CH Ballers, but had two more, but his score sets the record for best percentage by an individual, topping the previous mark of 71.9% by 2015 champion rounding again, alias of James Salinas, another regular VSiN guest.
Grannys Boy claims he knew he would win the contest since Week 5 (“I went 1-4, but didn’t lose any ground, so I knew I had this,” he said), but points to Week 7 as the “bombshell week.” That was the worst week in SuperContest history for the players as a whole as the Top 5 Consensus plays all lost and the overall consensus went a woeful 1-13-1 (7.1%). While the vast majority of players took a hit, Grannys Boy went 3-1-1 and vaulted into 17th place.
After Week 11, he was already an impressive 36-17-2 (67.9%) but then went 4-0-1 to take the lead. Over the last six weeks, he went an otherworldly 22-5-3 (81.5%) as he kept increasing his lead.
With a hot streak like that, I’m sure a lot of people want to hear his handicapping methods, but he declined to give any details.
“I’m still trying to beat the books,” said Grannys Boy, who said he actually bets more on baseball than football. “If I tell you that and you write it, then oddsmakers are going to read it. It would be like giving them my playbook.”
As for his plans with the money or future plans in general, Grannys Boy said, “I haven’t thought about that for a minute. I’m still decompressing right now.”
Many SuperContest champions have gone into the tout business, but he said that’s not for him. Grannys Boy said he prefers to keep a lower profile, so while he certainly showed a softening of his position by granting this first interview and later allowing his real name to be revealed, he'll always be Grannys Boy to me.